artery clogged with plaque, blood buildup cannot pass

Coronary artery disease, or CAD, is one of the most common cardiovascular diseases in the world and involves the arteries that transport oxygen-rich blood around the entire body. These incredible delivery vehicles constantly expand and contract, 24 hours a day, to ensure that blood reaches its destinations around the body efficiently. However, as we age, and are largely dependent on our dietary and lifestyle choices, these arteries can begin accumulating plaque deposits. The arteries become progressively narrower, and less blood can reach its destination, the heart. The result significantly increases the risk of a deadly heart attack. When this occlusion happens in the extremities, it is known as peripheral artery disease (PAD). It can cause significant problems in the arms and legs, including, if left untreated, amputation of the affected limb.

Cardiovascular diseases are often interrelated, and the occlusion of these arteries by coronary plaque is often part of a larger group of metabolic and cardiovascular disorders you may be experiencing. Symptoms often include fatigue, cardiac arrhythmias, and chest pain, known as angina. If you’ve spoken to your primary care physician or cardiologist, they may prescribe lifestyle changes and medication to slow the continued occlusion of the artery so the eventuality of having a procedure like stenting, atherectomy, or even bypass can be delayed or avoided altogether.

Of course, the prospect of taking medication, on top of any you may already be taking now, is not exciting for most patients. As such, many of us research how to unclog our arteries naturally.

Natural Prevention of Coronary Artery Disease

It is worth understanding right off the bat that plaque already accumulated in your arteries cannot be eliminated with diet or exercise alone. A procedural intervention like placing a stent or bypass (for a more severe blockage) is the quickest way to reverse this plaque buildup. If the plaque has hardened, many patients will require a procedure known as an atherectomy that drills through the hardened plaque to reduce the occlusion.

However, there are plenty of nonmedical, nonprocedural tips and lifestyle changes you can implement that can improve blood flow and make the most of reducing the likelihood of more plaque blocking the blood vessel. Most importantly:

Stop smoking. Smoking constricts the blood vessels and, in doing so, can make the occlusion worse. This is particularly problematic after surgery, where reduced blood flow can lead to infection or if the patient follows an unhealthy diet.

Treat arrhythmias. Atrial fibrillation (Afib), the most prevalent cardiac arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat, can increase the risk of stroke and heart attack fivefold. Approximately 5 million Americans may be suffering from Afib, a number that is only growing.

Improve your diet. Increase fiber intake and reduce saturated fat to lessen the cholesterol deposits entering the bloodstream.

Exercise. Exercise has many benefits around the body, but none more so than for heart and vascular health. Exercise does not have to be immediately strenuous. If you lead a relatively sedentary lifestyle, there’s nothing wrong with starting slow and working up from there.

Get an early diagnosis. Knowing you have a problem is the first step to solving it. If you suffer from obesity and metabolic disorders, visit your cardiologist for a treatment plan.

Ultimately, knowledge is critical; this comes from seeking help if you know you are at risk for cardiovascular disease. Visit your cardiologist or make an appointment with us to understand your risk of coronary artery disease and, if necessary, start a screening regimen. Your heart and overall health will thank you for it. You can schedule a consultation with one of our cardiologists by clicking here.