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Atherosclerosis is a leading cause of death and impairment.

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Introduction

Atherosclerosis is a leading cause of death and impairment in America today. It is estimated that 1,100,000 new or recurrent coronary attacks occur per year in America. It affects close to 60 million Americans. To better place this disease in perspective, every 20 seconds a person in the United States has a heart attack, and one third of these attacks lead to death. Moreover, 50% of Americans have levels of cholesterol that place them at high risk of coronary artery disease, and cholesterol is only one factor that causes the occlusion of arteries that is technically known as atherosclerosis. The high mortality of the disease, widespread suffering, and huge economic impact demand an integrated medical approach and therapies. This protocol reflects that meticulous approach. The most common form of heart disease is caused by atherosclerosis, generally known as coronary heart disease, hardening and/or thickening of the arteries. It involves the slow buildup of deposits of fatty substances, cholesterol, body cellular waste products, calcium, and fibrin (a clotting material in the blood) in the inside lining of an artery. The buildup that results, called plaque, may partially or totally block the blood's flow through the artery. ...read more.

Middle

Atherosclerosis is a slow, progressive disease that may start in childhood. In some people, this disease progresses rapidly in their 30s and early 40s-in others it doesn't become threatening until later in life. Exactly how atherosclerosis begins or what causes it isn't known, but some theories have been proposed. Many scientists think atherosclerosis begins because the innermost layer of the artery, called the endothelium, becomes damaged. Possible causes of damage to the arterial wall are free-radical reactions, elevated levels of oxidated serum cholesterol, triglycerides, fibrinogen and homocysteine, high blood pressure, obesity, lifestyle issues, cigarette smoke, and environmental pollutants. Specific diseases caused by atherosclerosis include coronary artery disease, angina pectoris, cerebral vascular disease, thrombotic stroke, transient ischemic attacks, and diabetic vascular complications. Three mechanisms that have been identified as the most probable causative factors in the development of atherosclerosis include the following: 1. LDL cholesterol oxidation. LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein and is often referred to as "bad cholesterol." Oxidation of LDL renders it "sticky" and facilitates its deposition on the internal lining of blood vessel walls. The oxidation of LDL cholesterol, other blood fats, and homocysteine can initiate and significantly contribute to the development of atherosclerosis. ...read more.

Conclusion

Abnormal platelet aggregation can lead to the development of a blood clot (thrombus) on the arterial walls inside the heart, brain, or any other organ, resulting in ischemia (reduced blood flow) and/or infarction (cell death). Abnormal platelet aggregation can cause an acute arterial blood clot that can lead to a suddenly fatal heart attack or stoke. 4. Integrated and Alternative Therapies. There now exists a massive body of evidence that supplementation, combined with appropriate lifestyle, diet, and exercise can prevent and even help reverse cardiovascular disease, evidenced by an April 1998 recommendation by the New England Journal of Medicine titled, "Eat Right and Take a Multivitamin." The conventional medical establishment has long ridiculed vitamin supplementation, but for the first time, a 1998 editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine encouraged the use of homocysteine-lowering vitamin supplements to reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease. Developmental process of atherosclerosis The development of arterial atherosclerosis may occur when deposits of cholesterol and plaque accumulate at a tear in the inner lining of an artery. As the deposits harden and occlude the arterial lumen, blood flow to distant tissues decreases and a clot may become lodged, completely blocking the artery. ...read more.

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