Atherosclerosis

heart health natural medicine st clair west torontoWhat is atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis, also known as hardening of the arteries or coronary artery disease (CAD), is thought to occur when the inner lining of your coronary (heart) arteries become damaged.  Your body responds by depositing fat, cholesterol, and other substances along the lining of the arterial wall in an effort to repair the damage.  This build-up in the walls of your coronary arteries forms hard substances called plaques, which gradually grow over time, slowly decreasing the amount of blood that can flow to your heart.  If the blood flow to your heart is completely blocked off, a heart attack (myocardial infarction) occurs, causing damage to your heart muscle.

Damage to your coronary arterial walls can begin as early as childhood.  After years of cigarette smoking, stress, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and a predisposition to CAD, your heart may become diseased.  Unfortunately, symptoms such as angina (chest pain) or shortness of breath are not felt until your arteries have become quite narrow due to plaque build-up.  Prevention is the best way to deal with heart disease, but if it is too late for that for you there are ways to manage atherosclerosis.

Tests for CAD include a simple physical exam with a stethoscope, whereby your physician can listen for irregularities in your heart's blood vessels.  Further testing may include ultrasound, MRI, CT scans, or X-rays.  Conventional treatment may include diet modification, quitting smoking, and exercise (such as yoga).  Drugs to lower cholesterol and high blood pressure may be appropriate, and low-dose aspirin or other blood-thinning medication may be prescribed to help prevent blood clots.  Angina is often treated with nitroglycerin.  Of course, surgery is required in severe cases where blood flow to the heart is extremely compromised.

How can natural therapies help with atherosclerosis?

In addition to the diet modification (such as a reduction in fatty foods, adding fibre, green tea and much more), plus exercise such as yoga, acupuncture and TCM can help to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and much more to help manage and prevent heart disease.  Massage therapy is also excellent for reducing stress levels.

Contact us for a FREE consultation on how natural therapy can help you improve your health and manage your atherosclerosis.

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