With a focus on HEART HEALTH in September, I would like to take a look at the primary cause of the heart & vascular disease process namely ATHEROSCLEROSIS.
What is Atherosclerosis?
Atherosclerosis is the narrowing of arteries due to “plaque buildup” on the artery walls. Arteries carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body. They are lined with a thin layer of cells that keeps them smooth and allows blood to flow easily. This is called the endothelium. Atherosclerosis begins when the endothelium becomes damaged, allowing the harmful
How Do the Arteries Get Damaged?
High levels of inflammation, generally caused through acidity levels in the body based on a poor diet, stress and toxin loads. Metabolic Syndrome ….is a major contributing factor as it is associated with the consumption of processed carbohydrates, causing permanent glucose overload. This leads to an overproduction of insulin – ultimately leading to INSULIN RESISTANCE. These raised levels of insulin create a constantly raised level of inflammation in the body ultimately manifesting in inflammatory responses = ATHEROSCLEROSIS. (simply put)
How Does The Body Try To Rectify This?
The body sends a type of white blood cell to clean up this damaged area, but, sometimes, the cells get stuck at the affected site. Over time, plaque can build up, made of cholesterol, macrophages, calcium and other substances from the blood. Sometimes, the plaque grows to a certain size and stops growing, causing the individual no problems. However, sometimes, the plaque clogs up the artery, disrupting the flow of blood around the body. This makes blood clots more likely, which can result in life-threatening conditions – Heart attack and stroke.
A plaque deposit is characteristically composed of:
• 68% fibrous repair tissue; 8% Calcium; 7% Inflammatory Cells; 1 % Foam Cells; 16% lipid-rich necrotic core(Kragel et al 1989);
74% of all fats in the core are Unsaturated (Enig 2000);
Fats & Cholesterol in the plaque are chemically damaged & oxidized…
Is Cholesterol All Bad?
Cholesterol is the most misunderstood substance in all history of health care. Cholesterol is the stuff of life and we should be very careful when altering its biochemistry. Never in the history of health care has a substance been so demonized as cholesterol. It is synonymous with everything that is bad to your health when is actually — good. The bad guy is inflammation caused by terrible diet, sugars, and starchy foods. Cholesterol is not the cause of health problems; it is just around when problems happen.
Cholesterol performs “Important” functions
- Helps to make the outer coating of cells and support both cell creation and maintenance.
- Makes up bile salts * acids that aid digestion and vitamin absorption in the intestines.
- Is responsible for vitamin D production and hormonal production like testosterone and estrogen.
- Forms part of the Myelin sheath that protects out nerve fibers.
- Plays an essential role in cognitive function, assisting the memory development for
Without cholesterol none of these primary functions could occur and we as humans would simply not be here.
Should You Be On Statins to Treat High Cholesterol?
Statin therapy has shown to have huge implications and alter your body in profound and permanent ways. Statins should only be used as a last resort but in health care today, statins are prescribed to just about everyone. Even children and people who are not at risk for heart disease are prescribed statins as a prophylactic.
BALANCED HEALING can provide support and guide you with Healthy Lifestyle Choices.
Next week our blog post will discuss in more depth what the healthy lifestyle choices are and dispel certain myths about dieting.