Hardening of the Arteries
A term applied to a number of pathological conditions in which there
is thickening, hardening, and loss of elasticity of the walls of arteries.
This results in altered function of tissues and organs.
Cause is unknown. Aging, altered lipid metabolism, and other factors
including gender, the environment, psychological, physiological, as
well as genetic influences are thought to be important in determining
an individual's chances of developing arteriosclerosis. Some risk
factors include: hypertension; increased
blood lipids, particularly cholesterol
and triglycerides; obesity; cigarette smoking;
diabetes mellitus; inability to cope with
stress; family history of early-onset atherosclerosis; physical inactivity;
and the male sex (at ages 35-44, the death rate for white
males is 6 times that of white females).
- Cigarette smoking
- Lack of proper exercise
- Emotional stress
- A diet high in saturated fatty acids
- Coffee drinking, which has recently been found to elevate blood
- Sugar - high intake of sucrose
- Age and sex - higher cholesterol levels are found in males and
- High blood pressure
Arteriosclerosis (build-up of calcium on the inside of artery walls)
and atherosclerosis (deposits of fatty substances) have about the
same effect on circulation. Either condition causes strokes, coronary
disease (angina), and high blood pressure. High blood pressure can
also cause arteriosclerosis. Narrowing of the arteries forces blood
pressure that is already high to become even higher. As the arteries
become less pliable and less permeable, cell starvation results due
to insufficient circulation in the cells. An individual will suffer
a heart attack, also referred to as a myocardial infarction (MI) or
coronary occlusion (a coronary), when one of the coronary arteries
becomes completely obstructed by accumulated deposits or by a blood
clot that has either formed or been snagged on the deposit. Older
people are at greater risk for this kind of heart trouble. When arteriosclerosis
occludes the arterial supply of blood to the brain, a cerebrovascular
accident (CVA), or stroke occurs.
Arteriosclerosis obliterans occurs when the lower limbs are affected,
in the early stages, the major arteries that carry blood to the legs
and the feet become narrowed by fatty deposits. Then problems with
aching muscles, fatigue, and cramp-like pains in the ankles and legs
occur. Depending on which arteries are blocked, the pain may also
be in the hips and thighs. Leg pain brought on by walking that is
promptly relieved by sitting is called claudication (lameness, limping).
Additional symptoms include numbness, weakness, and a heavy feeling
in the legs. These symptoms occur when the arteries are clogged with
cholesterol plaque. Pain is experienced if the amount of oxygenated
blood is insufficient to meet the needs of the exercising leg muscles.
Regular exercise; diet low in saturated fatty acids; minimal use
of tobacco; general moderation in all things to reduce or avoid stress;
therapy for treatable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension
if any of these are present.
Herbal Medicine Formulas and
Folk Medicine Formulas
Lecithin, 2 capsules taken with meals. Garlic tablets, taken as directed
on the label, has a lipid (fat) regulating effect. Multidigestive
enzymes, taken with meals, is important for proper digestion. Selenium,
200 mcg. daily, promotes action of vitamin E. Vitamin A and E emulsion
(or multivitamin and mineral), 25,000 IU vitamin A; 400-1,000 IU vitamin
E; (increase slowly), are antioxidants that act as free radical scavengers.
Vitamin C (buffered), 6,000-10,000 mg. in daily divided doses. Coenzyme
Q10, 100 mg. per day, improves tissue oxygenation. Germanium, 200
mg. per day, lowers cholesterol and improves cellular oxygenation.
Lipotropic factors, use as directed on the label, reduces lipid (fat)
content of blood. Phosphatidyl choline is best because it is strongest.
Calcium, 1,500 mg. per day (use chelate or asporotate). Magnesium,
750 mg. per day. Vitamin B complex, 100 mg. 3 times per day, B3 dilates
the small arteries. Zinc chelate, 50 mg. per day, aids in cleansing
and in the healing process. Copper chelate, 3 mg. per day.
- Black Haw
- Carrot, wild
- Chickweed herb
- Corn silk
- Dock, yellow (root)
- Ginkgo bilboa extract
- Ginseng, Siberian (Wu-chia-p'i)
- Hawthorn berries
- Life everlasting
- Marsh mallow root
- Mistletoe twigs
- Mormon tea
- Periwinkle, greater
- Sassafras root
- Shepherd's purse
- Solomon's seal
- Sundew, round-leaved
Anticoagulants such as aspirin are given to thin the blood and prevent
clotting. For effective anticoagulation, the supplement vitamin K
and foods rich in vitamin K must be avoided. Foods such as: alfalfa,
broccoli, cauliflower, egg yolks, liver, spinach, and all dark green
vegetables. To enhance the effect of the anticoagulants, add to the
diet more of the following: vitamin E, soybeans, and sunflower seeds.
Drink distilled water only. The diet should not contain any red meat.
Avoid white flour, white sugar, and salt. Do not use stimulants such
as coffee, colas, and tobacco; also eliminate alcohol and highly spiced
foods. Increase the amount of fiber in the diet. Drink steam-distilled
water and use pure olive oil to aid in lowering cholesterol. Impotence
can result from this disease.
A simple test can determine how well the blood is flowing through
the arteries of the legs. There are three places on the lower leg
where a pulsating artery can be felt by lightly touching the skin
covering the artery. One spot is the top of the foot; the second spot
is the inner aspect of the ankle; and the third spot is behind the
knee. Apply pressure lightly to the skin on these spots where the
pulsating artery can be felt. If you cannot find a pulse, it is an
indication that the artery supplying the leg is narrowed. Special
studies may be needed. Consult the doctor. Foods rich in vitamin E
will help the problem. Vitamin E and vitamin C will enhance the oxygen
supply in the bloodstream and in the red blood cells. It would be
wise to add these supplements to the diet.