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What are Coronary Occlusions?

The anatomy of a heart attack, caused by an occlusion in the left coronary artery.
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  • Written By: Shannon Kietzman
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 08 April 2014
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Coronary occlusions are closures or obstructions of coronary vessels. As a result of the closure or obstruction, a person with coronary occlusions has insufficient blood flow that can ultimate lead to a myocardial infarction. A myocardial infarction, more commonly referred to as a heart attack, is potentially fatal.

Coronary occlusions are usually the result of thrombosis or atheroma. A thrombosis is a clot within the blood vessel that is generally caused by an abnormality in the vessel wall, the blood composition, or the way the blood flows. These coronary occlusions are often the result of trauma or infection of the vessel wall, which causes the blood flow to slow down or stop near the area that was injured. On occasion, these coronary occlusions are also caused by problems with coagulation of the blood.

An atheroma, on the other hand, is an inflammation of the white blood cells as they are located in the artery walls. It typically develops between the arterial tube’s smooth muscle wall and endothelium lining and is often referred to as plaque. These coronary occlusions usually begin developing during a person’s childhood, typically before the age of ten. From here, the disorder becomes progressively worse, though the veins are never affected. If a vein is removed surgically and used to replace an artery, however, it can also develop an atheroma.

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Regardless of the type of coronary occlusions a person has, the result is impaired coronary circulation. In the process of coronary circulation, the blood vessels move blood to and from the heart. The vessels affected by coronary occlusions are the coronary blood vessels, which are responsible for carrying oxygen to the myocardium tissue of the heart. When the process is disturbed, the heart receives insufficient oxygen. This causes the heart tissue to die, which can lead to death if not treated in time. In fact, heart attacks are the leading cause of death in men and women in every part of the world.

Fortunately, coronary occlusions can often be prevented through proper lifestyle choices. Remaining slender, particularly in the abdominal area, getting regular aerobic exercise, and making healthy food choices are all good strategies for preventing coronary occlusions.

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