How Long Does Cholesterol Take to Clog Arteries?

Friday, 14 Jun 2013 11:40 AM

By Peter Hibberd, M.D.

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Question: Is it true it takes a number of years for plaque to build up in your arteries from high levels of cholesterol?

Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
 
Plaque usually takes 5 to 10 years to build up to levels we are concerned about. Remember it is not always the size of the plaque that is the greatest risk. The stability of the plaque is most important. We stabilize plaque using statin drugs, and then try to reduce plaque size by reducing blood levels of free fats and cholesterol.
 
Statin drugs not only work on reduced liver production of cholesterol, but they also as anti-inflammatory agents at the cellular level, and by this mechanism we believe they lower the potential risks posed by plaque.
 
You can also stabilize plaque by stopping smoking, regular exercise, and controlling hypertension and diabetes.

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