Atherosclerosis, also known as “hardening of the arteries,” occurs when fat, cholesterol, and other substances build up in the walls of arteries and form hard structures called plaques. Learn how to naturally reverse hardened arteries.
Hardening of the arteries begins with an injury to the endothelium, the lining, of artery walls. The injury is due to high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, chronic inflammation, eating too much sugar and flour, smoking, free radicals produced by bodily processes and many other factors.
In response to the injury, white blood cells, along with lipids (fats), begin to accumulate along the inner layer of the artery. These fats and white blood cells begin to oxidize (become rancid) and build up in the artery walls, forming plaques. These plaques begin to harden and bulge inward, and then grow larger. Even then, there are no symptoms until the narrowing reaches 70 percent. If the plaque is disturbed or bursts, blood platelets can accumulate at the site and form a clot, which can grow until it completely blocks an artery and cuts off the oxygen supply to the heart, brain, or other body part.
Pieces of plaque can also break off and move to smaller blood vessels, blocking them. If the clot completely blocks the blood and oxygen supply to a major artery leading to the heart, the tissue begins to die within minutes. A heart attack ensues. If an artery to the brain is blocked the result is a stroke. Atherosclerosis that affects the arteries in the arms, legs or pelvis is called peripheral artery disease.
Healthy blood vessels are elastic and flexible, accommodating changes in physical activity and stress levels. But in atherosclerosis, blood vessels stiffen and reduce blood flow by 15 percent or more. Your heart has to work harder to make up the difference.
Atherosclerosis is responsible for coronary artery disease, the leading cause of death in the US. It is responsible for at least 43 percent of all deaths in the US. The only countries beating us in heart disease deaths are India (#1 at 1.5 million deaths yearly), China (#2 at 700,000 deaths yearly), and Russia (#3 at 670,000 deaths yearly). The US has 500,000 deaths yearly. There are 2002 statistics. Worldwide, heart disease is running rampant as our deadly diet is reaching the corners of the globe. READ ARTICLE