If you don’t want to die from a heart attack or stroke, you better take care of your blood vessels. Removing plaque from your arterial walls is difficult. In fact, it is almost impossible without the use of invasive treatment. Instead, the best course of action is to halt plaque development and prevent future plaque buildup.
Why is it important to prevent blood vessel clogging?
You probably already heard or are familiar with such conditions as Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), Carotid artery disease, or Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). All of them are a result of clogged arteries in different parts of the body. They are quite serious health problems and even can be deadly.
Plaque that accumulates on the inner walls of your arteries is made from various substances that circulate in your blood. These include calcium, fat, cholesterol, cellular waste, and fibrin, a material involved in blood clotting. When fatty deposits accumulate along artery walls, this causes the arteries to narrow and restricts blood flow to the heart and other parts of the body. You may have heard the condition called atherosclerosis referred to as clogged arteries or hardening of the arteries.
Changes in the blood vessels normally occur with age. The arteries become thicker, stiffer, and less flexible. This is probably related to changes in the connective tissue of the blood vessel wall. This makes the blood pressure higher and makes the heart work harder. In general, most older people have a moderate increase in blood pressure. Add additional clogging here, and the situation gets much worse.
And while high blood pressure is a significant risk on its own, it is especially dangerous when combined with other cardiovascular risk factors such as high LDL cholesterol, high blood sugar, or being overweight.
In fact, clinical studies show that the combination of significant blood sugar issues and high blood pressure increases a person’s risk of developing serious cardiovascular problems tremendously. High blood pressure is twice as likely to strike a person with diabetes than a person without diabetes.
How to prevent blood vessel clogging?
Scientists do not know exactly how atherosclerosis starts or what causes it. It is a slowly progressing disease that can begin in childhood. However, some recent studies revealed why food high in saturated fat might lead to plaque build-up in arteries.
It’s never too late to start a healthier diet. Just as years of bad eating can damage your body, good eating can help heal it. Following a diet rich in certain foods like vegetables, fruits, and fish has been shown to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease.
According to experts, there is a number of diets that are beneficial for arteries and heart health in general:
All you need is to make a choice and follow the diet.
All blood vessels are lined with a very thin layer of cells called the endothelium. This tissue helps regulate the flow of calcium and other substances into and out of the bloodstream. When endothelial cells cannot function properly, plaque builds up and calcifies, and narrows the artery. Endothelial dysfunction is a hallmark of many types of cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin K provides cardiovascular protection thanks to its role in calcium homeostasis. Vitamin K, especially K2, is believed to prevent calcium from being deposited in your arteries. The breakthrough study demonstrates that helping bodies utilize calcium properly allows vitamin K2 to protect arteries and blood vessels.
Clinical research shows amazing results in lowering blood pressure in a case of higher intake of vitamin K2.
By the way, recent studies have shown that Vitamin K prevents cell death, which is a newly discovered function for a long-known molecule.
The graph shows the content of Vitamin K (K1 and K2) in micrograms per 100 grams of the food sources. The actual list of Vitamin K sources is much larger, but the snown ones have the vitamin above the required daily value of 120 mcg (red line).
By the way, we have already published information about beet leaves, which are a rich source of Vitamin K. In addition to this, beets are rich in dietary nitrates that help improve blood vessel function and decrease inflammation to prevent atherosclerosis. Research has also found an association between dietary nitrate intake and a reduced risk of atherosclerosis-related death. Thus, a revival recipe of pesto from beet leaves seems to be the perfect addition to the diet against atherosclerosis.
Another aspect is the medicinal use of the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europaea). It actually dates back thousands of years. And as it turns out, the lesser-hyped olive leaf may, in fact, possess the olive tree’s most powerful healing properties.
The olive leaf is a staple of the Mediterranean diet, which scientists study for its potential to prevent chronic diseases. Research points to lower the rates of illnesses and cancer-related deaths among populations that follow this diet. The positive effect is partially due to the powerful and health-boosting benefits of the olive leaf.
Tea made from the leaves of the olive tree is very popular among lovers of this unique drink. This is due to the peculiarity of its taste and aroma, as well as an extensive list of useful properties of the drink.
If you prefer supplements, research shows that olive leaf extract helps prevent LDL (bad) cholesterol from building up in your arteries. This effect helps increase blood flow and lower blood pressure, reducing your risk of heart disease.
LifeExtention provides supplements based on Gotu Kola and Pycnogenol® French maritime pine bark extracts, which encourage the body’s natural processes for regulating plaque in the arteries and promote healthy arterial circulation.
Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Atherosclerosis and Coronary Artery Disease: Antioxidant Foods
Eradicating the Burden of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease by Lowering Apolipoprotein B Lipoproteins Earlier in Life
The relationship between vitamin K and peripheral arterial disease
Dietary intake of vitamin K is inversely associated with mortality risk
How do you know that your arteries are clogged?
Besides several signs in some cases, clogged arteries usually do not cause any symptoms until a major event, such as a heart attack or stroke, occurs. This is why the build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries is often defined as a potential silent killer.
If you are wondering about the conditions of your arteries, your doctor might prescribe you specific tests based on your symptoms and medical history.
Don’t wait for symptoms. Take action to prevent plaques now!
Decoction of pine needles
- 5 tbsp of crushed pine needles;
- 2 tbsp of crushed rosehips;
- 2 tbsp of onion husks.
- place all ingredients in a pot;
- add 1 liter of water and bring the mixture to a boil;
- cook over low heat for 10 minutes;
- pour hot liquid into a thermos and steep overnight.
- Drink warm with 2-3 cups a day.
Basically, there are no side effects from the tea if you use non-toxic pine needles. But it is important to consume pine needle tea according to your physical condition.
Please avoid drinking pine needle tea if you are taking warfarin, a drug that is used to treat people who have blood clot problems.
If you have a weak gastrointestinal tract, use it with caution as it may cause gastrointestinal problems.
People with pine allergies may experience throat damage, nausea, and diarrhea.
In rare cases, the essential oil of pine needles also can cause symptoms such as stomachache and skin rash.
Pregnant women and those who are still in the breastfeeding period should refrain from consuming pine needle tea since it contains a small amount of caffeine.
Garlic and its preparations have been widely recognized as agents for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular and other metabolic diseases, including atherosclerosis, for centuries. Several studies have shown that garlic can improve blood fluidity and help lower blood pressure. It also was shown to decrease blood glucose levels. Clinical trials also point toward garlic playing a role in either preventing or delaying the cardiovascular disease.
In general, garlic oil is garlic garlic-infused olive oil. Olive oil is extremely beneficial for your heart by itself. In fact, observational studies have shown a link between lower risks of cardiovascular disease, some cancers, and even dementia in people who consume higher amounts of olive oil than those who use little or none.
You can find online many websites with the recipe for garlic oil. In most cases, its purpose is to add a kick to marinades and dressings and is perfect as a simple dip for warm bread.
Here is a recipe for garlic oil with the most beneficial effect on your arteries and bloodstream.
- 1 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
- crush garlic cloves with the back of a knife on a flat surface; remove peel;
- grind garlic into a slurry;
- place the gruel in a glass container (jar, bottle with a wide neck) and pour 1 cup of olive oil;
- Cover and refrigerate until flavors blend in about 2 to 5 days.
How to use:
- to 1 tsp of garlic oil, add 1 tsp of lemon juice, and stir;
- take mixture 3 times a day 30 minutes before meals;
- the course is one month;
- can repeat the course in 1-2 months.
Keep oil refrigerated to prevent botulism. You should not use garlic if you are allergic to it.
Ask your doctor, if it is safe for you to use this product if you have:
- a stomach ulcer;
- problems with digestion; or
- a bleeding or blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia.
Dill seeds and valerian root
Dill is a plant that has a long history as a culinary spice. But it has also been used as a magic weapon and a medicine. In addition to many health benefits, early research suggests that dill seeds lower cholesterol or blood fats called triglycerides in people with high cholesterol and clogged heart arteries (coronary artery disease, CAD). So does valerian root. It exhibits a wide range of biological activities, including lowering blood pressure and heart rate and regulation of blood cholesterol levels. All these factors have a positive effect on cardiovascular health.
This recipe is aimed to prevent atherosclerosis and boost your overall health.
- 100 g of dill seeds;
- 2 tbsp of ground valerian root;
- 2 tbsp of honey.
- mix dill seeds and ground valerian root;
- pour 2 l of boiling water over the mixture;
- cool down and add honey;
- pour the infusion into a jar, wrap it well, and steep for 24 hr.
How to use:
- take 1 tbsp of the infusion 30 min before each meal;
- the course of treatment is 20 days;
- then take a break for 10 days and repeat the course again.
It’s possibly unsafe to use this infusion for pregnant women. Dill seed can start menstruation, and that might lead to a miscarriage.
Dill may cause allergic reactions in people who are allergic to plants in the carrot family. Some of these include asafoetida, caraway, celery, coriander, and fennel.
This infusion might interact with medications for diabetes. Consult your doctor before using.
There is concern that using infusion with dill might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery.
Valerian root may cause mental sluggishness and headaches, as well as other symptoms like uneasiness and excitability. However, these issues seem mostly related to high-dose or long-term usage of this herb.
As with other herbs, caution should be taken when used alongside other substances and medications.
What are the treatments?
If your doctor discovers that one or more of your arteries is blocked, lifestyle changes may not be enough. So, what are the options?
There is a variety of medications and treatments available to slow down the process and prevent it from worsening, up to and including surgery.
A number of medications like cholesterol-lowering, blood pressure-lowering, or blood-thinning drugs may help control some of the factors that contribute to the accumulation of arterial plaque. Your doctor can prescribe the right one for you based on your health history and test results.
According to a study by the University of Washington researchers, treatment with a combination of statin and niacin can slash the risk of a fatal or non-fatal heart attack or hospitalization for chest pain by 70 percent among patients who are likely to suffer heart attacks and/or death from coronary heart disease.
Some heart disease patients also seek out chelation therapy using disodium EDTA (ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid), a controversial complementary health approach. In 2002, the National Institutes of Health did a big study on chelation therapy called TACT. It found that this treatment somewhat reduced the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other heart problems. But it only worked in people with diabetes. The study did not find enough proof that it treats heart disease. And so far, the FDA has not approved this treatment for the condition.
In severe cases, your doctor may suggest an invasive treatment to remove or bypass the blockages.
- Balloon angioplasty, where a small balloon is inflated in the artery to open the blocked area
- Laser angioplasty, where the clog is removed with a laser that vaporizes the blockage
- Atherectomy, where tiny amounts of the blockage are shaved off to open the vessel
- Stent placement, where tiny pieces of mesh coil are inserted to open the artery and improve blood flow
Once you have had a clog removed or reduced, it is important you do everything you can to prevent more plaque buildup so you can lead a longer, healthier life.
Is it possible to reverse the hardening of the arteries?
Technically, the hardening of the arteries is known to be not possible to reverse. At least at the moment. However…
Dr. Park says preliminary research shows that a complete vegan diet might reverse heart disease. Because a strict vegan diet is challenging to stick with, he suggests coupling lower-fat, Mediterranean-style eating with medication to keep plaque from continuing to build.
Most people with coronary artery disease (CAD) benefit from taking statins, drugs that lower levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol in your blood. Well, by taking a lower-intensity statin along with a different type of cholesterol medication called a PCSK9 inhibitor, it might be possible to reverse CAD.
However, statins require taking a daily pill and PCSK9 inhibitors require one or two monthly subcutaneous injections. With the understanding that once these medications are prescribed, they are often a lifelong commitment. Recently, the first case of human PCSK9 gene-editing was reported. Ultimately, the long-term benefits of lowering apoB through a one-time treatment may make this not only a viable future option but potentially an intervention that could change preventive cardiovascular medicine. Unfortunately, this gene-editing therapy for lowering apoB is not expected to be available soon. It is still in the early stages of testing and needs to overcome potential barriers like risk assessment, the cost of these treatments that range from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, as well as the ethics of using gene-editing in other human tissues.
The next generation of drugs seems to go beyond cholesterol lowering in order to address the immune reaction to accumulated cholesterol. A certain immune reaction is a key to reversing a disease that gradually blocks arteries instead of atherosclerosis as cholesterol-lowering drugs do.
Partial reversal of atherosclerosis has been demonstrated unequivocally with the use of intravascular ultrasound.
Researchers also have proposed a unique study in humans to reduce the early onset of atherosclerosis by reducing apolipoprotein B, also called apo B lipoproteins, in young and middle-aged adults. The method using nanoparticles designed to deliver plaque-busting drugs to specific cells in arteries is a new, cellular-level approach to removing plaque build-up in the arteries. According to scientists, it could eventually lead to a cure for the chronic disease known as atherosclerosis.
In the war against atherosclerosis, we perhaps find ourselves at the turning point that Sir Winston Churchill recognized during the conduct of the Second World War when he stated, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
Emerging Anti-Atherosclerotic Therapies
Novel Anti-Atherosclerotic Therapies
Herbal Medicine for the Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease Clinical Considerations
The prevention and regression of atherosclerotic plaques: emerging treatments
Anti-inflammatory therapies for atherosclerosis
Anti-inflammatory Therapy for Coronary Atherosclerotic Heart Disease: Unanswered Questions Behind Existing Successes
What is next?
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