Health Discoveries in General Health News

Heart health study shows artery plaque builds quickly

April 21, 2011
A new Swedish study related to heart health indicates that plaque build-up in arteries occurs over a shorter period of time and later in life than previously believed.

Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, reporting their findings online in the journal PLoS One, say the low variations in the plaque samples they studies indicated the buildup occurred over three to five years. The samples were from surgeries in which plaque was removed from arteries in the patients' necks.

"We suspected that the plaque would be substantially younger than the patients, who were on average 68 years old at surgery, but we were surprised when we found that the average age of these plaques was less than 10 years," said study leader Johan Bjorkegren.

In addition, plaques that appeared to be formed more recently were viewed as most unstable and likely to lead to cardiovascular conditions such as stroke.

A heart health trial within the North Shore-LIJ Health System is examining an experimental drug to treat atherosclerosis, which are cholesterol deposits that can cause artery blockages and can lead to stroke or heart attacks.
 
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