Posted on Leave a comment

Vascular Health – Arteriosclerosis / Atherosclerosis

Anyone at any age can be diagnosed with the beginning stages of Arteriosclerosis / Atherosclerosis, even children. The earlier it is detected, the less complicated it may be. Technology can be fascinating and useful in the right hands. As we learn what technology can do, we can change the outcome of our vascular health, young and old.

I get it, when we are young, we just don’t want to think about this stuff. But it matters. When we can learn about basic things like vascular health, we can increase our chances of a healthy long life to come. We don’t need to get obsessed, just proactive so we can get on with getting on!!

Children can be easily diagnosed with atherosclerosis, so can young people and middle-aged.

“Atherosclerosis is the pathological process in the coronary arteries, cerebral arteries, iliac and femoral arteries, and aorta that is responsible for coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, and peripheral arterial disease (PAD). It begins during childhood in the intima of the large elastic and muscular arteries with deposits of lipids… The lesions, called fatty streaks, produce only minimal intimal thickening and cause no disturbances in blood flow during early childhood, but they rapidly become more extensive during adolescence. In young adults, more lipid is deposited at some sites, and a core of lipid and necrotic debris becomes covered by a cap of smooth muscle and fibrous tissue. These changes produce elevated lesions called fibrous plaques that project into the lumen and begin to disturb blood flow.” ~ Chapter 19 Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Diseases

Atherosclerosis develops gradually. Mild atherosclerosis usually doesn’t have any symptoms.

“Although atherosclerosis manifests clinically in middle and late adulthood, it is well-known that it has a long asymptomatic phase of development, which begins early in life, often during childhood. In most children, atherosclerotic vascular changes are minor and can be minimized or prevented with a healthy lifestyle. However, in some children the process is accelerated because of risk factors or specific diseases. Identification of children who are at risk for atherosclerosis may allow early intervention to decrease the atherosclerotic process, preventing or delaying cardiovascular diseases (CVD), such as myocardial infarction, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.” ~ NCBI, Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Beginning in Childhood

Arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease is different than Atherosclerosis.

Arteriosclerosis occurs when the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body (arteries) become thick and stiff — sometimes restricting blood flow to your organs and tissues. Healthy arteries are flexible and elastic, but over time, the walls in your arteries can harden, a condition commonly called hardening of the arteries. 

Atherosclerosis is a specific type of arteriosclerosis, but the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Atherosclerosis refers to the buildup of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on your artery walls (plaque), which can restrict blood flow.

The plaque can burst, triggering a blood clot. Although atherosclerosis is often considered a heart problem, it can affect arteries anywhere in your body. Atherosclerosis may be preventable and is treatable.” ~ Mayo Clinic, Arteriosclerosis / Atherosclerosis

When atherosclerosis can be seen in every blood vessel in the body, it needs to be addressed.

“Atherosclerosis is a major cause of abdominal aortic aneurysm and is the most common kind of arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. This disease process can be seen in any blood vessel in the body and is the cause of coronary artery disease, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease (PAD).” ~ Frankel Cardiovascular Center, Arteriosclerotic Aortic Disease

Finding The Problem

The key is finding the problem before it becomes life-threatening. Imaging exists to find the problem.

“Atherosclerosis is characterized by thickening of the walls of the arteries, a process that occurs slowly and ‘silently’ over decades. This prolonged course of disease provides a window of opportunity for diagnosis before symptoms occur. But, until recently, only advanced atherosclerotic disease could be observed. Now, developments in imaging technology offer many enticing prospects, including detecting atherosclerosis early, grouping individuals by the probability that they will develop symptoms of atherosclerosis, assessing the results of treatment and improving the current understanding of the biology of atherosclerosis.”

Imaging of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease

Rising Above The Problem – Genetics / Epigenetics

Since we know that Arteriosclerotic and Atherosclerosis can be detected in young children, we need to be more pro-active. Testing and family history can help determine who is more likely to have life-threatening issues down the road.

Genetics play a factor but are not necessarily the determining factor. Learn about epigenetics. We can literally ‘rise above’ our genes, not turning on the switch that activates some disease. The younger one is, the greater the likelihood one can ‘rise above’ genetic sequence.

“The word ‘epigenetic’ literally means ‘in addition to changes in genetic sequence.’ The term has evolved to include any process that alters gene activity without changing the DNA sequence, and leads to modifications that can be transmitted to daughter cells (although experiments show that some epigenetic changes can be reversed).” ~ NCBI, Epigenetics: The Science of Change

If you have been diagnosed with a disease, there is always hope. “Epigenetic immune system effects occur, and can be reversed,” states Nilamadhab Mishra, 2005 issue of the Journal of Proteome Research.

Prevention Is Best Protection

Knowledge of our genetics plays a factor in this.

  • Know your family history
  • 23-And-Me provides a basic DNA testing for genetic factors
  • Ultrasound+ technology can find disease factors such as atherosclerosis (European countries have used this for decades, the United States is gaining headway in this field)

Contributing Factors to Atherosclerosis

  • High blood pressure
  • Cigarette smoking
  • High amounts of certain fats and cholesterol in the blood (as in bad fats – instead eat GOOD healthy fats)
  • High amounts of sugar in the blood due to insulin resistance or diabetes
  • Infection: “While it is commonly overlooked, cardiovascular disease, and more particularly atherosclerosis, is connected to infection. Dentists know this, which is why they often prescribe antibiotics following dental work which releases bacteria into systemic circulation. Plaque in the arteries can also harbor viral pathogens.” ~ GreenMedInfo, How To Clean Your Arteries With One Simple Fruit

The greatest single thing we can all do for ourselves and our loved ones is to have a clean healthy lifestyle to prevent disease to the best of our ability.

  • Stress-free lifestyle, as much as possible
  • Clean pure diet, with fun tasty foods
  • Clean air
  • Pure water
  • Exercise and/or healthy movement
  • Healthy relationships
  • Desire to learn as we encounter unexpected health issues

Hire a certified health coach to gain education and practical steps for long-term lifestyle improvement.

Dig Deeper – Learn More

Mayo Clinic = Arteriosclerosis /  Atherosclerosis

NIH = Atherosclerosis, Also known as Arteriosclerosis, Hardening of arteries

Abstract = The gut microbiome in atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease

Vascular health matters. Please consider being scanned with a noninvasive ultrasound.

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE:  In order for me to support my blogging and social media activities, I may receive monetary compensation for links to products from this post. However, I only recommend products that I personally love and use myself. If it is not good enough for me, it certainly is not good enough for you!!

HEALTH COACH DISCLAIMER:  Health/Wellness coaching is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. It is not intended to substitute for the advice, treatment and/or diagnosis of a qualified licensed professional. Trained and certified Health Coaches may not make any medical diagnoses, claims and/or substitute for your personal physician’s care. As your health/wellness coach I do not provide a second opinion or in any way attempt to alter the treatment plans or therapeutic goals/recommendations of your personal physician. It is my role to partner with you to provide ongoing support and accountability as you create an action plan to meet and maintain your health goals.

Share your thoughts...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.