Your arteries are the ones that transport oxygen-rich blood to your heart and other organs. If you do not take good care of your health, plaque (composed of various things found in the blood such as cholesterol, fat and calcium) can build up inside your arteries, causing them to become clogged. When that happens, all of your tissues and organs can end up deprived of much-needed oxygen.

This clogging up of the arteries is referred to by health authorities as atherosclerosis. They say that various things can cause this very serious matter concerning the arteries to strike.

If you like to know some of the things that can cause atherosclerosis, keep on reading. This article will get you acquainted with some of atherosclerosis’ risk factors — things that can increase your chance of having clogged arteries.

Before you proceed with reading about the risk factors for atherosclerosis, there are a few things that you should know:

-Some risk factors such as your age and family history cannot be changed, while others like your diet and weight can be changed 

-Just because you have one or many of the risk factors discussed below doesn’t mean right away that you will develop atherosclerosis 

-Refrain from assuming that you won’t end up battling atherosclerosis one day just because you have none of its known risk factors 

Now that you’re aware of these important matters, it’s time for us to take a quick look at some of the most common risk factors for atherosclerosis:

Age

The older you get, the higher your chance of being diagnosed with atherosclerosis. Heart specialists say that the signs and symptoms of arterial narrowing due to plaque accumulation are likely to show up after the age of 45 if you’re a male and after the age of 55 if you’re a female.

Family History

If you have immediate family members who are diagnosed with heart disease, unfortunately, you are at risk of suffering from atherosclerosis one day. According to health professionals, your chance of having atherosclerosis increases if your father or brother had heart disease before reaching 55 years of age, or your mother or sister had heart disease before reaching 65 years of age.

Cigarette Smoking

Everyone knows that smoking is associated with all kinds of serious medical issues. One of those is the narrowing of the arteries as a result of plaque accumulation. That’s because smoking can damage the walls of the arteries, making it easier for plaque to stick onto those. Also, cigarette smoking can cause some of atherosclerosis’ risk factors to strike.

Hypertension

One of the things that cigarette smoking brings that can considerably increase your odds of having atherosclerosis is high blood pressure or hypertension. If your blood pressure is elevated all the time, the walls of your arteries become damaged. And just like what’s just mentioned above, it can be easier for plaque to collect in the arteries if the integrity of the walls of arteries is compromised.

Elevated Bad Cholesterol

Another issue related to smoking that is regarded as a risk factor for atherosclerosis is high bad cholesterol levels. It is characterized by having increased LDL or bad cholesterol and decreased HDL or good cholesterol. By the way, elevated bad cholesterol cannot be blamed on smoking alone. The next risk factor is also a culprit

Diet

If you are fond of consuming foods that are packed with bad cholesterol and you steer clear of anything that’s rich in fiber and good cholesterol, then it’s very much likely for you to end up with atherosclerosis one day.

Obesity

There are many health concerns that can show up as a result of being overweight or obese, and the narrowing of the arteries is just one of those. Luckily, this is a risk factor for atherosclerosis that you can change, and that’s by means of opting for healthier foods and getting your regular dose of exercise.

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