Can Lifestyle Changes Prevent Plaques and Heart Disease Naturally?
Big changes could happen without too much work
Atherosclerosis is a common disease in which plaques build up in your arteries, disrupting blood flow and causing heart problems. The accumulation of these plaques hardens your arteries and is dangerous to your health.
These plaques cannot be simply brushed and scraped away like the plaque on your teeth. These fatty deposits require much more work on your part, specifically dietary and lifestyle changes.
When Change Is a Good Thing
Change does not always have to mean something scary or bad. Changing your habits, both dietary and in life, can improve your health and well-being.
With heart disease being one of the top killers in the country, switching to a healthier lifestyle to promote heart health is step in the right direction. Atherosclerosis (plaques in your arteries) is one of the major contributors to heart disease, so should be first on your list of goals.
Poor diet, smoking, high stress levels and a lack of physical activity all contribute to the accumulation of fat and cholesterol in your body. The plaques that clog your arteries are formed from this fat, cholesterol, and calcium.
The more plaques you have, the more narrow your arteries become, and the harder your heart has to work to pump blood through.
By making changes to those contributing factors you can decrease the size of the plaques as well as stabilize them so they cannot break off and cause a heart attack. Once plaques break away, they become even more dangerous. To avoid stroke, you need to act sooner rather than later.
Changing habits is not going to be easy and will require a great deal of motivation. Avoiding the devastation that heart attacks and strokes can cause should be a pretty powerful motivator.
The Changes You Need to Make
Research shows that most heart attacks are caused by clogged arteries, and that 80 percent of these cases could have been avoided by simple lifestyle changes.
Heart attacks occur when any blood flow to your heart becomes blocked. Plaques in your arteries may start out small, but over time, and without changes, they grow and harden.
Once your arteries are hard, blood flow becomes restricted and your chances of heart attack increase.
The main culprit involved in the development of these dangerous plaques is cholesterol. The changes you want to make in your life need to be aimed at lowering cholesterol levels, so your risk for clogged and hardened arteries can be significantly reduced.
There are five areas of your life you need to focus on to reduce cholesterol and, therefore, reduce plaque formation:
Unfortunately, the world of convenience that we live in makes it a challenge to follow a healthy diet. There is a fast food restaurant on every corner and convenient snacks and meals on every shelf.
These foods are highly processed and contain unhealthy fats and sugars that contribute to high cholesterol levels, specifically LDL, which is the bad cholesterol. To improve overall cholesterol levels, you need to lower the LDL and increase your HDL, so you maintain a healthy balance.
To do this you need to avoid processed foods and increase vegetable, fruit, and grain intake.
The less you move, the more sluggish your body gets. Your digestive system slows down, which means your body does not process foods as optimally as it should.
This can cause weight gain and accumulation of fatty deposits around the body. Fat and cholesterol are the main components of artery-clogging plaques. This means the more you move the less available these ingredients are.
Light to moderate exercise thirty minutes a day is all you need, so take a walk at lunch or an evening stroll and you can prevent these plaques from showing up.
Obesity is dangerous for your health because it not only places strain on your heart, but it is also linked to diabetes and high cholesterol. You already know that high cholesterol is going to lead to plaque formation in your arteries, but you may not know how diabetes can impact your heart health.
Diabetes can cause damage to blood vessels which weakens them, making them more vulnerable to plaque buildup. You may not have diabetes, but being overweight can cause type-II diabetes to develop and once this happens, your heart is in even more danger. Diet and exercise can help to keep your weight under control so you can avoid placing any additional strain on your cardiovascular system.
This may be a hard habit to break, but more people are quitting every day. The chemicals in cigarettes damages cells in your body, specifically blood cells and those in your blood vessels.
Over time these become weak which increases your risk of plaque accumulation and atherosclerosis.
You need to remember that secondhand smoke causes the same damage over time, so the safest bet is to quit. It may be hard to quit smoking, but recovering from a heart attack is harder.
A glass of red wine a day is supposed to be good for you, and there is nothing wrong with having a drink on occasion to relax and unwind. The dangers of alcohol come with consuming too much.
Heavy consumption of alcohol over time contributes to weakened and hardened arteries, therefore increasing your risk of heart attack or stroke. Too much alcohol.
Because it contains so much sugar, also contributes to high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, which you already know damages your entire cardiovascular system.
The Natural Conclusion
Atherosclerosis is dangerous, but it is also preventable. We all get into bad habits and with our busy and demanding lives it is so easy to grab unhealthy foods, drink more to unwind, smoke through the stressful moments, and pass up that trip to the gym.
It is important to remember that you are not alone and we all have to make the effort to take care of our hearts. Make a plan with a friend and keep each other on track because you can’t just go to the dentist to get rid of these dangerous plaques.