Watching this video will change your understanding of atherosclerosis, also known as hardening of the arteries. It shows how this disease can progress silently until a sudden “attack” happens, often with lethal consequences.

When a Heart Attack Happens

This video highlights the 3 phases of arterial disease:
•    Normal Artery
•    Stable Plaque
•    Vulnerable Plaque

A Normal Artery refers to the arteries of our youth, before atherosclerotic “plaque” forms in the wall of the artery.  

Arteries are composed of three layers:
•    Intima (like a tire inner tube)
•    Media (like the tire walls)  
•    Adventitia (like the tire tread) 

Stable Plaque is like a scar that forms after an injury.  It won’t disappear, but it won’t cause sudden harm either.  Note the location of the yellow oval which is cholesterol material in the wall.  The white material is calcified connective tissue walling off the plaque from the inside of the artery where the blood flows.  That channel through which blood flows is diminished in size, but the situation is stable.  But it reveals increased risk of forming more plaque in the future because you have done so in the past, especially if the root causes are still present or recur.

Vulnerable Plaque is where the real danger lurks!  It is actually the earliest stage of all newly-formed plaque.  When plaque forms due to inflammation or injury to the artery wall, there are two potential outcomes.  It can heal without causing harm, becoming Stable Plaque.  Or it can rupture or erode and trigger formation of a blood clot in the lumen, blocking blood flow through the artery lumen.  That blockage can cause a heart attack or stroke, killing heart muscle or brain tissue. This is depicted in the third segment of this video.  

Now you know how heart attacks happen. Arterial disease is chronic and silent, but progressive. At The Center for Prevention we work with our members to prevent the formation of new plaque and heal plaque that has. W need to know: How Healthy are your Arteries?

If your arteries are sick and old, we work to make them (and the rest of you) healthy and young again.