I have been asked to write an article about removing plaque from the arteries, if you will pardon the pun this is a subject very close to my heart. But first I will tell you a little bit about my story because it may help you to understand how critical it is that removing plaque from the arteries is the single most important thing that you can do to prevent a heart attack or stroke.
Of course, there are other things that you can do in conjunction with removing plaque from the arteries for example: lower your cholesterol (Although there is some doubt about this…more later) eat healthy foods, exercise, lower your blood pressure, rid yourself of stress etc.
When I was in my forties I was a healthy fit person who played a lot of soccer and I loved to go for long walks and exercise regularly. There was a lot of heart disease on my mother’s side of the family and several my uncles passed away at a young age, my cholesterol was quite high at the time, my doctor warned me that unless it came down I was headed fora HEART ATTACK! Boy was he right, I was jogging alone on the beach, suddenly I could feel a massive pressure on my chest, the pain was excruciating, I stumbled to a friend’s house, we rushed to the hospital, I lost consciousness,I thought that I died outside the hospital.
Luckily, the doctors got to work on me, they gave me a drug called Rapeleze to break up the clot in my main artery.I owe them a great debt of gratitude, had they not acted so quickly I would have died, just imagine how much family stuff I would have missed in the last 18 years, our three daughters were very young at the time. So why am I telling you my story…..?
Over the years I always believed what the Doctors were telling us, namely “keep your cholesterol below 5 and you won’t have a heart attack” To a certain extent they are correct, we hear about good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL) we also hear about triglycerides, inflammation and the build-up of plaque. We need cholesterol because for necessary body functions for example, building and sustaining cell membranes into converting sunshine into Vitamin D.
Based on medical advice it would seem important to maintain healthy cholesterol levels, basically a build-up of too much cholesterol affects the amount of plaque in the arteries. Too much plaque leads to a narrowing of the arteries which interrupts oxygen rich blood flow and can lead to a heart attack. This type of heart disease is called Atherosclerosis.
Plaque consists of cholesterol,calcium, fat and other substances that are present in the blood, there are different types of plaque for example: A common cause of heart disease is cholesterol plaque, cholesterol plaque starts to build up in the artery walls and slowly grows as we age, the plaque steadily blocks the blood flow, it can rupture and form a blood clot which can cause a heart attack or stroke.
In the United States the main cause of heart attacks is plaque build-up and blood clots, reducing the cholesterol along with other risk factors may help in averting cholesterol plaque from building up, on occasions it can reverse plaque build-up.As many as 900,000 people die in the USA each year from a heart attack or stroke.The walls of the arteries contain cholesterol plaque, bits of atherosclerosis can also be found in the arteries.
There are three main reasons for this:
Damage to the Endothelium:
The Endothelium is the smooth delicate lining of the blood vessels, the lining becomes damaged over time by smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes, the damage allows cholesterol to enter the wall of the arteries.
The bad cholesterol (LDL) enters the damaged Endothelium and starts to accumulate in the artery wall, white blood cells move in and attempt to digest the bad cholesterol (LDL) over time the mixture of cholesterol and white blood cells forms cholesterol plaque in the artery walls.
It sounds simple but to find a way of removing plaque from the arteries and without side effects has puzzled and divided medical opinion for decades. Despite all the statin drugs and modern medicine people are still dying from heart related disease.According to this report in the Daily Express “Statins fail to slash deaths from heart disease and do more harm than good, a major study claims”.
Too much of the bad cholesterol (LDL) will cause more damage to the artery walls.
Plaque build up: Otherwise known as athersclerosis, plaque build up will result in restricted blood flow.
There are many articles and reports of natural methods to unblock your arteries,there are a few small studies on animals which show some promise. Other steps on removing plaque from the arteries include eating specific foods (less cholesterol rich) but again the research isn’t there to support these claims. Low fat spreads containing polyunsaturated fats, nuts that supposedly lower LDL, fish that has omega 3, all of these will not remove enough existing plaque.
Repairing the damage to the Endothelium
The only way to remove plaque from the arteries starts with repairing the damage done to the Endothelium.
Research over the last twenty years show that the Endothelium is a very active multi functioning organ, it plays a vital part in cardiovascular health, ultimately the endothelial cells regulates the healthy function of the bloodvessels and has a major role in preventing heart disease. Nitric oxide is a molecule produced in the endothelial cells, Nitric oxide is a critical component in regulating blood pressure, as we age our bodies produce less Nitric oxide this leads to damage to the endothelial. When the Endothelium becomes damaged it leads to plaque build-up and this must be reversed by producing more Nitric oxide gas in our systems.
How do we do that?L-Arginine is an amino acid, it is found in many types of foods as well as fish, red meat poultry and dairy products, it is used by the body to make proteins’-arginine converts in the body and is turned into a chemical which is called Nitric oxide. Nitric oxide plays a massive role by opening the blood vessels wider to improve blood flow and stimulate growth hormone release, insulin and substances in our bodies. Nitric oxide relaxes the blood vessels, it removes plaque naturally from the arteries and ensures consistent blood flow throughout our bodies.Nitric oxide regulates blood pressure and prevents blood clots, this discovery was made by Dr Louis Ignarro in his book “No more heart disease”
NO More Heart Disease: How Nitric Oxide Can Prevent–Even Reverse–Heart Disease and Strokes by Louis Ignarro (Jan 24 2006)
The problem we have in producing enough Nitric oxide as we age is, we just don’t produce enough from the foods that we eat, hence the reason for plaque build up in the arteries.As you have read this can lead to a heart attack or stroke.There is some evidence to prove that L-Arginine helps to enhance blood flow to the arteries, by taking L-Arginine the symptoms of chest pain, angina, coronary heart disease and clogged arteries will improve.
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