The four main types of cardiovascular arteries are the coronary arteries, the peripheral arteries, the aortic and the femoral arteries. When a blood vessel is blocked or narrowed by plaque (fat) or atherosclerosis (hardening of the artery walls), it is called an arterial blockage. When there is not enough oxygen to the heart, due to a lack of blood flow to the heart muscle or because of a high blood pressure, the person can become asymptomatic. However, in most cases of asymptomatic cardiomyopathy, it is known that the person suffered a cardiac arrest, died, or was declared brain dead at the hospital.
There are also four types of disease that affect the arteries. Arteriosclerosis is the process by which cholesterol from the blood stream builds up in the arteries. This buildup can cause a partial blockage, depending on the extent of the blockage. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a condition in which the arteries are narrowed by fat deposits. This can lead to a heart attack if the blood supply to the heart is cut off.
Another disease is atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of fatty plaques (cholesterol) on the interior walls of the arteries. It usually starts in the arteries leading to the neck and shoulders. This condition causes the arteries to enlarge and make them less flexible, as well as less sensitive to the body’s own signals, such as a heart attack. Heart disease, also known as heart attack, heart failure or angina, is a condition in which the heart is unable to pump blood to sufficient parts of the body.
Cardiac failure, also referred to as heart failure, occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood to supply the body. This can happen for several reasons, such as narrowed arteries (also referred to as aneurysms), congenital defects, high blood pressure or severe medical conditions. When the arteries are narrowed by the buildup of fat deposits, the surrounding tissue will develop thickening and narrowing, as well, reducing the flow of blood. When this happens, the risk of developing a heart attack or stroke becomes high.
Plaque build-up in the coronary arteries, the vessels that deliver blood to the heart, predisposes the heart muscles to attack. As a result, people with high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels are at the greatest risk for heart attack. In addition, people who have clogged arteries for an extended period of time are more likely to develop atherosclerosis and heart failure. A study conducted by the American Heart Association showed that people who smoke have twice the increased risk of having a heart attack, as compared to those who don’t smoke.
If the plaques are located in the coronary arteries, they will be hard, solid lumps of plaque. The artery becomes difficult to clean and may even block off access to the heart. Once the plaque has become too dense, it may burst open, causing a heart attack. However, if the plaque is located in the peripheral arteries, the normal oxygen flow can be restored. In this case, the patient would have no symptoms of a heart attack.
Fortunately, there are preventative measures that you can take to decrease the buildup of plaque. The first step is to stop smoking. Smoking decreases the efficiency of the cardiovascular system, causing coronary artery disease and heart attack. Additionally, high cholesterol and high blood pressure can contribute to plaque buildup in the arteries. To prevent this from happening, you should try to maintain a healthy weight.
For some people, the buildup of plaques in the arteries is just too much to handle. In this case, invasive procedures such as angioplasty and heart bypass surgery may be necessary. These procedures can help to bypass or reduce the buildup of plaques in the arteries so that blood can once again flow to the heart.