Atherosclerosis is a chronic condition that affects the arteries. It is caused by a buildup of plaque, a sticky substance made up of cholesterol, fat, calcium, and other substances, on the walls of the arteries. This buildup can narrow and harden the arteries, making it difficult for blood to flow through them.
Atherosclerosis can affect any artery in the body, but it most commonly affects the arteries that supply blood to the heart, brain, and kidneys. When atherosclerosis affects the arteries that supply blood to the heart, it can lead to a heart attack. When it affects the arteries that supply blood to the brain, it can lead to a stroke. And when it affects the arteries that supply blood to the kidneys, it can lead to kidney failure.
Causes of Atherosclerosis
The exact cause of atherosclerosis is unknown, but there are a number of factors that are believed to contribute to its development, including:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol levels
- Physical inactivity
- Family history of atherosclerosis
- Certain medications
Over time, these factors can damage the inner walls of the arteries, leading to the formation of plaque.
Atherosclerosis often develops slowly and may not cause symptoms until it becomes severe. In the early stages of atherosclerosis, there may be no symptoms. However, as the plaque builds up and the arteries narrow, it can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Numbness or tingling in the extremities
- Vision problems
- Pain in the legs when walking
At VITALIZE, we use a combination of medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests to diagnose atherosclerosis. These tests may include a lipid profile, blood pressure measurement, electrocardiogram (ECG), stress test, or imaging tests like an ultrasound or angiogram.
Our naturopathic doctors at VITALIZE offer a comprehensive approach to treating atherosclerosis. Our personalized treatment plans using naturopathic and functional medicine may include dietary and lifestyle changes, nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, and other natural therapies to help improve cardiovascular health. We also offer non-invasive therapies like Plaquex® IV nutrient therapy and chelation therapy to help improve blood flow and reduce inflammation. Our goal is to help you achieve optimal cardiovascular health and improve your overall quality of life.