Early signs of blood-vessel blockage
Mayo Clinic researchers say the inflammation that makes artery blockages likely to rupture and cause a heart attack might be the reason those blockages occur.
A study of 386 Olmsted County residents showed partial blockages in 69 percent of the study subjects, with average age of 66. The level of a marker that indicates inflammation in the blood stream "was the single factor most closely associated with the presence of plaques and their severity."
A high level of marker, called high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, should lead doctors to take a closer look at patients, the researchers say.