What Causes Fat to Build Up in Your Arteries?

What Causes Fat to Build Up in Your Arteries?

The buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries is an unfortunately common disorder that may affect as many as 50% of people over age 40, even those who are considered generally healthy.

The team at Frontier Medical Care, in the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn, New York, led by vascular surgeon Dr. Farouk Marzouk, shares insight regarding the causes of fatty buildup in your arteries (atherosclerosis) and the treatments that can help.

Understanding atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is the technical name for fatty deposits (plaques) in your arteries that may eventually grow large enough to restrict blood flow through the affected vessel. In some cases, the plaque can rupture and cause a life-threatening blood clot.

Arteries are the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrient-rich blood away from your heart to the rest of your body. Depending on which arteries are affected, atherosclerosis that limits blood flow to major organs may lead to:

Atherosclerosis, also called hardening of the arteries, is a progressive disease that may begin in childhood or adolescence and worsen as you age.

What causes atherosclerosis?

Plaques leading to atherosclerosis develop within and on the inner walls of arteries. They typically clump together at a site where the artery is weak, stiff or hardened, or otherwise injured. This damage or loss of elasticity may result from:

Note that diets high in saturated and trans fats and sugar also cause systemic inflammation that may eventually damage arteries and other blood vessels.

Treating atherosclerosis

Treatments for atherosclerosis vary and typically depend on the size of the blockage and which artery is affected.

Dr. Marzouk may recommend medication that controls your blood pressure, lowers your cholesterol, and otherwise slows the progression of your disease. Strict control of diabetes and other conditions that affect your arterial health is also important.

Healthy habits such as eating a nutritious diet, losing weight and/or maintaining a healthy weight, and engaging in routine physical activity are vital components of successfully managing and/or preventing atherosclerosis.

For blockages that threaten your health, Dr. Marzouk may suggest a balloon angioplasty, a minimally invasive procedure designed to widen the artery. During angioplasty, he may also choose to reinforce the vessel wall at the plaque site with a wire mesh device called a stent.

If the blockage is extensive or not otherwise amenable to angioplasty, you may require endarterectomy. During this procedure, Dr. Marzouk surgically removes (excises) the plaque from the artery wall.

For an accurate diagnosis and state-of-the-art care for vascular conditions such as atherosclerosis, schedule an evaluation with Dr. Marzouk at Frontier Medical Care today. Call the office or book your appointment online.

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