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Key Information About Atherosclerosis

Updated on May 10, 2024
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Srikanth strongly believes that prevention is better than cure. He is of the opinion that awareness is a key to prevent diseases.

Narrowing of Arteries

Atherosclerosis is the narrowing of arteries because of plaque buildup. Plaque is usually made up of cholesterol, fatty substances, cellular waste products, calcium and fibrin.

Progressive Disease

Atherosclerosis is a slow, progressive disease that may start as early as childhood. However, it can progress rapidly.


Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons | Source


Hypertension, obesity, inflammation due to conditions like lupus, and high cholesterol levels are known to cause atherosclerosis.

A new study in experimental mice indicates that a high-fat diet causes atherosclerosis.

This study by researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) was published in July 2021 in JACC Basic To Translational Science.

A study conducted in Sweden found that about 42 percent of the participants without known heart disease or symptoms had fatty deposits in the arteries of their heart, which experts call atherosclerosis.

In June 2022, research scientists in a study published in BMC Cardiovascular Disorders showed an independent association between triglyceride glucose index and subclinical atherosclerosis in healthy adults.

A unique Mount Sinai study (conducted in July 2022) focused on a multi-ethnic, underserved community in New York City, indicated that young Black adults are twice as likely to have atherosclerosis as similarly situated young Hispanic adults.

Younger women with previous preeclampsia are at a slightly higher risk of coronary atherosclerosis compared with women in the general population, states a study conducted in August 2022 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

In January 2023, a team at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares, working in collaboration with institutes in the United States of America, demonstrated that acquired mutations in the gene encoding the protein p53 contribute to the development of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

During a research study conducted at Leiden University in February 2023, a combination of two sequencing techniques unveiled features of a subpopulation of cells that could be producing plaques in atherosclerosis. This process is associated with an autoimmune component driven by CD4+ T cells.

Animal studies fairly consistently show that higher protein diets are associated with more atherosclerosis. And some, but by no means all, epidemiologic studies in humans also show a link between protein intake and heart disease.

Obesity May Cause Atherosclerosis



Pain in the upper body, shortness of breath, pressure in the upper body, and irregular heartbeat are some symptoms of atherosclerosis.


A research study conducted in July 2022 by Rabia Akilli and her team determined that UMC is a standalone predictor of atherosclerosis risk. Findings of this study were published in Menopause.


Diagnosis is based upon a physical examination, ECG, and exercise stress test, among others.


In December 2022, FDA granted 510(k) clearance to Aorta-CAD (Imagen Technologies), a cloud-based software device which employs deep learning capabilities to help detect aortic atherosclerosis and aortic ectasia on chest X-rays.

Imagen Technologies said the computer-assisted detection device creates annotations that alert doctors to findings on chest X-rays that may be indicative of atherosclerosis.

A clinical trial of the Aorta-CAD device revealed a 35 percent reduction of missed diagnoses for dilated aorta, a finding that suggests aortic ectasia, and a 62 percent reduction of missed diagnoses for aortic calcification, which can be associated with aortic atherosclerosis, according to Imagen Technologies.

“Aorta-CAD assists the physician to have a consistent and repeatable process to look into the cardiac silhouette providing additional information to enhance the patient’s treatment plans and care,” noted Scott Howell, chief medical officer for Imagen Technologies.



Cholesterol-lowering statins keep atherosclerosis from getting worse. They pull cholesterol out of artery-clogging plaque.

Antiplatelet Medicine

An antiplatelet medication such as aspirin or clopidogrel (Plavix) may be prescribed to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.

"Carotid endarterectomy and carotid artery stenting are the main methods for treatment of carotid artery stenosis. Changes of postoperative vascular structure and fluid mechanics are important for restenosis, so determining how to minimize risk factors of postoperative flow is important for improving the therapeutic effect," said Zhiyong Song, University of Science and Technology, Beijing.

It is well established that natto intake is inversely correlated with cardiovascular disease mortality in Japanese adults. In addition, nattokinase, the primary active enzyme in natto, has been shown to inhibit the progression of atherosclerosis. Thus, it is unequivocal that natto has anti-atherosclerotic effects.

Meditation Reduces the Risk of Atherosclerosis



Do not use tobacco products. Do yoga daily. Asanas (postures) like Parsva Sukhasana (easy side stretch) keep the arteries healthy.


Meditate to beat stress. Get regular checkups. Have your healthcare provider check your blood pressure and cholesterol.

Results of research headed by a team at Albert Einstein College of Medicine suggest that revving up a cellular housekeeping process that slows down as we age may protect against atherosclerosis.

In March 2022, Ana Maria Cuervo, MD, PhD, and colleagues successfully minimized artery-narrowing plaque in mice that would otherwise develop those lesions, by boosting chaperone-mediated autophagy.

Do you practice yoga?

See results


Atherosclerosis cannot be reversed once it has occurred. However, lifestyle changes and treatment of high cholesterol levels slow the process from becoming worse.

Stopping smoking, following a healthy diet, managing cholesterol and staying physically active all decrease the risk of atherosclerosis and improve your overall health.

— Dr Laura M Drudi

Role of T Cells

In a research study, scientists at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology show that certain T lymphocytes that start out trying to fight the disease can end up increasing inflammation and making atherosclerosis cases even worse.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Srikanth R


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