The final event is about 50% of heart attacks is the rupture of one of these plaques and the clot that forms around a ruptured plaque. A situation such as this causes acute and abrupt total closure of this artery, which blocks the blood flow to that part of the heart. Potentially dangerous plaques are often small and may not even cause significant narrowing of the artery-making a diagnosis of the heart disease difficult prior to the rupture of a plaque. That’s why this disease is so silent and unsuspected. Oxidative stress may also cause the breakdown of theses plaques, which eventually leads to their rupture.
Arteries can keep narrowing to the point that they become occluded means shut off. Have you ever had a friend or family member who had dye injected into his arteries to find out whether he had severe narrowing of one or all of his coronary arteries? These patients have usually had symptoms of chest pain or what doctors call unstable angina. In situations like these doctors either open vessels via angioplasty (ballooning of the artery) or bypass these blockages with surgery. If you were to spend a day following a cardiologist or a cardiovascular surgeon around the hospital, you would soon realize he has to spend the majority of his time “putting out fires”. He typically treats patients who are usually at the end of inflammatory process, with his entire focus on attempting to save a life. Not much time is left to teach patients about the lifestyle changes necessary to slow down or reverse this devastating disease and prevent the visit of patient or the need of his services in future.