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Arteriosclerosis

  • Hardening of the Arteries



  • Definition

    A term applied to a number of pathological conditions in which there is thickening, hardening, and loss of elasticity of the walls of arteries. This results in altered function of tissues and organs.


    Causes

    Cause is unknown. Aging, altered lipid metabolism, and other factors including gender, the environment, psychological, physiological, as well as genetic influences are thought to be important in determining an individual's chances of developing arteriosclerosis. Some risk factors include: hypertension; increased blood lipids, particularly cholesterol and triglycerides; obesity; cigarette smoking; diabetes mellitus; inability to cope with stress; family history of early-onset atherosclerosis; physical inactivity; and the male sex (at ages 35-44, the death rate for white males is 6 times that of white females).

    1. Cigarette smoking
    2. Lack of proper exercise
    3. Emotional stress
    4. Obesity
    5. A diet high in saturated fatty acids
    6. Heredity
    7. Coffee drinking, which has recently been found to elevate blood cholesterol levels
    8. Sugar - high intake of sucrose
    9. Diabetes
    10. Age and sex - higher cholesterol levels are found in males and older people
    11. High blood pressure


    Symptoms

    Arteriosclerosis (build-up of calcium on the inside of artery walls) and atherosclerosis (deposits of fatty substances) have about the same effect on circulation. Either condition causes strokes, coronary disease (angina), and high blood pressure. High blood pressure can also cause arteriosclerosis. Narrowing of the arteries forces blood pressure that is already high to become even higher. As the arteries become less pliable and less permeable, cell starvation results due to insufficient circulation in the cells. An individual will suffer a heart attack, also referred to as a myocardial infarction (MI) or coronary occlusion (a coronary), when one of the coronary arteries becomes completely obstructed by accumulated deposits or by a blood clot that has either formed or been snagged on the deposit. Older people are at greater risk for this kind of heart trouble. When arteriosclerosis occludes the arterial supply of blood to the brain, a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), or stroke occurs.

    Arteriosclerosis obliterans occurs when the lower limbs are affected, in the early stages, the major arteries that carry blood to the legs and the feet become narrowed by fatty deposits. Then problems with aching muscles, fatigue, and cramp-like pains in the ankles and legs occur. Depending on which arteries are blocked, the pain may also be in the hips and thighs. Leg pain brought on by walking that is promptly relieved by sitting is called claudication (lameness, limping). Additional symptoms include numbness, weakness, and a heavy feeling in the legs. These symptoms occur when the arteries are clogged with cholesterol plaque. Pain is experienced if the amount of oxygenated blood is insufficient to meet the needs of the exercising leg muscles.


    Treatment

    Regular exercise; diet low in saturated fatty acids; minimal use of tobacco; general moderation in all things to reduce or avoid stress; therapy for treatable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension if any of these are present.
    Herbal Medicine Formulas and Recipes
    Folk Medicine Formulas
    Chinese Formulas
    Ayurvedic Formulas


    Nutrients

    Lecithin, 2 capsules taken with meals. Garlic tablets, taken as directed on the label, has a lipid (fat) regulating effect. Multidigestive enzymes, taken with meals, is important for proper digestion. Selenium, 200 mcg. daily, promotes action of vitamin E. Vitamin A and E emulsion (or multivitamin and mineral), 25,000 IU vitamin A; 400-1,000 IU vitamin E; (increase slowly), are antioxidants that act as free radical scavengers. Vitamin C (buffered), 6,000-10,000 mg. in daily divided doses. Coenzyme Q10, 100 mg. per day, improves tissue oxygenation. Germanium, 200 mg. per day, lowers cholesterol and improves cellular oxygenation. Lipotropic factors, use as directed on the label, reduces lipid (fat) content of blood. Phosphatidyl choline is best because it is strongest. Calcium, 1,500 mg. per day (use chelate or asporotate). Magnesium, 750 mg. per day. Vitamin B complex, 100 mg. 3 times per day, B3 dilates the small arteries. Zinc chelate, 50 mg. per day, aids in cleansing and in the healing process. Copper chelate, 3 mg. per day.


    Herbs

  • TB
    • Angelica
    • Arnica
    • Black Haw
    • Carrot, wild
    • Cayenne
    • Chamomile
    • Chestnut
    • Chickweed herb
    • Corn silk
    • Dock, yellow (root)
    • Garlic
    • Ginkgo bilboa extract
    • Ginseng, Siberian (Wu-chia-p'i)
    • Hawthorn berries
    • Licorice
    • Life everlasting
    • Marsh mallow root
    • Mistletoe twigs
    • Mormon tea
    • Moschus
    • Nutmeg
    • Olive
    • Onion
    • Periwinkle, greater
    • Rue
    • Sassafras root
    • Shepherd's purse
    • Solomon's seal
    • Sundew, round-leaved
    • Watercress


    Recommendations

    Anticoagulants such as aspirin are given to thin the blood and prevent clotting. For effective anticoagulation, the supplement vitamin K and foods rich in vitamin K must be avoided. Foods such as: alfalfa, broccoli, cauliflower, egg yolks, liver, spinach, and all dark green vegetables. To enhance the effect of the anticoagulants, add to the diet more of the following: vitamin E, soybeans, and sunflower seeds. Drink distilled water only. The diet should not contain any red meat. Avoid white flour, white sugar, and salt. Do not use stimulants such as coffee, colas, and tobacco; also eliminate alcohol and highly spiced foods. Increase the amount of fiber in the diet. Drink steam-distilled water and use pure olive oil to aid in lowering cholesterol. Impotence can result from this disease.


    Suggestions

    A simple test can determine how well the blood is flowing through the arteries of the legs. There are three places on the lower leg where a pulsating artery can be felt by lightly touching the skin covering the artery. One spot is the top of the foot; the second spot is the inner aspect of the ankle; and the third spot is behind the knee. Apply pressure lightly to the skin on these spots where the pulsating artery can be felt. If you cannot find a pulse, it is an indication that the artery supplying the leg is narrowed. Special studies may be needed. Consult the doctor. Foods rich in vitamin E will help the problem. Vitamin E and vitamin C will enhance the oxygen supply in the bloodstream and in the red blood cells. It would be wise to add these supplements to the diet.

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