Posted on 16 January 2020 with 0 comments
Atherosclerosis is a chronic condition that affects the arteries, especially those of medium and large size. Because of its severity, this disease can act as a precursor for strokes and heart attacks. Thus, it is vital to know and understand its causes, symptoms and effects, and adapt our behaviour accordingly.
It is important to remember that atherosclerosis is not a rare disease. It is, as a matter of fact, prevalent in the most industrialized countries of the world, and primarily affects people aged 65 and older. However, this does not mean that the disease cannot affect younger people: the individuals at greatest risks are, indeed, around fifty years of age.
Another crucial notion we should keep in mind is the link between atherosclerosis and excess calcium. When calcium intake is regular, it keeps our body in good health; on the contrary, when absorbed in excess, its effects can be detrimental.
Calcium is an excellent ally for our bones, teeth and heart, but only when taken in the right amounts and modalities. Otherwise, it can become a perilous enemy of our overall health. In particular, it is believed calcium supplements – rather than foods and drinks that naturally contain this precious mineral – are the main cause of atherosclerosis.
According to the Journal of the American Heart Association, excessive consumption of calcium supplements could lead to an increased risk of the formation of dangerous plaques in the arteries, with consequent damage to the heart.
If calcium is taken via an excessive amount of supplements, part of it will not be useful to strengthen our bones and teeth, nor eliminated through the urine. Quite the opposite, it will be deposited in the soft tissues of the body, and in particular in the aorta and in other large arteries. This will create “plugs” that will hinder regular blood flood and, therefore, increase the risk of heart disease.
What are the causes and symptoms of atherosclerosis?
The leading cause of atherosclerosis is the accumulation of fat (triglyceride and cholesterol plaques) in the arterial walls.
Other factors, such as sedentary living and an excess of fat in the blood (either hereditary or caused by bad eating habits), or even the overabundance of consumption of animal fats, can contribute to the development of this dangerous condition.
As for the symptoms, atherosclerosis may remain pretty much dormant – and therefore impossible to detect – for a very long time. However, the consequences of the occlusion of the arteries can strike quickly and abruptly, mostly without any warning, in the form of a heart attack, stroke or angina pectoris. Only then, the diagnosis of atherosclerosis takes place with absolute precision. That is why prevention is so vital!
Some advice to prevent atherosclerosis
How can we avoid the dangerous accumulation of calcium and cholesterol in medium and large arteries of our body?
A proper diet is the first ally in contrasting atherosclerosis. It can guarantee optimal support even when pre-existing risk factors are present, for example, in the case of a previous pathological condition or family history.
Naturally assimilating calcium, without excesses, and from its vegetable sources, is another excellent starting point in the prevention of atherosclerosis. Our suggestion is to integrate your menu with veggies that are rich in calcium, such as broccoli, celery, cabbage, leeks, Catalonian chicory, turnip greens and lettuce.
Reducing the consumption of tobacco products – or quitting altogether – is also essential for preventing the disease. As a matter of fact, smoking is the number one enemy not only of our overall health but also exacerbates the already dangerous action of “bad” cholesterol.
Finally, limiting physical inactivity and keeping your body in exercise are crucial factors in terms of prevention: sports and physical activity are always, without question, formidable allies of our overall health.