Cholesterol Health Issues

Understanding Cholesterol Embolism

Cholesterol embolism is the breaking of a cholesterol particle from an unstable segment of plaque that exists within a particular blood vessel. On breaking off, this cholesterol particle travels to another part of the body where it obstructs the flow of blood. Also known as atheroembolism, cholesterol embolism can cause a variety of health problems and may even lead to death.

While cholesterol embolism may develop gradually over a period of time in some individuals, it can even develop spontaneously in some cases. Though cholesterol emboli can exist in people of all age groups, the incidence of this health problem is particularly high in higher age groups. Cholesterol emboli may be difficult to diagnose because of the protean manifestations of this syndrome.

Two different mechanisms
A cholesterol emboli has two different mechanisms of action. This means that it can occur inside in the body in two different ways.

Mechanism 1- In some cases, cholesterol crystals start breaking off from plaque spontaneously. These crystals then are flown via the bloodstream to various body organs. Since these crystals are smaller, they block arteries that are 100-200 micrometers in diameter. This blockage of arteries eventually leads to organ damage.

Mechanism 2- Here, instead of small cholesterol crystals, large cholesterol plaques break off. This can happen as a result of local trauma that is caused to the plaque. These large plaque particles block larger arteries resulting in acute organ dysfunction.

Causes and risk factors
Considering that cholesterol emboli is a critical health condition, efforts must be taken to prevent the problem. An important step in this direction would be to study the causes and risk factors associated with this health condition. Here are some factors that can trigger cholesterol embolism in the body.

* Coronary artery bypass surgery
* Hypertension
* Cerbrovascular diseases
* Aortoiliac diseases
* People who fall in the age group of 60 and above also fall in the high risk category.

Some of these risks can be reduced considerably with an axillary or a brachial approach by making use of soft flexible catheters. This approach is particularly beneficial for those patients who have a highly ulcerated aortic plaque.

Diagnosis
Though diagnosing cholesterol embolism is quite tricky, the problem can be suspected if the patient is suffering from any of the following problems:

* Worsening of renal function
* Hypertension
* Acute multisystem dysfunction
* Distal ischemia
* Atheroemboli

Treatment
There is no definitive treatment to cholesterol embolism. In treatment of cholesterol embolism, only the symptoms of the problem are dealt with. There is no as such proper cure to the entire phenomenon itself.

Cholesterol embolism is just on extension of high cholesterol levels in the body. To avoid this serious or rather fatal health condition, the best you can do is keep your cholesterol levels in check.