Excess fat in my arteries

All Woman

Dear Donovan

Please can you advise me how to get rid of excess fat in the walls of the arteries of my heart, as I have been told the thickness of the walls in my arteries is causing problems with my heart's blood flow. The walls are too narrow for my heart to pump blood around my circulatory system.

Please, can you help?

Coronary heart disease, or coronary artery disease, is a build-up of fat and cholesterol in the arteries that supply blood, oxygen and nutrients to the heart. This deposit, commonly called plaque, grows slowly over a number of years and can sometimes become hardened with fibrous tissue or calcium. The arteries are usually smooth and elastic; however, when there is a build-up of plaque they can become stiff and narrow. This can slow blood flow to the heart muscle thus reducing its oxygen supply.

Eventually, the decreased blood supply may cause chest pain(angina), shortness of breath, or other signs and symptoms of coronary artery disease. In addition, the plaque could also break off causing a heart attack.

Plaque makes the inner wall of the blood vessels sticky, which can cause the attachment of inflammatory cells, lipoproteins and calcium as these substances pass through the arteries. Over time, these substances, along with cholesterol, build up on the walls of the arteries.

Damage may be caused by several factors — for example, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and a sedentary lifestyle. Once the wall is damaged, fatty deposits tend to accumulate at the site of injury. This process is called atherosclerosis.

In your case, it is important to reduce or control the risk factors for coronary artery disease in order to reduce the chance of heart attack or stroke. A point to note is that your treatment will depend on your current health condition, risk factors and your overall well-being. For example, your doctor may prescribe medication to treat high blood pressure and diabetes if you have those. Overall, a healthy lifestyle can go a far way in the treatment of coronary artery disease. The same lifestyle habits that can help to treat coronary artery disease can also help to prevent it. Living a healthy lifestyle can help to keep your arteries strong and clear of any plaque.

To improve your health, the following should be done where it applies to you — quit smoking and control conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Staying physically active is also important, as well as eating a low-fat, low-sodium diet that is rich in vegetables and whole grains. It is also important to maintain a healthy weight and reduce stress. It is important for you to make these lifestyle changes and also to see your doctor on a regular basis.

Good luck!

We will answer your weight-related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years' experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, 39 Lady Musgrave Road. Call him at 876-286-1363. E-mail questions to clarkep@jamaicaobserver.com.

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