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Is it something I may have cured or can get rid of, or is it the best thing I can do to keep it from getting worse? AT. If you have the courage to make major lifestyle changes, you can, in fact, reverse coronary artery disease. This disease is the build-up of cholesterol-laden plaque inside the arteries that nourish the heart, a process known as atherosclerosis. Some of the best evidence that coronary artery disease is reversible comes from autopsies performed on people who experienced prolonged periods of starvation during World War II.
Their coronary arteries showed little or no atherosclerosis. However, as the economies of war-torn countries recovered and diets improved, atherosclerosis returned. These findings are considered proof that extreme dietary changes can cause atherosclerosis to go away. The development of statins offered the possibility of reversing coronary artery disease more easily.
However, studies on intensive cholesterol reduction with statins have yielded conflicting results: atherosclerosis may decrease in one area, but continue to increase in another. However, while statins don't always reduce plaque, they do reduce rates of heart attack and stroke. They do this by decreasing the amount of liquid fat inside the plaque, stabilizing the layer that covers it and calming inflammation. Drying plates with harder, more fibrous lids are less likely to break and cause heart attacks.
If you want to try to clean your arteries, check out the program recommended by Dr. These include your reverse diet (a mostly vegetarian diet that provides no more than 10% of calories from fat and less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol a day), daily exercise, stress management and group support. In a small trial that began with 48 volunteers, cholesterol-clogged plaque decreased slightly in the group after these changes, compared to an increase in plaque in the control group. If you decide to try one of these approaches, I would recommend doing so in addition to taking a statin and a low dose of aspirin (with your doctor's approval, of course).
While your efforts can stop plaque formation and even reduce it, plaque will likely never go away. As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of the last revision or update of all articles. .
Managing Cholesterol provides up-to-date information to help you or a loved one keep your cholesterol under control. The report details healthy and unhealthy cholesterol levels, and offers specific ways to keep cholesterol under control. Covers cholesterol testing and cholesterol genetics. The report also focuses on treatments based on the most recent scientific evidence, including the advantages and disadvantages of statins and other drugs, and provides information on other substances that are advertised to lower cholesterol.
Controlling your cholesterol can also help you work with your doctor to individualize your treatment. Health alerts from Harvard Medical School Get useful tips and guidance on all kinds of topics, from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss, from exercises to strengthen your core to tips on treating cataracts. IN ADDITION, the latest news on medical advances and advances from experts at Harvard Medical School. Stay up to date with the latest health news from Harvard Medical School.
Plus, get a FREE copy of the best diets for cognitive fitness. If you're at risk of coronary calcification, your doctor may prescribe medications to lower low-density lipoproteins (LDL) known as bad cholesterol (p. e.g., statins) or to increase high-density lipoproteins (HDL) known as good cholesterol (e.g. (e.g., niacin).
Newer drugs, such as PCSK 9 inhibitors (p. e.g., Repatha, Praluent), are given by injection and can help lower cholesterol in the most difficult cases. Other medications may be prescribed to lower blood pressure (p). e.g.
beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, diuretics), control blood sugar (e.g. anti-diabetic medicines), prevent blood clots (e.g., blood clots). aspirin) or dissolve a blood clot that has already formed (e.g. While it's not technically possible to reverse hardening of the arteries, Dr.
Park says that preliminary research shows that a complete vegan diet could reverse heart disease. Because it's difficult to follow a strict vegan diet, she suggests combining a low-fat, Mediterranean-style diet with medication to prevent plaque from building up.
Coronary calcificationoccurs when calcium builds up in plaque found in the walls of the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle. A historic study led by Nissen 15 years ago, called the ASTEROID trial, found that patients who took a very strong statin daily for 2 years could reverse plaque build-up and artery thickening.
It can absolutely prevent CAD from getting worse and, with a little effort, it could even reverse some of the damage, says Dr. Gregg Fonarow. Other aspects of a healthy lifestyle won't necessarily reverse coronary artery disease, but they can prevent it from getting worse. If you still can't tolerate high doses of statins, you may be able to reverse CAD by taking a lower intensity statin along with a different type of cholesterol medication called a PCSK9 inhibitor.
If you need an evaluation for coronary calcification or want to discuss treatment options, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-753) today. The presence of coronary calcification may be an early sign of coronary artery disease, which can cause a heart attack. The goal of treating coronary calcification is to slow (and possibly reverse) its progression and prevent serious consequences, such as a heart attack or stroke. The Dr.
Steve Park, from the TriHealth Heart Institute, answers a question from a Local 12 viewer about artery hardening and whether it can be reversed. There is very good evidence that high-intensity statins, also called high-dose statins, can reverse CAD, says Dr. Steven Nissen, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. Coronary calcification isn't reversible, but you can prevent it from getting worse by making lifestyle changes, such as not smoking, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol, and maintaining a healthy weight.