The #1 health issue in the western world is Coronary Heart Disease (Ischaemic Heart Disease), this is a condition that affects the blood vessels that supply the heart with vital oxygen and nutrients. The Australian 2011-2012 census showed that over half a million people living in Australia had been diagnosed with coronary heart disease and in 2013, 21,109 men died from it (Heart foundation). Coronary Heart Disease is primarily cause by myocardial ischemia, which is where the heart cells are temporarily deprived of blood. This occurs due to a partial or complete obstruction in the coronary artery, when the artery blocks it causes the often fatal event known as a heart attack.

Occlusion or blockages occur in the arteries due to abnormally high concentration of lipoproteins in the blood, these lipids (fats) are best known as cholesterol and triglycerides. Cholesterol comes in two varieties, low density lipid (LDL) and high density lipid (HDL). Triglycerides are sometime referred to as very low density lipids (VLDL). An occlusion or blockage is a build-up of these lipids in the artery wall that eventually reduce the diameter of the vessel, which in turn reduces blood flow to the heart, this thickening and hardening of the artery wall is called Arteriosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis (thickening of the artery wall) is a response that the body initiates in response to rising inflammation levels, inflammatory markers, that initiate the thickening and hardening of the artery, are used to identify the risk of Coronary Heart Disease. Interestingly this condition is also responsible for many cerebrovascular (blood supply to the brain) conditions.

 

The Naturopathic point of view……

Cholesterol is one of the body’s main anti-inflammatory components and is used to buffer acidity in the lymphatic system. High levels of cholesterol indicate high levels of acidity, evidence of cholesterol deposits in the artery wall indicates something referred to as systemic inflammation. This is directly linked to diet, lifestyle and medication use.

Systemic inflammation is caused by the inability of the body to properly eliminate metabolic wastes from the lymphatic system, this is due to poor kidney filtration. Basically if your kidneys aren’t filtering properly then these metabolic wastes begin to build up in the tissues and organs causing cell damage. The body will then use calcium, cholesterol and oedema to attempt to buffer and neutralise these acids. Atherosclerosis is an example of the body attempting to protect vital infrastructure like blood vessels by layering cholesterol into the vascular walls to protect them from destructive acid fluid.

Reversing this condition is done through a plant based diet. Numerous clinincal studies show that atherosclerosis (thickening and hardening) of the vascular system can be reduced and completely eliminated through a plant based vegan style diet. Atherosclerosis which is the leading cause of coronary heart disease and heart attack is associated with a high meat, starch and processed food lifestyle. Reversing this condition is simple and non-invasive.

If you are suffering from atherosclerosis or coronary heart disease, contact your local Naturopath or Nutritional Medicine Practitioner for assistance in changing your current diet and lifestyle to begin reducing the associated risk factors. A Naturopath or Herbalist can also provide and recommend a focused herbal regime to help return you to a place of health and wellness.