Excess Iron is a Marker of Heart Attack Risk

Heart artery plaque is not always dangerous -- many of these buildups never erupt, dislodge and block a vessel, causing a potentially fatal heart attack. Now, researchers have shown that iron is much more prevalent in the kind of plaque that is unstable and is thus more likely to promote a heart attack.

This means that iron buildup is a marker of risk for a future heart attack.

According to Newswise:

“In normal heart arteries, small blood vessels ... bring nutrients to the vessel wall, and when plaque starts to build up inside the artery wall, some of these tiny vessels grow as well to feed them. These vessels can rupture, depositing iron, a component of blood, into the growing plaque. This unstable plaque, which has a large core of dead cells covered by a thin fibrous cap, can eventually rupture, forming a big blood clot that can shut down a heart artery.”

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