Why does cholesterol form plaque in blood vessels?

What does it mean that I have plaque in an artery in my heart? 

Plaques are deposits of cholesterol and fibrous tissue built up over many years, beginning in childhood, in response to factors like smoking, high blood cholesterol, and high blood pressure, among others. These deposits are like lumps on the inside of the artery and are called atherosclerotic plaques. When the plaques build up and narrow the heart artery (known as a coronary artery) to about 50 percent of its original size, then the diagnosis of coronary artery disease may be made, although sensitive tests that are not often performed can detect smaller deposits.

After about 50 percent narrowing has occurred, coronary artery disease, also known as coronary heart disease, or CHD, can gradually or suddenly interfere with the pumping and circulation of blood, depriving tissue and organs (including the heart itself) of essential blood and oxygen.


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