Heart plaque is a waxy deposit on the walls of your arteries. Consisting of fats, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances, it builds up over time and gradually compromises the blood flow to your heart. It’s important not to ignore the signs of heart plaque, as this condition can have a deadly outcome.
Here’s what you need to know about this phenomenon.
What Causes Heart Plaque Buildup?
Heart plaque buildup doesn’t happen overnight. It’s the result of a lifelong process, which is aided by several risk factors.
Conditions like high blood pressure, insulin resistance, obesity, and high cholesterol all increase your chances of developing heart plaque. Certain lifestyle habits like smoking, inactivity, alcohol consumption, and an unhealthy diet full of saturated fats and trans fats are also reasons for concern.
Why Is Heart Plaque Dangerous?
The more plaque builds up in your arteries, the narrower the passage becomes. Your heart will thus have a difficult time getting oxygen-rich blood to all body parts that need it. This results in a condition called atherosclerosis.
In addition, heart plaque buildup is also the major cause of coronary heart disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 20 million adults in the U.S. struggle with this condition.
What Are the Signs of Heart Plaque Buildup?
Since this condition develops over time, noticing the signs can be tricky. Generally, those with high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, chest pain, and shortness of breath should seek out a doctor to get a test for heart plaque.
Mind Your Heart Health
Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, so taking care of your cardiovascular health should be your top priority. If you’re at risk of developing heart plaque, consult your doctor for the recommended lifestyle changes.