MONDAY, Sept. 12, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- New research is illuminating the details of cholesterol's dangerous effect on human health.
Researchers at Michigan State University found that cholesterol build-up lying on artery walls can crystallize into a solid, expand and then burst, sending material shooting into the bloodstream.
That chain of events kick-starts the body's natural clotting process, essentially shutting down the artery, explained lead researcher George Abela, a professor in the university's department of medicine and chief of the department's cardiology section.
Abela compared the cholesterol crystallization to putting a plastic bottle of water into a freezer. The frozen water expands, pushing its way out of the bottle -- or breaking the bottle altogether.
"This really drives the point home how important cholesterol control can be," Abela said in a prepared statement.
The findings appear in the September issue of Clinical Cardiology.
The American Heart Association has more about cholesterol.