Avoid Unhealthful Fats And Sugar
The advise people to reduce their consumption of saturated fats and eliminate trans fats, which can help lower LDL cholesterol.
However, some research suggests that saturated fat does not clog the arteries.
People also need to be wary of factors other than fat. Eating foods high in sugar or refined carbohydrates can increase triglycerides in the blood and boost the risk of heart disease.
Overall, the evidence supports a Mediterranean-style diet of antioxidant-rich plant foods, olive oil, and nuts. People should be aware of their saturated fat and sugar intake and avoid all trans fats.
The following foods may help support healthy arteries.
How To Prevent High Cholesterol
As with many other conditions, preventing high cholesterol from occurring in the first place is better than a cure because of the range of controllable risk factors. To prevent high cholesterol, you should:
Eat a nutritious diet low in fat and salt
Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
Quit or avoid taking up smoking
Ensure you get regular exercise
Manage your stress levels.
If you think you may be at risk of high cholesterol levels, or if you havent had your cholesterol levels checked recently, contact your GP today.
Statin Risks And Benefits
Are statins safe? For most people, the answer is a resounding yes, according to a 2014 Johns Hopkins meta-analysis of 20 years worth of published research. It showed that the risks of long-term use of statin drugs are low and the potential benefits are very high. Researchers combed through hundreds of papers that had studied statins since 1994 to determine the evidence of side effects.
Their review, published in British Medical Journal, found an increase in the risk of muscle aches. There was also a modest risk of elevated blood glucose, which can tip some people into developing type 2 diabetes. Whats unclear is whether those people, who also had other risk factors for diabetes, would have developed the condition anyway. Statins dont cause memory loss or cataracts, as has been claimed in the past. For most at-risk patients, the benefits far exceed the risks, the researchers concluded. Of course, if you notice any unusual effects after beginning statin therapy, tell your doctor.
We know a lot about statins because theyve been around for a long time and taken by so many people, Blaha says. The scale clearly tips to benefits in most at-risk patients.
Why did my doctor prescribe statins if my cholesterol is normal?
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How To Unclog Arteries: Diet
If youre looking for foods that clean arteries and veins, you need to think about foods that will reduce the amount of LDL in the bloodstream. LDL stands for Low-Density Lipoprotein and is the type of cholesterol that gets deposited in your artery walls. LDL can be reduced with drugs such as statins, but it can also be managed through a healthier diet and lifestyle.
Some foods that can help clean arteries include:
- Olive oil
Knowing how to unclog arteries means understanding which foods and micronutrients look after your cardiovascular system. Another way to manage this is via supplements.
What Causes Plaque In Arteries
Plaque forms when cholesterol lodges in the wall of the artery. To fight back, the body sends white blood cells to trap the cholesterol, which then turn into foamy cells that ooze more fat and cause more . That triggers muscle cells in the artery wall to multiply and form a cap over the area. But the soft plaque beneath the cap is dangerous. “For example, if your blood pressure spikes, it puts pressure on the thin wall of the plaque, which can break open, form a clot, and cause a heart attack,” says Dr. Cannon. About three of every four heart attacks occur when plaques rupture.
Larger plaques can block blood flow. But they are typically covered by thick, fibrous caps that can resist breaking apart. These are often treated by inserting a wire mesh tube near the blockage to widen the artery.
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Cholesterol Lowering Foods To Keep Your Arteries Plaque
Keeping your heart healthy should always be a top priority. After all, its the muscle at the core of every system in your body! Left unmonitored, high cholesterol levels can lead to heart attacks and high blood pressure. Below is a list of 17 cholesterol lowering foods to help prevent heart disease and keep your arteries plaque-free.
High Cholesterol: Nutritionist Reveals Top Prevention Tips
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High cholesterol is widely recognised as a generator of disease, putting millions at the perils of heart attack and stroke annually. Fortunately, managing the condition doesn’t always call for strenuous measures. One fruit, renowned for promoting a positive mood, has recently come into the limelight for its potent lipid-lowering effects.
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How To Reduce Artery Plaque The Natural Way
If only it were as simple as do X, X, and X! When it comes to the cardiovascular system, nothing is ever that easy.
To get rid of arterial plaque, there are a number of things you need to do:
- Repair any damage to the arterial lining
- Protect the arterial lining from cholesterol
- Lower cholesterol and blood lipid levels
- Avoid ingesting foods that increase the production of cholesterol
Below, well take a look at the four elements of naturally reducing and preventing arterial build-up
The Calcium Score Paradox
Patients will often come to see me because they had a positive calcium score. They forget that soft plaques dont show up on a calcium scorecalcium score is only indicative of stable, hardened, calcified plaque. And its the soft plaque which we should be worried about.
Then why do we look at a calcium score?
Because we can see that there is a correlation between calcified plaque and CV risk. If youve got a lot of calcium, you have a much higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
But if calcium indicates plaque is stable, why does a higher calcium score usually mean a higher risk?
In a patient with an incomplete plaque history, higher calcium scores usually mean higher risk. A higher calcium score means the arteries have already been through several cycles of laying down plaques, inflaming those plaques, and calcifying and stabilizing those plaques.
I have plenty of patients whove been through that cycle. Theyve come out the other end. They feel great. They feel fine. Theyre very comfortable with where they need to be and knowing that their plaques are now stable.
Why does that become an issue?
Patients often come to see me really worried. Oh Doc, I had a calcium score it was over a thousand. Im going to die. However, there are certain obstacles we must get over .
What happens to their calcium score?
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What Is Hdl Cholesterol Versus Ldl Cholesterol
Cholesterol is important for the body because it helps make the hormones and other substances that help regulate important body functions. HDL cholesterol is good for your heart because it helps lower bad LDL cholesterol in the blood.
HDL removes excess amounts of LDL from cells while also reducing inflammation in the arteries, which may cause atherosclerosis or hardening of artery walls.
On the other hand, LDL Cholesterol clogs up arteries over time by increasing plaque formation with its deposits this leads to high-risk factors such as increased chances of stroke, heart attack, angina, and vascular dementia, among others.
The level of cholesterol in your bloodstream is called blood lipid levels. High levels can lead to coronary disease and strokes if not managed well.
Since HDL has a positive effect on lowering LDL levels, if we have more of this good kind , thats better for us!
Try The Mediterranean Diet
One of the best ways to decrease levels of LDL cholesterol is through your diet! A common diet that is recommended when trying to lower LDL cholesterol is the Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet is a diet that is high in fat due to the lower consumption of sugar and meat.
Foods like nuts, olive oil, fruits, and vegetables are at their highest levels when eating a Mediterranean diet which means youre less likely to have an increased cholesterol level.
People who eat this way also tend to lose weight over time because they are not consuming as many calories from sugars or fats since they get most of those essential nutrients through foods rich in protein and fiber.
Eating more healthy fats by including avocados with every meal will lower your risk for heart disease along with lowering LDL cholesterol levels! Avocado lovers can rejoice knowing that guacamole isnt just tasty, but its good for them too!
Mediterranean diets are commonly consumed in some of the healthiest places in the world called the Blue Zones.
Here is the typical Mediterranean diet pyramid:
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How To Remove Plaque From Arteries
Knowing how to reverse atherosclerosis is about learning how to unclog arteries naturally. There might not be a quick and easy way to magically dissolve plaque in arteries, but that doesnt mean you cant improve your situation. Can you reverse plaque build-up in your arteries? Not exactly, but it may be possible, with care, to stabilize the condition and make it less dangerous.
How Did Gerry Reverse His Arterial Plaque
Gerry followed the familiar pattern. He discovered he had type 2 diabetes, so he restricted his carbs. He lost weight, added some supplements, and made adjustments in his prescriptions. He took ACE inhibitors and low-dose statins.
Gerrys nickname is Quanticus he loves to quantify things. You can see that as he tells his story. He provides detail in his history that very few patients or doctors can provide.
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How To Lower Your Cholesterol Levels
If you have high cholesterol, there are ways to lower your levels and reduce your risk of further complications. The first approach is typically making lifestyle changes before retesting again. This includes changes to your diet, stopping smoking, and increasing exercise. If lifestyle changes are not working or not appropriate for you, medication is usually prescribed. The most common type of cholesterol-lowering medications is called statins. They lower the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood and help to reduce your chance of further issues.
The Danger Of Arterial Plaque
Dont get me wrong. When LDL cholesterol leaks through the artery wall and gets stuck, it can form harmful plaque. And this plaque puts us at risk for heart attack and stroke.
Heart attack is the most common cause of death , while stroke is the most common cause of long-term disability. I havent even mentioned kidney disease, eye disease, and other conditions. Thats why plaque is a significant issue.
The Development of Atherosclerotic Plaque. Source: Rumberger JA. Cardiac CT With The Experts At Princeton Longevity Center.
While exceptionally high LDL cholesterol in the blood can be a risk factor, its not as critical as most folks would think.
Unfortunately, our current culture in primary care medicine doesnt recognize that fact. The physicians making up our medical community, the medical standards committees, the patientsnone of them realize the importance of preventing plaque.
And thats what our upcoming book, PREVENTION MYTHS: Why a Stress Test Cannot Predict your Heart Attackand the Tests that Can is all about. It will tell you how to detect, measure, manage, and prevent plaque.
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Summary And Future Directions
The regression of atherosclerosis through lipid lowering has been a goal since the early 1900s. Early experimental and epidemiological studies suggested the possibility of plaque regression. Angiographic trials were conducted from 1980 to 2000 and their overall results indicated that aggressive modification of the lipid profile could inhibit plaque progression and induce some degree of regression. The introduction of IVUS further stimulated research into the progression and regression of atherosclerosis. This modality enabled us to observe and measure atherosclerotic plaques quantitatively as well as qualitatively. Observations have been consistent in suggesting that aggressive lipid profile modification could reduce atherosclerotic progression and induce plaque regression.
The observations available from IVUS appear to offer a powerful tool for predicting future clinical events among patients with coronary artery disease. More recently, other coronary imaging modalities have come into clinical use, such as optical coherence tomography and near-infrared spectroscopy, further accelerating research into atherosclerotic progression and regression, improving our understanding of the mechanisms underpinning atherosclerosis, and opening up new treatment options.
Leading Risk Factors Of High Cholesterol
While there is no single cause for high cholesterol, there are some leading risk factors for developing it. These include:
Smoking – Cigarette smoke damages the walls of your blood vessels, which makes them more prone to accumulate fatty deposits. Smoking can also lower your level of HDL cholesterol.
Diabetes – High blood sugar can damage the lining of your arteries. It also contributes to higher levels of dangerous cholesterol called very-low-density lipoprotein and lower HDL cholesterol.
Obesity – Having a body mass index of 30 or greater puts you at risk of high cholesterol.
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When To Speak With A Doctor
A person may not experience signs and symptoms of atherosclerosis in the early stages. However, when a major artery becomes blocked, this could lead to a heart attack or stroke.
If a person has concerns about their symptoms, they should speak with their doctor or visit the emergency room in more severe cases.
Repair Damage Done To Arteries
Hardened plaque in your arteries not only causes atherosclerosis but also causes damage to the arteries when inflammation comes into the picture
Your body uses inflammation to take care of damage but too much of it can damage the walls of your blood vessels.
Its very important to repair damage done to arteries and begin the healing process so that your arteries can function normally again.
According to scientists Nitric oxide is responsible for keeping the arteries smooth and flexible.
Our bodies produce Nitric oxide when we eat certain foods, however other factors contribute to less Nitric oxide being produced so you need to take a quality l arginine supplement to increase your nitric oxide production and repair the damage done to your arteries.
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How Statin Drugs Protect The Heart
More than 200 million people around the world take statin drugs for theirheart health. Shifting ideas about the risks and benefits of statins overthe years, however, have left some new patients confused about whetherthese drugs are rightor safefor them.
Traditionally, statins were viewed as purely cholesterol-lowering drugs. So it made sense just to use them for people with high cholesterol, explains Johns Hopkins cardiologist Michael Blaha, M.D. But weve learned that they also benefit people with lower levels of cholesterol who are at a high risk of heart disease. So we now think of statins as risk-reducing drugs.
This dramatic change in thinking means that people who once were not candidates for statins are now prescribed them to lower their risk of heart attack and stroke.
How Does Arterial Plaque Shrink
We have been talking about plaque formation for now. But how does the shrinkage of arterial plaque happen?
According to Feig at al. , these are the possible mechanisms by how plaque shrinks at the microscopic level:
- Theres decreased retention of atherogenic apolipoprotein B within the arterial wall. Apolipoprotein B is the major protein component of VLDL, IDL, and LDL. Because VLDL, IDL, and LDL are atherogenic , the level of apolipoprotein B indicates the atherogenic potential of these lipoproteins.
- Cholesterol and other toxic lipids flow out from plaques.
- Foam cells are removed from plaque.
- Phagocytes remove dead tissue debris and other components of the plaque.
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Health Risks Of Atherosclerosis
If left to get worse, atherosclerosis can potentially lead to a number of serious conditions known as cardiovascular disease . There will not usually be any symptoms until CVD develops.
Types of CVD include:
- coronary heart disease the main arteries that supply your heart become clogged with plaques
- angina short periods of tight, dull or heavy chest pain caused by coronary heart disease, which may precede a heart attack
- heart attacks where the blood supply to your heart is blocked, causing sudden crushing or indigestion-like chest pain that can radiate to nearby areas, as well as shortness of breath and dizziness
- strokes where the blood supply to your brain is interrupted, causing the face to droop to 1 side, weakness on 1 side of the body, and slurred speech
New Guidelines For Ldl Levels And Addressing Cardiovascular Disease Risk
New guidelines for assessing your heart disease give you and your doctor powerful tools for estimating your cardiovascular disease risk and lowering your LDL cholesterol levels. Working with your health care team, you can create a plan with a customized combination of lifestyle changes, medications and continued monitoring.
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Cut Back On Animal Fats
Forgo fatty, processed meats such as bologna, salami, pepperoni and hot dogs, as well as fatty red meats like ribs and prime cuts of beef, pork, veal or lamb. Also, skip skin-on chicken or turkey. Avoid full-fat dairy products such as whole milk, cheese, cream, sour cream, cream cheese and butter. These foods contain saturated fat as well as cholesterol, which are both associated with higher blood cholesterol and plaque buildup.
Different Colored Fruits And Vegetables
To obtain a wide range of antioxidants, someone should vary the vegetables and fruits they eat. Remembering to eat a rainbow is a useful way to do this.
Moderating intake of starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and sweet potatoes, can help someone manage their weight and risk of cardiovascular disease.
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