How do we develop fat in our bodies and in our arteries?


Is there a way to get rid of the fat that develops in our arteries or can it get rid of itself over time with a very healthy lifestyle?

In: Biology

The buildup of fat in arteries is a result of normal bodily processes being overwhelmed by too much fat.

If there’s some sort of arterial abrasion/inflammation or really high cholesterol levels, small amounts of LDL (the bad type of cholesterol) go from the bloodstream into the blood vessel walls, where macrophages eat them and convert them into HDL (the good cholesterol). Normally, this doesn’t cause a buildup of plaque in the arteries. But if this goes on too much or too long, the macrophages will be overwhelmed and unable to keep cleaning up the LDL molecules that escape from the bloodstream. More cells go to the area to try to help, and some of the macrophages will explode from trying to take in too much LDL. The “injury” signals released by these cells exploding attracts even more cells that try to heal and help take care of the LDL molecules. All of these new cells arriving at the scene causes the artery walls to thicken. It takes decades to develop into a problem, and often by the time people know about it and want to change their lifestyle, it may be too late to do much.

Significantly lowering cholesterol levels, either by adopting a healthier lifestyle or with medication, can cause the arterial plaques to shrink a little bit, but for the most part this just stops them from growing.