Prevention of atherosclerosis
Almost more important than treating arteriosclerosis (Vascular calcification) it must be avoided that arteriosclerotic changes occur in the body. Although there is a natural, steadily increasing thickening of the vascular wall with age, which cannot be stopped, an appropriate lifestyle can prevent the vascular lumen from narrowing even further. Patients with diabetes mellitus must be treated so that their blood sugar levels are as constant as possible. High blood pressure must be adequately controlled and blood pressure peaks avoided. High fat and high cholesterol diets should be reduced
Smoking is one of the main risk factors for arteriosclerosis. Furthermore, when preventing arteriosclerosis, sufficient exercise and sport should be ensured. Patients who have recurring cases of atherosclerosis in their families belong to the main risk group and should be examined by a doctor as a precautionary measure.
A genetic test can also be carried out here and it can be shown whether a rare hereditary disease with high cholesterol levels is the cause. In general, it is true of prevention that a stressful life situation should be reduced. Obesity should also be avoided. Chronic kidney failure should be avoided, as this promotes the development of arteriosclerotic changes (vascular glazing). Furthermore, an overactive thyroid (Hyperthyroidism) can also be avoided. Gout is also seen as a risk factor for vascular calcification (arteriosclerosis) and should be avoided or treated as much as possible.
Find out more about the topic here: Risk factors of arteriosclerosis
Less meat and animal fats (except fish)
Switch to vegetable fats
Abstaining from alcohol
Sport / exercise
Atherosclerosis develops in everyone with age. However, when it occurs depends heavily on how the individual diets. This generally includes a balanced diet, which can be achieved, for example, through a Mediterranean diet. With fish and various nuts, it mainly contains the healthy fatty acids. In contrast to the saturated fatty acids, which are mainly found in meat, they promote a healthy fat metabolism.
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- The diet in atherosclerosis
Bad cholesterol (LDL) is lowered and good cholesterol (HDL) is increased. This combination has a protective effect on the vascular system by reducing the amount of fatty deposits on the vascular walls. In addition, the Mediterranean diet contains a lot of vegetables, which contribute to general health through their fiber. A low-salt diet is also important in terms of preventing atherosclerosis. Food rich in salt leads to high blood pressure in the long run. This changes the blood flow in the vessels, and at the same time the wall of the vessels is also remodeled to withstand this blood flow. This leads to increased wall thickening, which in turn favors plaques (calcium deposits).
Read more on the topic: Diet for heart disease
Can Vitamins Help?
In addition to other positive effects on the body, vitamins can also have a preventive effect against arteriosclerosis. Especially vitamins C and E and beta-carotene have an antioxidant effect. Cells that have a high metabolic activity, such as stressed cells in the vessel walls, release aggressive substances that can weaken and damage other cells. The antioxidants in vitamins C and E intercept these damaging substances.
Instead of causing damage to other cells, they bind to the antioxidant substances in the vitamins. In this way, these vitamins can prevent the formation of arteriosclerosis. The vitamin C requirement of an adult can easily be achieved with regular consumption of fruit. Beta-carotene and vitamin E can also be consumed in sufficient quantities through around 250g of vegetables per day.
Sport has a number of ways of preventing arteriosclerosis. Physical activity, especially endurance sports, strengthens the entire cardiovascular system. Endurance sports such as cycling, jogging, walking and swimming are much more effective than weight training. Exercise lowers blood pressure in the long term and increases the performance of the heart. This means that a larger amount of blood can be pumped into the circulation with each heartbeat, so the heart rate is also reduced in the long term. In addition, many small new blood vessels form, especially in the muscles, which lead to better blood flow and provide better protection against circulatory disorders caused by arteriosclerosis.
Frequent physical activity also reduces the risk of obesity (obesity). This improves the blood lipid levels in particular, which in turn has a positive effect on the blood vessels. A low cholesterol level means that there are fewer plaques that adhere to the vessel walls, so there is less arteriosclerosis. Relaxation techniques such as yoga are also becoming increasingly important for the risk of arteriosclerosis. Similar to meditation and mindfulness exercises, these sports have a positive effect on the stress level of the body. This lowers blood pressure and heart rate, which in turn has a cardioprotective effect (protective of the cardiovascular system).
To prevent arteriosclerosis, two major groups of drugs are used. One is the cholesterol-lowering drugs, which are supposed to reduce blood lipid levels and thus prevent calcium deposits (plaques) in the blood vessels. The other is the large group of antihypertensive drugs. If the blood pressure is too high, the flow speed in the vessels changes, causing turbulence. In the long run, this leads to structural changes in the vessel walls, which in turn favor arteriosclerotic plaques. Antihypertensive drugs or water tablets reduce blood pressure and thus prevent flow changes and their consequences with regard to arteriosclerosis.
Read more on the topic: Medicines for circulatory disorders
Cholesterol lowering drugs
Cholesterol-lowering drugs are primarily used when a lifestyle change, i.e. a change in diet and a regular exercise program, do not achieve the desired results or are not (cannot) carried out sufficiently by the affected person. Thus, they serve to reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis after non-drug therapy attempts have been classified as not effective enough. The most commonly used class of cholesterol lowering drugs are the so-called statins. These inhibit the formation of cholesterol in the body and so lead to a lower concentration of the “bad” cholesterol LDL in the blood.
These statins are used both for primary prevention, i.e. to prevent the formation of arteriosclerosis, and as secondary prevention, i.e. to reduce the risk of severe damage, if diseases associated with arteriosclerosis already exist. These diseases include peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAD), in which circulatory disorders occur primarily in the legs, and heart diseases such as coronary artery disease of the coronary arteries. Cholesterol-lowering drugs should not be taken during pregnancy. They can also cause liver and muscle damage as a side effect. In this case, too, the statins must be discontinued.
Also read: Can you cure arteriosclerosis?
Various homeopathic remedies can be used to prevent arteriosclerosis: Aurum iodatum and metallicum as well as Barium carbnicum and iodatum are most commonly used in arteriosclerosis. Schüssler salts can also have a preventive effect. These remedies should always be taken in consultation with a homeopath, and an exchange of information between the treating doctor and the responsible homeopath is important in order to achieve the best possible therapy.
Home remedies for atherosclerosis
If you want to work on yourself in addition to a low-fat Mediterranean diet and exercise to prevent arteriosclerosis, you can use other home remedies. Garlic is said to have a preventive effect, as is the edelweiss root extract. Regular fish consumption also has a positive effect on the risk of arteriosclerosis. Mistletoe and hawthorn preparations have a similar effect as edelweiss. Alternating baths for feet, legs or the whole body can strengthen the vascular system. As in the sauna, the abrupt change between hot and cold is important.
Can Garlic Help?
Garlic has a positive influence on the risk of arteriosclerosis through several mechanisms of action. On the one hand, the garlic prevents the platelets from sticking together. So it has a kind of blood-thinning effect. This lowers the risk of atherosclerosis because it reduces the number of blood clots. In addition, it can lower blood lipids, i.e. cholesterol (especially the bad LDL cholesterol) and triglycerol. At the same time the good cholesterol HDL is increased. Garlic is effective against arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Alcohol in very small amounts has a positive effect on the risk of arteriosclerosis due to its antioxidants. The substances contained can quasi trap degradation products of certain cells and thus prevent them from damaging the vessel walls. However, this protective effect only applies to the amount of around one glass of red wine per day for men and half a glass of red wine for women. On the other hand, alcohol consumption, which contains a higher amount of alcohol, has exactly the opposite effect. The ingredients damage the vessel walls and also have a negative effect on the liver cells.