Slow clogging up and hardening of arteries due to build-up of fatty deposits (atheroma, atheromatous plaque) on smooth inner walls; as these deposits become larger and harden into plaque, artery walls lose their smoothness and elasticity, and blood flow is disrupted; plaque eats into and weakens artery walls, sometimes causing arteries to swell or burst (aneurysm). Condition both contributes to and is aggravated by arteriosclerosis (age-related hardening of arteries). May be symptom-less until arteries of heart are affected (see Coronary artery disease), or arteries supplying brain and other vital organs (see Stroke, Kidney Failure); plaque-narrowed arteries are also vulnerable to blockage by blood clots and dislodged fragments of plaque. This is responsible for more deaths in the UK than any other cause.
Atherosclerosis appears to be related to high consumption of meat, eggs, butter, and cream, which contain lots of saturated fats and cholesterol, and affects nearly all Westerners to some degree, even children, though severity increases with age; women become as vulnerable as men after the (see Menopause). Recent American research has suggested that chlorine in the water supply may be a contributory factor; other researchers have pointed the finger at deficiencies of copper and vanadium. High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, kidney trouble, (see Obesity, and smoking certainly increase risk. Since furring-up process is very slow, decreased blood flow through narrowed arteries may be compensated for by extra flow through sound neighbouring arteries; in this way condition may escape diagnosis until it causes serious problems. Early warnings may be Cramp after exertion or Angina.
Orthodox treatment is limited to drugs which reduce blood pressure or drugs which reduce blood cholesterol levels. A surgical procedure called balloon angioplasty can be used which introduces a balloon catheter into the area of blockage or restriction and then inflates to stretch the narrowed part. Coronary artery bypass surgery is also used. None of these procedures is curative but can help to control symptoms. The homeopathic remedies listed below are also palliative. Medication is no substitute for a change of diet and lifestyle.
Specific remedies to be taken twice a day for 1 month in addition to following self-help advice below; if there is no noticeable improvement, see your homeopath
- If person is elderly, suffers from high blood pressure and palpitations, especially if an aneurysm is present Baryta carb. 6c
- Frequent fainting spells, craving for salt, feeling very nervous and highly strung Phosphorus 6c
- Fainting spells, dizziness, confusion, and general mental deterioration, liver problems, heart feels compressed within chest Vanadium 6c
- Tight, congested headache, pounding sensation in arteries Glonoinum 6c
Self-help: the suggestions which follow are mainly preventive; they are unlikely to undo the effects of decades of unhealthy eating, overeating, or inadequate exercise, but they prevent further damage to your arteries and your heart. If there is a history of artery disease in your family, you should regard yourself as particularly at risk.
First of all, cut down on full-fat milk and cheese, cream, butter, eggs, fatty meat. Lard, dripping, and hydrogenated vegetable fats; look for margarines and oils high in polyunsaturated fats (those based on sunflower, safflower, and corn oil are best), and don’t heat them above 120º C (250º F). Eat oily fish (herring, mackerel) twice a week. Add garlic to your food and take brewer’s yeast (containing B vitamins and chromium); these will help to reduce cholesterol levels. Add fresh ginger to your cooking; this will help to reduce stickiness of blood platelets and prevent clotting. Cut down on refined carbohydrates, as their most concentrated in sugar, sweets, chocolate, biscuits, cakes, and soft drinks.
Other items to be wary of are shellfish and salt; avoid salty foods and don’t add salt to your food. If you cannot wean yourself off caffeine and alcohol entirely, make them a twice-a-week treat only. Make sure you eat plenty of unrefined, high-fibre foods - principally that means wholegrain cereals, leafy vegetables, and pulses. Take extra Vitamin B6, C, and E (if you have high blood pressure or are taking anticoagulants, check with your medical doctor before taking extra Vitamin E). Take fish oils, e.g. Max EPA, Evening Primrose oil and recommended daily amounts of manganese, calcium, selenium, magnesium, iodine, lecithin, and rutin.
It is said that drinking 10 or more cups of green tea per day may help. Also taking garlic and moderate amounts of alcohol.
Stop smoking. Some form of relaxation or meditation would also be beneficial. Both relaxation and exercise dissipate stress, and lower stress levels generally mean lower blood cholesterol levels.
Oral contraceptives and hormone replacements should be avoided if at all possible; if you are taking them and want to stop, consult your medical doctor.