Natural Therapies for Atherosclerosis

alternative medicine for atherosclerosis

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In This Article

Atherosclerosis (also known as arteriosclerosis) is a disease marked by the buildup of fatty plaques on in the insides of your arteries. This plaque buildup is sometimes referred to as "clogged arteries" or "hardening of the arteries."

As plaque accumulates and hardens over time, it can narrow your arteries and restrict the blood flow to your heart (as well as other parts of the body). Clogged arteries may result in heart attack, stroke, or even death. Atherosclerosis may also lead to a number of serious diseases, including coronary artery disease, carotid artery disease, and peripheral arterial disease.

Signs and Symptoms

Atherosclerosis often produces no signs or symptoms until blood flow becomes blocked and results in a medical emergency. However, in cases of reduced blood flow to the heart, individuals may experience angina (chest pain that occurs when your heart isn't receiving enough blood), shortness of breath, and/or irregular heartbeats.

Natural Therapies

If you're seeking to manage atherosclerosis with any type of natural therapy, make sure to consult your physician before beginning treatment. It's also important to tell your doctor if you develop any new symptoms, or if your symptoms worsen.

Although little is known about the use of natural remedies in the treatment of atherosclerosis, studies suggest that the following natural substances and therapies may be helpful for people looking to manage this disease.

1) Yoga: A 2013 study showed that a regular yoga and meditation practice significantly reduces early atherosclerosis. It also shows promise in improving lipids, BMI, and blood pressure.

2) Hawthorn: An herbal remedy said to boost heart health, hawthorn was found to have anti-atherosclerosis properties in a 2014 study, possibly due to its ability to lower inflammation.

3) Omega-3 Fatty Acids: According to recent studies, taking omega-3 fatty acids may inhibit atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular conditions through anti-inflammatory mechanisms.

Available in supplement form, omega-3s are also found naturally in oily fish like salmon and mackerel.

Causes

Atherosclerosis occurs when fat, cholesterol, and other substances accumulate in the walls of the arteries. The following factors may increase your risk for this condition:

Prevention

In many cases, the following lifestyle changes may be recommended:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Following a healthy diet
  • Smoking cessation
  • Reducing stress

A Word From Verywell

Due to the limited research, it's too soon to recommend alternative medicine for atherosclerosis treatment. It's also important to note that self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you're considering using alternative medicine, make sure to consult your physician first.

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Article Sources
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  1. NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Atherosclerosis.

  2. Manchanda SC, Mehrotra UC, Makhija A, Mohanty A, Dhawan S and Sawhney JPS. Reversal of early atherosclerosis in metabolic syndrome by yoga – a randomized controlled trial. J Yoga Phys Ther. 2013;03(01). doi:10.4172/2157-7595.1000132

  3. Liu LT, Zheng GJ, Zhang WG, Guo G, Wu M. Clinical study on treatment of carotid atherosclerosis with extraction of polygoni cuspidati rhizoma et radix and crataegi fructus: a randomized controlled trial. Zhongguo Zhong yao za zhi = Zhongguo zhongyao zazhi = China journal of Chinese materia medica. 2014;39(6):1115-9. 

  4. Bäck M, Hansson GK. Omega-3 fatty acids, cardiovascular risk, and the resolution of inflammation. The FASEB Journal. 2019;33(2):1536-1539. doi:10.1096/fj.201802445R

  5. Yao B, Meng L, Hao M, Zhang Y, Gong T, Guo Z. Chronic stress: a critical risk factor for atherosclerosis. J Int Med Res. 2019;47(4):1429-1440. doi:10.1177/0300060519826820

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