A clip from The China Study, by T.Colin Campbell
‘…But what is heart disease? One of the key components is plaque. Plaque is a greasy layer of proteins, fats (including cholesterol), immune system cells and other components that accumulate on the inner walls of the coronary arteries. It has the same feel as wiping your finger across a warm cheesecake. If you have plaque building up in your coronary arteries, you have some degree of heart disease.
If the plaque on the inner wall of the artery accumulates slowly, over several years, blood flow has time to adjust. It will find another way to get to where it wants to be, forming several smaller streams, over, around the sides, under, through tiny tunnels. This is called collateral development.
So what leads to heart attacks? It turns out that it’s the less severe accumulations of plaque, blocking under 50% of the artery, that often cause heart attacks. These accumulations each have a layer of cells, called the cap, which separates the core of the plaque from the blood flowing by. In the dangerous plaques, the cap is weak and thin. As blood rushes by, it can erode the cap until it ruptures. When the cap ruptures, the core contents of the plaque mix with the blood. The blood then begins clotting around the site of the rupture. The clot grows and can quickly block off the entire artery. When this happens, blood flow downstream of the rupture is severely reduced and the heart muscles don’t get the oxygen they require. Heart muscle cells start to die, heart pumping begins to fail, and the person may feel a crushing pain in the chest or a searing pain down into an arm and up into the neck and jaw. In short the victim begins to die.
We now know that the small to medium accumulation of plaque that blocks less than 50% of the artery is the most deadly…’
To be continued…