How to reduce the risk of Atherosclerosis?
Atherosclerosis is a disease associated with the unhealthy lifestyle we live nowadays. This in turn triggers additional risk factors that cause Atherosclerosis to develop and progress.
Some of the risk factors we should avoid or control to prevent or minimize the risk of atherosclerosis or the consequences they may trigger are:
- Arterial hypertension, or high blood pressure levels, which exert a force within the arteries, breaking the fragile endothelium which lines the arterial inner surface.
- Hypercholesterolemia, characterized by high blood low intensity lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol, levels. This type of cholesterol carries cholesterol from the organs to the blood, while good cholesterol or high density lipoprotein (HDL) protects against atherosclerosis, as they remove the cholesterol from the tissues to take it to the liver and discard it.
- Cigarette smoking, because tobacco contain toxic substances such as nicotine, which constrict blood vessels and have a direct toxic effect, causing an inflammatory response on the arterial walls.
- Diabetes and metabolic syndrome, since 90% of people with Type 2 Diabetes have insulin resistance and associated conditions such as insulin resistance syndrome or metabolic syndrome, which if not controlled can cause endothelial damage.
- Overweight and obesity, since abdominal fat produces a substance that can cause endothelial dysfunction, increases insulin resistance and increases the inflammatory effect on the arterial walls.
- A sedentary lifestyle or a lifestyle characterized by a lack of physical activity. Exercise helps reduce weight, increases the cell’s insulin sensitivity and decreases the inflammatory response within the arterial walls.
- There are other risk factors we can’t control, such as age and sex.
- A person’s sex, given that male hormones are atherogenic, while female hormones or estrogens protect women from atherosclerosis. That’s why women aren’t generally affected by atherosclerosis until the post-menopausal stage.
- Age, because over the years the endothelium become damaged and the vessel walls may become more susceptible to inflammation.
Maintaining healthy eating habits, increasing physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, leading a calmer life, quitting smoking, maintaining normal blood glucose and Hemoglobin A1c levels and checking your blood lipids or blood fats annually, will help to reduce the risk of developing Atherosclerosis as well as other cardiovascular diseases, so you can enjoy a healthy, productive and happy life.