While some progress in the battle against heart attack and stroke has been made in recent years the numbers are still quite sobering with statistics supplied by the American Heart Association stating that coronary heart disease alone currently accounts for 1 of every 6 deaths in the United States.
Additionally it is estimated that every 34 seconds, 1 American has a coronary event, and approximately every 1 minute, an American will die of one.
That means if it takes you 5 minutes to read this article there will have been 5 deaths and just slightly less than 10 coronary events, some of which will have occurred without warning.
Hopefully you are not one of them!
One could make the argument that part of the reason why the number of heart attacks, strokes, and coronary events has not declined more dramatically is a general misunderstanding of the cause, and how and why that cause occurs.
Additionally, the reliance of cholesterol lowering statin drugs to save the day could be another contributing factor as recent research tells us statin medications tend to only produce statistically significant results for individuals in certain high risk categories.
Getting Down To Basics
Statistical research compiled by the AHA tells us that 75 percent of all heart attacks and 87 percent of stokes are classified as Ischemic which means they are caused by arterial blood clots which block blood flow formed either at the site of the blockage (Cerebral thrombosis) or elsewhere (Cerebral embolism).
As you can see the potentially serious health event we refer to as a heart attack or stroke is really more of an artery issue that produces an outcome.
Artery Health and Why It Matters
Put simply healthy plaque free arteries translates into low risk for heart attack or stroke while poor artery health translates into high risk for heart attack or stroke.
The National Library of Medicine lists the primary contributing factors for poor artery health as family history, diabetes, smoking, and high blood pressure with the bottom line cause being plaque deposit formation triggered by inflammation.
In theory if we were to keep the inner lining of our arteries healthy and plaque free we should be able to almost completely eliminate the risk for heart attack and stroke.
The point I am trying to make here is that by thinking about the cause, and trying to prevent it, rather than the outcome (heart attack or stroke) we all will be taking a step in right direction on the road to broad based cardiovascular health and prevention.
So if you accept the science that deterioration in artery health greatly increases the risk of heart attack and stroke then the next thing we need to find out is what can be done to protect our arteries from current dangers and possible reverse existing damage.
Natural Herbs and Remedies May Help
From a natural health perspective there are a number of herbs that seem to be able to promote artery health with garlic and hawthorn considered by most to be two of the best.
*Garlic can prevent and treat plaque buildup in the arteries. Clinical trials seem to indicate that consuming fresh garlic or taking garlic supplements can lower cholesterol levels, prevent blood clots and destroy plaque according to information published by the University of Maryland Medical Center.
*Additionally, The University of Maryland Medical Center tells us that taking the herb hawthorn in a wide range of dosages (up to 1800 mg per day) can help prevent plaque formation in arteries, lower high cholesterol and lower high blood pressure. Hawthorn may help regulate the heartbeat and dilate blood vessels.
*There is some suggestion that omega 3 supplements such as fish oil and krill oil may help overall cardiovascular health while vitamin B12 may protect us from dangerous amino acids known as homocysteins.
If you are concerned about artery health and haven’t heard of homocysteins it might be and area of cardiovascular research worth learning more about.