Arteriosclerosis / atherosclerorsis is the narrowing and hardening of the arteries. In arteriosclerosis the narrowing is caused mainly by calcium deposits. In atherosclerosis the narrowing is caused mainly by chronic lipid deposition, cell proliferation and reactive inflammation in the artery wall.
Atherosclerosis can start in childhood with early lipid deposits evolving into the lesions characteristic of atherosclerosis. The lesions begin as a grey to pearly white, elevated thickening of the internal part of the vessel with a core of extracellular lipid (mainly cholesterol, which usually is bound to proteins) covered by a fibrous cap of connective tissue and smooth muscle.
Atherosclerotic lesions can protrude into the artery lumen and impede blood flow. Due to a reduction in blood flow, the function of downstream tissues is impaired through insufficient oxygenation and less efficient metabolite exchange.
Atherosclerosis generally does not produce any symptoms until atheroma
encroaches significantly on the vessel lumen. However, if there is an acute
occlusion of a major artery by thrombosis, embolism or dissecting aneurysm the symptoms and signs can be dramatic. The signs and symptoms of atherosclerosis depend on the degree of blockage and also depend on which arteries are involved.
Atherosclerotic lesions occurring in the coronary arteries lead to coronary
heart disease (CHD). Symptoms of CHD may present acutely as ischaemic chest pain (i.e. angina pectoris) or myocardial infarction.
Lesions occurring in the cerebral arteries lead to cerebrovascular disease, which may lead to stroke.
Lesions in the iliac and femoral arteries lead to peripheral arterial disease, which may present as ischaemic pain in the extremities (e.g. intermittent claudication), gangrene, or aneurysm.
Elevated blood cholesterol levels
High blood pressure
Low antioxidant status
Low levels of essential fatty acids
Low levels of magnesium and potassium
Increased platelet aggregation
Increased fibrinogen formation
Elevated levels of homocysteine
Evidence suggests that an elevated homocysteine level is a risk factor for heart disease independent of other known risk factors such as elevated cholesterol, and hypertension. Homocysteine appears to be capable of promoting the development of atherosclerosis. Cigarette smoking and coffee consumption are associated with increased levels of homocysteine.
Vitamin B6, Folic acid, and Vitamin B12 all function as cofactors for enzymes that can lower homocysteine levels.
Natural treatment regimes
Since the development of atherosclerosis begins in childhood, risk factor modification (including diet, physical activity and weight control) should begin early in life, at least in the late teens.
Preventing the development of coronary heart disease could
be assisted by following:
Prevention of childhood and adolescent smoking.
Systematically checking for serum hyperchlesterolaemia and for low HDL levels.
Prevention and treatment of obesity.
Identification and control of hypertension and glucose intolerance in young people.
Consumption of a plant-based diet rich in fruit and vegetables, nuts, natural vegetable oils, and whole grains.
Medical treatment and prevention may include procedures such as coronary bypass operations or balloon and stent procedures.
However there are many more natural regimes that can help this situation.
This is just a snipet of what you need to know, so if you want to know more about this subject or have a personal question of your own, then please email me for a personal consultation, as all natural treatments are best if prescribed individually.
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