Arteriosclerosis Natural Treatment & Best Home Remedies For Fast Relief
The aim of this article is to specify some natural treatment methods for arteriosclerosis, including the best home remedies. But, before that we shall take a look at what arteriosclerosis all about and how it happens.
What is arteriosclerosis?
Etymologically, arteriosclerosis is a combination of two words: arterio-, meaning relating to the arteries (blood vessels that convey blood from the heart to other parts of the body), and sclerosis, which is an abnormal hardening or thickening of soft tissues.
From, the above analysis, we can define arteriosclerosis as a medical condition in which the walls of the arteries begin to get thick or hard, thus making blood flow difficult through the affected arteries. As a result of the restriction in blood circulation, organs in the body become affected as sufficient blood is not able to reach them.
NOTE: It is important to state here, that, arteriosclerosis is slightly different from atherosclerosis, even though both have to do with hardening of the arteries and are most times used interchangeably. The difference is in the fact that atherosclerosis is an advanced form of arteriosclerosis whereby atheromas (abnormal fatty deposits) are found in the inner layers (TUNICA INTIMA) of the arteries. The presence of atheromas inside the arteries results in a constriction of the arteries.
Types of arteriosclerosis
There are three major forms of arteriosclerosis, namely:
- Arteriolar sclerosis or arteriosclerosis: This is a form of arteriosclerosis that affects an arteriole – any of the small arteries in the body with thin walls. Here, the arteriole becomes thickened and narrow, limiting blood flow.
- Atherosclerosis: This is the most common form of arteriosclerosis. As previously mentioned, atherosclerosis occurs when atheromas form inside the arteries, leading to a narrowing of the arteries.
- Monckeberg medial calcific sclerosis: This is the third and least common type of arteriosclerosis. This type of arteriosclerosis is marked by calcium (calcific) deposits in the middle layer (TUNICA MEDIA) of the arteries. Monckeberg medial calcific sclerosis usually affects people above 50 years of age. This type of arteriosclerosis does not usually lead to heart attacks like the other two.
Having an understanding of the three major types of arteriosclerosis, you also need to have it in mind that a person can be affected by all three types at the same time. In such a case, the different forms of the disease are found in different blood vessels.
Causes of arteriosclerosis
The exact cause of arteriosclerosis remains unclear; however, the condition begins when the endothelium – the inner linings of the arteries – gets damaged. This damage may be as a result of various causes, such as smoking or high cholesterol levels in the blood.
Risk factors for arteriosclerosis
We have already established the fact that arteriosclerosis begins with a breakdown of the endothelium, which may be caused by various factors. With that said, the following are some of the major factors that increase the risk of developing arteriosclerosis:
- Diabetes: Diabetes is the leading risk factor for arteriosclerosis. Based on research, diabetic people are at a high risk of developing arteriosclerosis.
- Unhealthy dieting: Eating foods with high-fat content can increase the risk of developing arteriosclerosis. Also, eating foods that are high in salt and sugar is an easy way of introducing arteriosclerosis.
- High cholesterol levels: Excess cholesterol in the blood is dangerous to the body, especially the heart and the blood vessels. High cholesterol levels in the body can cause arteriosclerosis because they clog the arteries by forming plaques over time.
- Age: As with several other medical conditions, age is an important factor when it comes to arteriosclerosis. The risk of developing the condition increases as a person grows older; persons above 40 years of age have a 50% chance of getting the disease, while those above 60 are at a higher risk. Aging causes a weakening of the blood vessels, especially the arteries. And although the symptoms of the disease become noticeable as one grows older, studies have found that arteriosclerosis begins to develop from a young age. Hence, younger people can develop arteriosclerosis without conspicuous symptoms.
- Stress: According to reports from various studies, long-term stress can also contribute to arteriosclerosis. This is because during stress, the body releases cortisol, which when it becomes excess increases blood pressure, body fat, and blood cholesterol. Moreover, prolonged stress contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries.
- Excess alcohol: Excessive consumption of alcohol has far-reaching effects on the body, including heart health. Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol does not have any serious effect on the heart. However, regular intake of alcoholic drinks above the recommended amount can lead to hypertension, which, in turn leads to arteriosclerosis.
- Obesity: Obesity is a term that describes when a person has excess fat in his/her body. This excessive fatness makes it easy for atheromas to be formed, as well as fibrosis in the arteries. Therefore, obese people have a high risk of getting arteriosclerosis than normal-weight persons.
- Family history: Genetics is another factor that contributes to arteriosclerosis. Arteriosclerosis can be inherited from parents, according to research. People who have a family member with the disease may develop it later on as they grow. Hence, it is important that you visit a medical doctor if you have a family history of arteriosclerosis.
- Smoking: Apart from diabetes, smoking is the biggest factor that increases the risk of developing arteriosclerosis. This is because tobacco found in cigarette and other tobacco products cause damage to the arteries and veins.
- Living a sedentary lifestyle: Like with most other heart-related diseases, the risk of arteriosclerosis may increase if a person takes to a sedentary lifestyle or does not exercise regularly.
- High blood pressure: Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is another risk factor for arteriosclerosis. Due to the high pressure on blood vessels, they become weak over time. As a result, the arteries lose their elasticity and become prone to accumulation of plaque.
- Race: Although there is limited research on the relationship between racial background and arteriosclerosis, few preliminary results indicate that people from an African or South Asian lineage are more susceptible to develop arteriosclerosis than individuals from other races.
Symptoms of arteriosclerosis
Arteriosclerosis is regarded to be a long-term condition, i.e. it begins from childhood and progresses as a person grows older. Thus, at the early and mid stages, arteriosclerosis usually does not show any noticeable symptoms. The symptoms of arteriosclerosis only begin to be noticed when the arteries get blocked to the extent that blood supply to an organ is almost completely cutoff.
Also, symptoms of the disease will also depend on the location of the affected arteries. That said, the following are symptoms of arteriosclerosis, based on the type of arteries affected:
Carotid arteries (arteries providing blood to the brain)
- Weakness of the leg muscles due to poor blood circulation
- Numbness or drooping of the facial muscles
- Difficulty breathing
Coronary arteries (arteries of the heart)
- Angina or chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Renal arteries (arteries supplying blood to the kidneys)
- Confusion or inability to concentrate
- Loss of appetite
- Hands and feet getting swollen
- Kidney failure
Diagnosis of arteriosclerosis
As with many other medical conditions, early diagnosis will help to prevent the complications that arise from arteriosclerosis. Knowledge of the symptoms of the disease and a visit to the doctor will help in properly diagnosing the arteriosclerosis.
That said, diagnosis for arteriosclerosis involves various tests and scans, including blood tests and CT or ultrasound scans. Other tests used for diagnosing the disease are EKG (electrocardiogram) test, ankle brachial index test, and stress testing.
Diagnosis of arteriosclerosis usually depends on the possible location of the symptoms of the disease. The diagnosis begins with the doctor doing a physical examination of the probable site of arteriosclerosis and/or symptoms location. Along with the physical examination, the doctor will also ask you some personal questions such as your family health history, age, lifestyle, and others.
Home remedies for arteriosclerosis
There are various conventional treatment options for arteriosclerosis, including surgery. However, the most effective way of dealing with and preventing this disease is through a combination of lifestyle changes and management of the manageable risk factors.
The following are some herbal remedies and lifestyle changes that can help in reversing, as well as in preventing arteriosclerosis.
- Artichoke extract: Artichoke leaf extract (ALE) can be used in combating arteriosclerosis. ALE works by increasing the good cholesterol (HDL) levels and reducing the bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in the body.
- Fish oil: Fish oil is one of the best sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These type of fats are healthy because they help in regulating the blood cholesterol levels, as well as in preventing plaque buildup in the arteries. So, adding more fish oil to your daily diet is an effective way of not only reversing arteriosclerosis, but also in preventing the disease.
- Hawthorn: Based on a 2009 study conducted on animals, hawthorn was found to help in reducing fat in the blood and in preventing atherosclerosis. Hawthorn is also helpful here because of its antioxidant properties for prevention of plaque formation in the arteries.
- Spinach: Spinach has the ability to lower blood pressure by suppressing the activities of a particular type of enzyme. Besides this, spinach plant is rich in several minerals like manganese and selenium, and anti-inflammatory chemicals that are beneficial in reducing arteriosclerosis.
- Beans: Beans is a good source of potassium, which is an essential body mineral. Potassium is helpful in lowering blood pressure by causing vasodilation (dilation or widening of the blood vessels), thus, improving blood flow and cardiovascular health.
- Salmon: Salmon fishes are healthy alternatives to meat. This is because salmon is rich in several beneficial body nutrients like potassium. Moreover, salmon contains healthy amounts of cholesterol – good and bad cholesterol.
- Turmeric: Curcumin present in turmeric has been found to be highly effective in combating oxidation, which causes damage to the endothelium. Furthermore, turmeric helps in lowering cholesterol levels in the blood, and in reducing blood clots.
- Garlic: Garlic’s natural healing abilities also extend to arteriosclerosis. Allicin present in garlic has been found to have cholesterol-lowering properties. Also, consumption of garlic has been shown to help in lowering body triglycerides, which is important for halting plaque formation in the arteries. Apart from these, garlic contains compounds that help in inhibiting cell oxidation in the arteries, as well as in dissolving blood clots.
- Ginger: Like most other herbs, ginger helps in fighting arteriosclerosis by reducing bad cholesterol levels and in lowering blood pressure.
- Green tea: The antioxidants present in ginger tea help in combating free radicals in the body which are linked to many health problems. In addition, green tea has polyphenols, which play a role in the prevention of cholesterol entry into the intestines.
- Exercise more: We have already stated that a sedentary lifestyle is one of the major contributing factors to the development of arteriosclerosis. A sedentary lifestyle has to do with little or no activity, with the person sitting or lying down most of the time. Exercising regularly or increased physical activity is an antidote for this problem.
- Reduce your stress levels: High stress levels in the body are responsible for several health problems, especially heart-related conditions like arteriosclerosis. Stress buildup happens due to various lifestyle factors such as inadequate sleep and depression. You can reduce stress by a change in lifestyle, massage, exercise, aromatherapy, etc.
- Yoga: Yoga is one method of reducing stress in the body, which is a major risk factor of the arteriosclerosis. A not-so-recent study done in 2000 showed that participants who had arteriosclerosis experienced some improvement in their condition, as the progression of the disease was significantly slowed down.
- Eat more fiber-rich foods: High-fiber foods like berries, vegetables, and whole grains should be increased when a person has arteriosclerosis. This is because such foods help in combating free body radicals in the body, as well as in preventing cholesterol absorption in the alimentary canal.
- Use essential oils: Essential oils like eucalyptus essential oil and thyme essential oil can help in combating arteriosclerosis. This is because the oils have anti-inflammatory properties that help in reducing swelling in the arteries. Essential oils are also used in aromatherapy for reducing stress – a major contributor to arteriosclerosis.
- Parsley: Parsley helps in arteriosclerosis treatment by strengthening the walls of blood vessels and in maintaining heart health.
- Honey: Honey is good for heart health, as it helps in promoting a proper functioning of the organ. Taking a teaspoon of honey first thing in the morning will help in treating the symptoms of arteriosclerosis.
- Cut down on processed foods and meat: Unhealthy dieting is a major contributor to the risk of developing arteriosclerosis. This includes eating too much processed foods and meat instead of fresh organic foods. Many of the processed foods in the market have unhealthy fats, which are harmful to overall body health. Thus, cutting down on the consumption of such foods is a natural way of preventing and reversing arteriosclerosis.
- Quit smoking: Smoking is the second leading risk contributor to arteriosclerosis, as previously mentioned. And besides causing damage to the heart and blood vessels, smoking is harmful to the lungs. In all, cutting down on smoking, or complete avoidance of the habit is a natural and effective way of reversing arteriosclerosis.