“What leads to plaque buildup? Well, we often talk about risk factors. Those risk factors include age. The older you get, the more there’s going to be buildup of plaque in your arteries. I use the analogy of water flowing through pipes. If you have 80 years of water flowing through pipes, you’re going to get corrosion and buildup and it’s not water. And it’s not metal that we’re talking about. We’re talking about blood, cholesterol, fat, sugar, other products flowing through human arteries. So it’s expected that as you age and you live long enough, you’re going to get some degree of plaque buildup. But a lot of people think you have to have a lot of plaque to have a heart attack. It’s not true. You could have 10% plaque. And when that ruptures you’re going to have a heart attack, that’s why I often find people under 50 having heart attacks.
And there’s actually now publications that show that the average age of the heart attack patient is getting younger and younger. And my theory is that the older ones either have already had a heart attack, or I’ve already seen doctors that are using the best and most proven medications to try to reduce their risk of developing a heart attack. So the people that are walking around confidently, not worrying and not thinking or not perceiving themselves as a patient at risk for a heart attack or the ones who suddenly have a plaque rupture and have a clot that blocks the artery that causes them to have a heart attack. So I always talk to patients about risk factor modification. We can’t make people younger. We can’t change their agenda in such a way that it reduces heart attack risk. And we can’t obviously change genetics, such that we can make them less risk so far. But what we can do is get them to exercise, get them to walk 30 minutes minimum, five days a week minimum, to eat a healthy diet and obviously work on their cholesterol, blood pressure. If they’re smokers, quit smoking and reverse the modifiable risk factors as best possible.”