Over time, plaques of fats can clog the arteries. They can solidify and pose fatal risks over time. When these dangers become critical, surgery is necessary.
Fortunately, there are ways to stop cholesterol buildup. This article will discuss lifestyle strategies and medications which can enhance the health of your heart and arteries.
Before diving deeper into this critical issue, it is vital to understand how the circulatory system works.
Our blood travels through arteries, veins, and capillaries. These extensive connections provide cells and organs with oxygen and nutrients. In turn, the blood carries the carbon dioxide and waste products that they release.
Blood can flow naturally within the blood vessels if there are no obstacles. So blockages are very problematic. When cholesterol sticks into the arteries, this can solidify and make the passage of blood narrower.
As the immune system detects this disturbance, it deploys white blood cells against the cholesterol buildup. Unfortunately, this creates an inflammation that can block blood flow. This reaction results in a heart attack.
At present, there is no cure for clogged arteries. But there are ways to control their buildup and formation.
Should you be concerned about having blocked arteries? Of course. This health issue can be deadly and expensive. But if you have any of the following risk factors, you should do something about your cardiovascular health right now.
- Smoking cigarettes, cigars, or tobacco;
- Having hypertension or high blood pressure;
- Diabetes and issues with insulin;
- Being overweight or obese;
- Sedentary lifestyle or lack of fitness;
- High levels of bad cholesterol; and
- Consuming unhealthy foods and diets.
If you find yourself on this brief list, then you might be at risk of plaques.
Atherosclerosis, the formation of plaque in the arteries, is one of the most common diseases worldwide. This plaque comes from fat, cholesterol, and solid waste from cells.
As plaque solidifies on arterial walls, the space within vessels will become tighter. This disease can eventually cause heart attacks, cardiac arrest, or stroke.
Some maintenance treatments and medications can help clear the arteries, but they come with side effects in other organs. Because of this, prevention remains the best treatment.
It is easier and cheaper to prevent plaque buildup than face its deadly risks.
The heavier you are, the greater your risk is for atherosclerosis and coronary disease. Because of this, overweight and obese people suffer from these conditions.
Cardiovascular exercise does not only help reduce weight—it can improve heart health and prolong our lives.
Harvard Medical School reports that exercise can promote good cholesterol and decrease blood pressure. Working out can also burn body fats and blood sugar.
Because of this, Harvard recommends at least six hours of moderate aerobic exercise every week. These activities include running, cycling, jogging, and swimming.
If you want to start an active lifestyle, you may do so gradually. Walking is an effective place to start. Then, establish your routine and strive to improve your stamina. It is wise to consult a doctor before starting a fitness plan.
Out of all dietary fats, trans fats are the worst for health. These chemicals contain LDL or “bad” cholesterol that solidifies inside the arteries and turns into plaque.
Trans fats lie in processed meat, fast food, cakes, sweets, pastries, biscuits, and hydrogenated oils. Meanwhile, saturated fats abound in beef, pork, dairy products, and palm oil.
Physicians also discourage the public from consuming too many saturated fats. Like trans fats, foods with this type of fats contain “bad” cholesterol.
One should consider reducing these from his diet, especially if he is prone to high blood pressure and heart diseases.
Studies and research show that reducing intake of such fats lessens the risk of cardiovascular diseases, including plaques.
Instead of eating sources of bad cholesterol, one should consume sources of unsaturated fats. These have HDL or “good” cholesterol that can remove fats from the arteries before plaques form.
The American Heart Association recommends avocados, olives, and walnuts. Fatty fish like tuna and salmon are rich in Omega 3, an acid that can help break down fats in the heart and bloodstream.
The association also encourages us to eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, chicken meat, and low-fat products to fight bad cholesterol and blocked arteries. On the other hand, we should avoid red meat and beverages with too much sugar.
Aside from monitoring your fats intake, you should also eat foods that promote cardiovascular health. Such diets can strengthen your heart and control plaque buildup.
Try focusing on plant-based foods, antioxidant fruits, and fiber-rich vegetables. These include cashews, beans, lentils, strawberries, almonds, peanuts, spinach, tomatoes, pumpkins, seeds, and garlic.
Smoking is a deadly vice. It harms all the organs of the human body, including the heart and the arteries. The American Heart Association says that tobacco can promote bad cholesterol, enlarge plaques of fats, damage blood vessels.
If you are a smoker and you want to stop, many resources are available online. You can also ask your doctor or a therapist for guidance.
Excessive alcohol drinking may also make plaque buildup worse. Although some research indicates that moderate drinking can be beneficial, this is not a good reason to start drinking.
After all, there are other proven ways to promote cardiovascular health.
If plaque formation has already progressed, a doctor may already resort to medication. This treatment may help control plaque formation and the levels of bad cholesterol.
You must not neglect to take your medications if you have such prescriptions. Most importantly, continue to lead a healthy lifestyle to make it effective.