When the glycocalyx inner lining of capillaries is too damaged the capillaries will eventually either die or become non-functional. Why is this a bad thing? Well, there are an estimated 37 trillion cells that make up your body. This is a number that is incomprehensible. But, I would like to help you get some sense of how vast this number is. Imagine that you have the best job in the world. It pays you $1 every second of every day even when you are sleeping. It would only take you 11 days to earn 1 million dollars. But it would take you over 100,000 thousand years to earn 37 trillion dollars. Incredible isn’t it? Now even more incredible than that is that, on average, every cell in your body is only about 2 cells away from a capillary. That means you have an incredible number of capillaries supplying oxygen, nutrients, hormones and other essential chemicals to every cell of the body. In fact, if you lined up every capillary in the body end to end, it would stretch around the world about 2 and half times. The human body is absolutely amazing. So what happens when capillaries die or quit filling with blood? The cells they supply with oxygen, nutrients, and hormones begin to starve. Instead of a capillary delivering supplies to 2 cells, it has to try and supply maybe a hundred cells. How effective would this be? It literally can cause tissue and organ starvation. The number and kinds of disease this can lead to are virtually unlimited but the most obvious would be some form of dementia.
Dementia is a term that refers to many diseases from simple memory loss to the dreaded Alzheimer’s disease. Logically all of us would assume that if our brains are deprived of the essential fuel of oxygen, we would have a hard time thinking clearly. Our logic of course would be correct. Studies have shown that abnormally low levels of oxygen have a clear association with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. But it may be more than a lack of oxygen. What do the capillaries do in addition to supplying oxygen, nutrients and hormones? They, of course, remove waste. If follows that fewer capillaries means more waste buildup. In fact, one of the most characteristic symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease is a build up of a protein called beta-amyloid. So the inability to remove waste from our tissues can lead to disease as much as the lack of oxygen, nutrients and hormones.