What Is Atherosclerosis? How is Atherosclerosis Treated?

Atherosclerosis is a disease of the arteries characterized by the deposition of fatty material on their inner walls. Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque builds up inside your arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart and other parts of your body.

Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. Over time, plaque hardens and narrows your arteries. This limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your organs and other parts of your body. Atherosclerosis can lead to serious problems, including heart attack, stroke, or even death.

According to WebMD if you wonder "Who Gets Atherosclerosis?" It might be easier to ask, who doesn't get atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis starts early. In autopsies of young American soldiers killed in action in the Korean and Vietnam wars, half to three-quarters had early forms of atherosclerosis.

Even today, a large number of asymptomatic young people have evidence of atherosclerosis. A 2001 study of 262 apparently healthy people's hearts may surprise you:

  • 52% had some atherosclerosis.
  • Atherosclerosis was present in 85% of those older than 50.
  • 17% of teenagers had atherosclerosis.

No wonder than that atherosclerosis is the usual cause of heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral vascular disease -- what together are called "cardiovascular disease.". Where Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer in America, with more than 800,000 deaths in 2005.

Atherosclerosis Treatment

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute suggests that treatments for atherosclerosis may include heart-healthy lifestyle changes, medicines, and medical procedures or surgery. The goals of treatment include:

  • Lowering the risk of blood clots forming
  • Preventing atherosclerosis-related diseases
  • Reducing risk factors in an effort to slow or stop the buildup of plaque
  • Relieving symptoms
  • Widening or bypassing plaque-clogged arteries

Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Changes

Your doctor may recommend heart-healthy lifestyle changes if you have atherosclerosis. Heart-healthy lifestyle changes include heart-healthy eating, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, physical activity, and quitting smoking.

Heart-Healthy Eating

Your doctor may recommend heart-healthy eating, which should include:

  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy products, such as skim milk
  • Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and trout, about twice a week
  • Fruits, such as apples, bananas, oranges, pears, and prunes
  • Legumes, such as kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, and lima beans
  • Vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and carrots
  • Whole grains, such as oatmeal, brown rice, and corn tortillas 

When following a heart-healthy diet, you should avoid eating:

  • A lot of red meat
  • Palm and coconut oils
  • Sugary foods and beverages

Two nutrients in your diet make blood cholesterol levels rise:

  • Saturated fat—found mostly in foods that come from animals
  • Trans fat (trans fatty acids)—found in foods made with hydrogenated oils and fats such as stick margarine; baked goods such as cookies, cakes, and pies; crackers; frostings; and coffee creamers. Some trans fats also occur naturally in animal fats and meats.

Saturated fat raises your blood cholesterol more than anything else in your diet. When you follow a heart-healthy eating plan, only 5 percent to 6 percent of your daily calories should come from saturated fat. Food labels list the amounts of saturated fat.

Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health and can lower your risk for coronary heart disease. Aim for a Healthy Weight by following a heart-healthy eating plan and keeping physically active. 

Managing and Coping With Stress

Learning how to manage stress, relax, and cope with problems can improve your emotional and physical health. Consider healthy stress-reducing activities, such as:

  • A stress management program
  • Meditation
  • Physical activity
  • Relaxation therapy
  • Talking things out with friends or family 

Physical Activity

Regular physical activity can lower many atherosclerosis risk factors, including LDL or “bad” cholesterol, high blood pressure, and excess weight. Physical activity also can lower your risk for diabetes and raise your HDL or “good” cholesterol, which helps prevent atherosclerosis.

Everyone should try to participate in moderate-intensity aerobic exercise at least 2 hours and 30 minutes per week or vigorous aerobic exercise for 1 hour and 15 minutes per week. Aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, is any exercise in which your heart beats faster and you use more oxygen than usual. The more active you are, the more you will benefit. Participate in aerobic exercise for at least 10 minutes at a time spread throughout the week.

Talk with your doctor before you start a new exercise plan. Ask your doctor how much and what kinds of physical activity are safe for you.

Other treatments may include medicines and medical procedures and surgery.

Date Seed - The perfect treatment for Atherosclerosis

Recent issue (March 26, 2015) of Food & Function, a journal of The Royal Society of Chemistry illustrated how date seeds, which are rich sources of phenolic radical scavenger antioxidants, also inhibit the oxidation of LDL (the so-called "bad cholesterol") and stimulate the removal of cholesterol from lipid-laden arterial cells.
In a trial performed on arterial cells in culture, as well as in atherosclerotic mice, the team  of researchers at the prestigious Technion Institute in Israel found that the triple combination of pomegranate juice, date fruits and date pits did indeed provide maximum protection against the development of atherosclerosis because the combination reduced oxidative stress in the arterial wall by 33% and decreased arterial cholesterol content by 28%.

Recent studies have shown that Professor Aviram (Aviram et al, 2015) showed that the total polyphenol concentration was 10 times higher. Next, they analyzed the anti-oxidative properties of the above extracts: their ability to scavenge free radicals and to inhibit copper ion induced LDL oxidation. The Hallawi date and Amari date extracts (0–5 μg GAE mL−1) were unable to reduce the optical density of the free radical generator DPPH, indicating almost no free radical scavenging capacity. In contrast, the date seed extract (0–5 μg GAE mL−1) possesses impressive free radical scavenging capacity, as it dose-dependently decreased DPPH absorbance at 517 nm by up to 57%. They then pre-incubated LDL with the above extracts (0–5 μg GAE mL−1), followed by the addition of copper ions. The extent of LDL oxidation was determined by the TBARS assay, and by the lipid peroxides assay. The Amari date extract did not affect the extent of LDL oxidation, whereas the Hallawi date extract and the date seed extract significantly decreased the LDL-associated aldehyde (TBARS) levels by up to 47% and 83%, respectively. Similarly, LDL-associated lipid peroxide levels were decreased by Hallawi and seeds by up to 76% and 99%, respectively.

The following is an excellent video that describes how the build-up of plaque over time causes atherosclerosis which can lead to serious problems, including heart attack, stroke, or even death. The video also shows how in atherosclerosis, plaque builds up inside the arteries which can cause a heart attack, and explains that the main treatment for atherosclerosis is lifestyle changes, such as following a healthy diet, quitting smoking, and being physically active.





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