Atherosclerosis is the process of forming a plaque, or atheroma, in the wall of an artery. This is sometimes referred to as arteriosclerosis. The formation of this plaque results in a narrowing of the artery, reducing the blood flow to the organ or tissue that artery supplies. The primary health concerns of atherosclerosis are the development of ischemic heart disease, refereed to as coronary artery disease or CAD, and stroke, referred to as arteriosclerotic cerebrovascular disease or ASCVD. Atherosclerosis can also effect the arteries that supply the legs, and is known as peripheral vascular disease.
THE IMPACT OF ATHEROSCLEROSIS:
Atherosclerosis is the leading cause of death in the United States. Coronary artery disease is responsible for 36% of all deaths, and when combined with stroke, atherosclerosis accounts for 43% of all deaths in the United States. Peripheral vascular disease is the leading cause of non-traumatic amputations of the lower extremities. Needless to say, atherosclerosis takes a huge personal and societal toll in dollars and disability.
OUR APPROACH TO ATHEROSCLEROSIS AT NATURE’S HEALTHCARE
While there are genetic factors involved in the development of atherosclerosis, many of the causative factors of atherosclerosis are dietary and lifestyle in origin. As well, certain other diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, can result in atherosclerosis, and they too have dietary and lifestyle issues as contributing factors. This makes atherosclerosis a prime target for treatment using methods other than drugs. This is not to say that drugs do not have a place. Rather, it suggests to us that using a drug to treat a disease of lifestyle seems misdirected, and that drug therapy alone seems incomplete. Indeed, in the Presidential Address to the American Heart Association in 1997, Martha Hill, Ph.D., RN, made the following statements: Individuals’ lifestyles significantly impact their health, with unhealthy habits accounting for 54% of known contributions to heart disease. Behavioral and biological interventions can reduce morbidity, mortality, disability, and death due to heart disease and stroke. She went on to describe a gap which exists between the effective behavioral and biological interventions and their implementation in practice, saying that formal integrated interdisciplinary teams are the exception, not the norm, in most inpatient and ambulatory care settings. It is our goal at Nature’s Healthcare to help close that gap. Our healthcare team consists of medical doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists, behavioral therapists, dietary and nutritional counselors, instructors in Yoga and Tai Chi, and a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, and Herbology. This healthcare team was assembled to allow us to integrate into your treatment plan the nutritional, behavioral, and lifestyle issues which have been proven beneficial in the management of atherosclerosis.
WHO BENEFITS FROM INTERVENTIONS FOR ATHEROSCLEROSIS?
The answer is any one who wishes to reduce their risk of atherosclerosis and its complications. The greatest benefit would be derived by those in two groups, which would be:
(1.) Those who are considered to be at high risk of Coronary Artery Disease or Stroke, and who wish to prevent or reduce the chances of having these problems. This is referred to as Primary Prevention.
(2.) Those who have already suffered a Cardiac Event, such as an MI, (myocardial infarction or heart attack), or a Stroke, and who wish to prevent the occurrence of another. This is referred to as Secondary Prevention.