Natural Treatments for Arterial Plaque
By Dr. Mao Shing Ni
THE RESULT OF PLAQUE FORMATION in the arteries is a hardening of the blood vessels also known as atherosclerosis. This plaque is made up of cholesterol crystals and calcium deposits. Over time arterial plaque causes narrowing of the arteries, impairing blood flow. Accumulation of plaque can also lead to an aneurysm-the bulging and rupturing of a blood vessel, causing internal bleeding. Atherosclerosis is commonplace today, a result of stressful lifestyle combined with poor eating habits.
Unfortunately, because arterial plaque has no outward symptoms and signs, the condition is often discovered too late-with devastating consequences. In the United States in 2004 the first symptom of atherosclerosis experienced by 65 percent of men and 47 percent of women who had it was either heart attack or sudden death. A routine blood test for C-reactive protein (CRP) can reveal inflammation and potential plaque dangers. Metabolic disorders such as diabetes, blood sugar intolerance, high blood cholesterol, stress, obesity, inflammation, and high blood pressure can put you at risk for high levels of arterial plaque.
In Chinese medicine, we examine our patients through tongue and pulse diagnostic techniques. I recall seeing a young man in his late thirties who appeared to be in good health. When I examined his tongue, though, I saw that it was purplish with bulging veins underneath. His pulse was choppy, which indicated obstruction of blood flow. Because of family history-his father died of a heart attack at age forty-five-I sent him to a cardiologist for a full cardiovascular workup. His chest CT scan showed that he had 65percent occlusion or obstruction in his main coronary artery, the artery that supplies the muscles of the heart. In his case, diet and emotions played key roles in causing the obstruction of energy and blood flow.
In my approach to treating plaque buildup, I activate circulation and work to reduce inflammation with acupuncture, reduce dampness and mucus through diet and nutritional therapy, and reduce plaque and cholesterol with Chinese herbal therapy and exercise. Effective stress reduction is essential for promoting good cardiovascular health-I recommend meditation and tai chi. Here are some of my favorite home remedies to help maintain good cardiovascular health and clean arteries. If you experience severe pain in the chest, radiating to the shoulders or down the left arm, or severe shortness of breath, go to the emergency room immediately-these symptoms may signal a cardiac emergency.
DIET FOR ARTERIAL PLAQUE
HOME REMEDIES FOR ARTERIAL PLAQUE
DAILY SUPPLEMENTS FOR ARTERIAL PLAQUE
HERBAL THERAPY FOR ARTERIAL PLAQUE
Herbs can be found in health food or vitamin stores, online, and at the offices of Chinese medicine practitioners. Herbs should be used according to individual needs; consult with a licensed practitioner for a customized formulation. To learn more about the herbs listed here, go to www.askdrmao.com.
EXERCISE FOR ARTERIAL PLAQUE
Exercise is essential for promoting circulation and strengthening heart function. Thirty minutes of cardiovascular exercise every day will increase blood flow, optimize oxygen supply to the heart, and reduce arterial tension. It’s important to get your heart rate above 110 beats per minute to promote blood flow and improve circulation. Exercise also helps reduce cholesterol by increasing HDL - the good cholesterol. Swimming and brisk walking are both good choices.
QIGONG FOR ARTERIAL PLAQUE
Energy exercises like tai chi and the Eight Treasures Qi Gong have been found to improve cardiovascular health. In fact, doing an arm swing warm-up to tai chi and the Eight Treasures Qi Gong can make a noticeable difference. Here I describe the arm swing warm-up:
Do this exercise twice a day.
ACUPRESSURE FOR ARTERIAL PLAQUE
ARTERIAL PLAQUE: WHAT TO AVOID
©2015 Dr. Mao Shing Ni
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