Arteries are tubes that run from the heart to every part of the body.
The main pipe leading out of the heart is called the aorta. Thereafter it branches repeatedly to reach every tissue in the body. The main purpose of arteries is to deliver oxygen as fuel to all working tissues. If an artery blocks, the tissue it supplies may die. In the heart, a heart attack develops. In the brain, a stroke occurs.
The arteries are muscle tubes lined by a thin layer of tissue: a bit like a cellophane lining, but not inert. Actually it is this lining, or intima, that develops cholesterol. So much cholesterol may be made by the intima that it can block the artery.
A high blood cholesterol can cause a little of this build up, but that is a minor influence. The proof of this statement lies in the fact that low cholesterol diets only reduce heart attacks by about 15% at the most. Most studies show no effect. Statins stop the arteries developing cholesterol.
They also lower blood cholesterol by an effect on the liver, but that is not so important. It may be that protective food is more important in preventing artery narrowing than low cholesterol.
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