Atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis is the pathologic process that is prematurely crippling and killing more Americans than any other disease process. This progressive process silently and slowly blocks arteries, putting blood flow at risk. What most people don’t realize is this process takes years/decades to progress to a state where symptoms can be perceived.
When atherosclerosis occurs the blood vessels (arteries) that carry oxygen and nutrients to the different parts of your body become thick and stiff and can severely restrict blood flow to your organs and tissues. Healthy arteries are flexible and elastic but when atherosclerosis occurs the walls in your arteries harden and the lumen narrows.
Coronary Artery Disease: The Leading Cause of Death
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a term most people understand. The heart literally pumps blood to itself through the coronary arteries. When atherosclerosis slowly closes the coronary arteries people experience shortness of breath and usually angina (heart pain – usually with exertion). If there is a sudden blockage (that can happen if there is a rupture of the plaque and a blood clot in the artery forms) a myocardial infarction occurs (heart attack). Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.
What people don’t realize is that if they have coronary artery disease they also have cerebral (brain) artery disease and renal (kidney) artery disease and hepatic (liver) artery disease, etc. In other words ALL the arteries in your body are affected. This is a SYSTEMIC DISEASE. Heart attacks and strokes have the most attention but decreasing blood flow to any organ will result in functional decline of that organ. Thus when looking at aging, atherosclerosis definitely accelerates that decline. Some types of dementia, chronic kidney disease, intestinal dysfunction and others are caused by this poor blood flow.
Atherosclerosis IS a Preventable Disease
The traditional medical community is correct that high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking are key heart disease risk factors for heart disease. Additionally diabetes and obesity are linked to atherosclerosis and this represents close to 1/3 of all Americans.
What the traditional medical community fails to tell Americans is that atherosclerosis can be prevented and what you eat is the key. Eating a whole foods plant based diet (WFPBD) has scientific evidence of not only stopping but reversing heart disease.
No medication works like eating a WFPBD. If there was a pill that could lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and lower blood sugar like the WFPBD I would support putting it in the water. The truth is that there is no pill, medical therapy or intervention that addresses the cause of atherosclerosis – it’s the food American’s eat and only changing that behavior will work.
To learn more, check out the links below!
Dean Ornish, M.D.: https://www.ornish.com/undo-it/, “Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease: The Only System Scientifically Proven to Reverse Heart Disease Without Drugs or Surgery”
Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D.: http://www.dresselstyn.com/site/, “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease”
Collin Campbell, PhD: https://nutritionstudies.org/, “The China Study”, “Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition”