What is Atherosclerosis?

by Webmaster, All4NaturalHealth.com

What is atherosclerosis? This is a condition whereby the arteries "harden" due to excess cholesterol and calcium which are deposited along the walls of major blood vessels in the body.

It is one of the major killers of men aged above 35 and all persons above 45, at the time of writing even the number one killer in the Western modern world, as it contributes to the occurrence of heart attacks and strokes.

When atherosclerosis affects the arteries which bring blood to the heart, it is called coronary artery disease. When atherosclerosis hits the arteries which bring blood to the legs, it can cause painful episodes in the legs after simply walking for short distances; this condition is referred to as intermittent claudication.

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A note about What is Atherosclerosis?

In natural health and healing, we believe in holistic health and healing, as we realize that different parts of the human body are highly interlinked, often beyond Man's understanding. We also believe that the body has the ability to heal itself of any disease, even supposedly incurable diseases.

In order to do so, the body needs the support of some basic dietary and lifestyle good health habits, such as a full body detox and a proper understanding and application of nutrition. No matter how remote or unrelated a health condition may seem, these fundamental health steps will greatly magnify the effects and benefits of any of our health-promoting efforts, including the use of specific natural health remedies.

In considering what is atherosclerosis, it would be interesting to note that this condition is sometimes referred to as a precursor to cardiovascular disease.

Development of atherosclerosis

What is atherosclerosis and how does it come about?

The initiation and subsequent development of atherosclerosis is a process which is supposedly not well understood yet. One possible line of understanding is as described.

It is theorized that atherosclerosis begins when the arterial linings are damaged. Offending substances such as free radicals, nicotine and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the supposed "bad" cholesterol) are possible causes of such damage, which explains why persons who have high cholesterol levels or who smoke are at higher risk of getting this disease.

Further, people with hypertension or high blood pressure are also at higher risk, and this could be down to the fact that increased blood pressure places more stress on the arterial walls.

After the damage, it is believed that cholesterol and other fatty deposits then begin to build up at the arterial linings; exactly why, is something which is not actually clear. Platelets then "join in", and they give out substances which cause fibrous tissue to form. The result is then the thickening of the arterial walls, or what is commonly referred to as the "hardening" of the walls.

As the walls of the arteries become increasingly thick, it narrows the area available for blood to flow through. When blockage reaches a significant level, possibly about three quarters of its original cross-sectional area, angina, or chest pains, will begin to develop. This, of course, takes place when the arteries bringing blood to the heart are affected. When the arteries bringing blood to the lower extremities are affected, intermittent claudication results.

Blood vessels which are affected by atherosclerosis become increasingly blocked. They are also relatively weaker, and are more likely to burst. These are dangerous risk factors for strokes and heart attacks. Throw in high blood pressure, and we have got a dangerous time bomb ticking.

For a better understanding of what is atherosclerosis, read the other related atherosclerosis pages.

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