Arteriosclerosis and Atherosclerosis – Treatment Programs!

ArteriosclerosisAccording to the American Heart Association, arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis account for nearly 75% of all deaths from heart disease! To have a significant impact on reducing the number one killer of people worldwide, it would make sense to focus on treatment programs that address these cardiovascular diseases.

As I gathered data for this article many of the websites made the following comment – “The exact cause of arteriosclerosis is not known.”

This author would like to disagree with that statement.


The exact cause of arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis is known!

It is damage to the endothelial cells that line all of your cardiovascular system, which reduces their ability to properly produce nitric oxide, the master signaling molecule of the cardiovascular system. Nitric oxide is key to cardiovascular health. According to Dr. Louis J. Ignarro, the 1998 Nobel Laureate in Medicine,

NO – as it is known by chemists – is produced by the body specifically to help keep arteries and veins free of the plaque that causes stroke and to maintain normal blood pressure by relaxing the arteries, thereby regulating the rate of blood flow and preventing coronaries. Nitric oxide is the body’s natural cardiovascular wonder drug.”

If you look closely at Dr. Ignarro’s statement you will notice the following significant phrase: “. . . specifically to help keep arteries and veins free of the plaque that causes stroke. . .” Plaque formation is at the heart of atherosclerosis. Calcification of these plaque formations lead to arteriosclerosis.

The “natural cardiovascular wonder drug” Dr. Ignarro was referring to is nitric oxide, which is produced by the endothelial cells from two important amino acids: L-arginine and L-citrulline. Nitric oxide can specifically prevent both arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis. Many researchers would also suggest that the proper production of nitric oxide, by your endothelial cells, can reverse both of these cardiovascular diseases.

The following is a review of many of the treatment programs for arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis. These treatment programs can be broken down into two major categories: self-care at home and medical treatment. The overall goals of these treatment programs are to reduce symptoms and prevent the progression of the disease so that potential blockages can be prevented. But, the question remains:

Is there a better treatment program and can it actually reverse arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis?”

We’ll examine this after we look at the standard treatment programs usually recommended to patients diagnosed with arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis.

Self-Care at Home Treatment Programs!

Self-care treatment programs typically mean lifestyle changes. Let’s look at each of these lifestyle changes in relationship to their effects on the endothelial cells and the production of nitric oxide:

  1. Eat food that is low in saturated fats and low in cholesterol. This is a big topic but in its simplest terms LDL cholesterol (Bad Cholesterol) can damage your endothelial cells leading to plaque formations.

  2. Restrict salt intake especially if you have high blood pressure. Again this is a big topic because it only focuses on one mineral: sodium. Also important to this equation is potassium, magnesium, and calcium for proper cardiovascular metabolism.

  3. Increase the consumption of high fiber foods especially vegetables and fruits. High fiber foods help to absorb bile salts that your body uses in digestion. Your liver manufactures bile from cholesterol. Thus, high fiber foods are a natural way to reduce LDL cholesterol, which reduces the potential damage they can cause to your endothelial cells. Also, vegetables and fruits have little sodium but are high in potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which helps maintain proper cardiovascular metabolism.

  4. Quit smoking. This habit has major effects on your cardiovascular system, especially your endothelial cells. Nicotine damages endothelial cells. Cigarette smoking decreases “Good” cholesterol that helps to protect your endothelial cells and increases the “Bad” cholesterol that damages your endothelial cells. The carbon monoxide produced from cigarette smoking also damages endothelial cells and can facilitate plaque formation. Plus, smoking constricts arteries leading to an increased risk of blockages.

  5. Lose weight if overweight or obese. Fat cells absorb and store Vitamin D. Vitamin D inhibits vascular calcification. Vascular calcification is at the heart of arteriosclerosis. Thus, losing weight releases needed Vitamin D back into your system and improves your body’s ability to utilize Vitamin D to reduce multiple risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

  6. Mild to moderate exercise under the supervision of a health care provider. Exercise increases blood flow. Increased blood flow stimulates the endothelial cells to produce nitric oxide.

  7. Maintain normal blood glucose (sugar) levels. When blood glucose is above the normal range it causes oxidative stress to the endothelial cells resulting in damage and a reduction in nitric oxide production.

Medical Treatment Programs

Medical treatment programs usually center on prescription drugs, surgical procedures, or a combination of both to either reduce the risk or repair existing damage to the vascular system. While this list is not exhaustive it does include many of the more prominent treatment programs. Let’s look at each in relationship to the endothelial cells and nitric oxide production.

  1. Taking drugs to normalize blood pressure. High blood pressure can damage the endothelial cells. Yet, learning how to naturally nourish your endothelial cells to improve their ability to produce nitric oxide can also normalize blood pressure but without the side effects of medications.

  2. Taking drugs to normalize blood sugar levels. This is especially important for those with diabetes. But, equally important is having in place a nutritional program that will help to repair the damage high blood sugar can cause the endothelial cells.

  3. Taking drugs to lower lipid levels. Statin drugs are the most commonly used lipid-lowering drugs because they effectively interfere with the production of cholesterol by your liver. Unfortunately, they also interfere with the creation of Co-Q10 which is extremely important for heart health and overall energy production. The main purpose of statin drugs is to keep LDL Cholesterol or Bad Cholesterol from damaging the endothelial cells. The proper production of nitric oxide can also repair this damage and keep the “Bad” cholesterol from creating damage in the first place.

  4. Aspirin inhibits sticky platelets cells from forming a blood clot. Nitric oxide also keeps blood platelet cells from sticking together but without the potential risk for bleeding.

  5. Balloon angioplasty. To open blocked or narrowed vascular vessels a balloon-tipped catheter is inserted into the body. When the narrowed vascular area is reached the balloon is inflated to press the plaque deposit against the vascular wall. This procedure is designed to increase the diameter of the affected area to improve blood flow. The concern is that the balloon procedure will damage the endothelial cells creating a stimulus for additional scarring and plaque formation. This procedure treats a symptom but doesn’t solve the underlying problem.

  6. Stenting. Following angioplasty a metal tube called a stent will be placed in the vascular area to help keep it open. The stent acts as a scaffold to support the vascular wall. To prevent additional complications from the endothelium and blood clotting on the metal surface, patient are asked to take specific drugs. Again, this procedure treats a symptom but doesn’t solve the underlying problem.

  7. Bypass surgery. This surgical procedure uses arteries or veins from other areas of the person’s body to bypass the blocked vascular area to improve blood flow. Again, this procedure treats the life-threatening event but doesn’t solve the underlying problem.

All of these treatment programs are important. Most of the self-care at home treatment programs help to protect and nourish the endothelial cells. Most of the medical treatment programs limit additional damage to the endothelial cells or are used to correct a problematic area of the vascular system. No one is questioning the proper use in helping to reduce risk and/or save a person’s life from the arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis.

But, the question still remains is:

Is there a better treatment program and can it actually reverse arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis?”

The answer is “YES!”

It all centers on nourishing and repairing the endothelial cells to improve their ability to properly product nitric oxide, the master signaling molecule of the cardiovascular system or what Dr. Ignarro refers to as “the body’s natural cardiovascular wonder drug.” We’ll explore this in future articles.

Together we can work to save a million lives!

Dan Hammer

Dan@agingnomore.com

630-936-8079

Dan Hammer has a background in biology, chemistry, and exercise physiology. He used to run one of the largest health club operations in the Chicagoland area and has been helping people with their wellness issues for more than 25 years.

The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam. The information about Arteriosclerosis and Atherosclerosis contained in this article has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.

Arteriosclerosis and Atherosclerosis – General Overview!

AtherosclerosisThere is a lot of confusion between arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis but one thing is certain, combined they account for nearly 75% of all deaths from heart disease! This unpleasant statistic comes from the American Heart Association 2004 Heart and Stroke Statistical Update. In the United States alone, approximately 1.5 million heart attacks occur annually.

The vast majority of these heart attacks are

caused by complications associated with

arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis.


Most people are familiar with heart attacks or strokes. You likely have a family member or friend who either suffers from the consequences of one or has died due to one. Because of this a great deal of emphasis is placed on preventing heart attacks and strokes. While this is important, the real emphasis should be put upon preventing arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis because they are the underlying cause of heart attacks and strokes.

To best address this problem we need to clearly define arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis. Arteriosclerosis commonly refers to those diseases in which the arterial wall thickens and loses its elasticity. Atherosclerosis is one of those diseases. More specifically atherosclerosis refers to the formation of plaque-like deposits consisting of cholesterol and other substances on the arterial walls. These deposits become hardened by fibrous tissue and calcification. This can lead to arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. For simplicity the following definitions will be used:

  • Arteriosclerosis is any disease process that leads to the abnormal thickening and hardening of the arterial walls.

  • Atherosclerosis is the disease process that causes plaque formations to develop on the interior surface of the arterial walls.

Both arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis cause problems and complication to blood flow. Arteriosclerosis reduces the elasticity of the vascular wall leading to high blood pressure. Atherosclerosis reduces the interior space of the artery leading to reduced blood flow. Reduced blood flow reduces the ability of your cardiovascular system to deliver needed oxygen and nutrients as well as remove waste products from cellular respiration. This then affects the organs’ ability to function optimally.

The most common arteries affected are those in the brain, heart, kidneys, abdominal aorta, carotid artery, and legs. This can then lead to a whole host of symptoms like leg pain, muscular weakness, numbness, cramps, dizziness, chest pain, poor wound healing, and erectile dysfunction.

As atherosclerosis progresses in its narrowing of the arterial space it not only reduces blood flow but it also increases the potential for blood clots to form as well as plaque-like deposits breaking off. This can then cause complete blockages resulting in the common life-threatening diseases we call heart attacks and strokes.

Both arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis are progressive diseases. This means that they didn’t develop over a short period of time like an infection but they develop over a long period of time. For many in the United States, this disease process can start in early childhood and progressively become more severe as the person ages.

Risk Factors That Can Lead to Arteriosclerosis and Atherosclerosis!

There are certain risk factors that contribute to the development of both arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis. These risk factors are commonly categorized as “those that can be changed” and “those that cannot”. Here are the risk factors that can be changed:

  • High blood pressure

  • High cholesterol levels, especially LDL cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol commonly referred to as “Bad Cholesterol”

  • Cigarette smoking

  • Diabetes

  • Obesity

  • Lack of exercise

  • Western diet, which is excessive in saturated fat from meat, dairy products, eggs, and fast food combined with an inadequate intake in fruits, vegetables, and fish.

These are the risk factors that cannot be changed:

  • Advancing age

  • Being male unless you are a women who has reached menopause.

  • Have a family history of heart disease and stroke especially if it’s based on genetics.

  • African American since this population group has a historically high degree of high blood pressure and diabetes leading to premature stroke, heart attack, congestive heart failure, and death.

As I gathered data for this article many of the websites made the following comment – “The exact cause of arteriosclerosis is not known.”

This author would like to disagree with that statement.

The exact cause of arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis is known!

It is damage to the endothelial cells that line all of your cardiovascular system which reduces their ability to properly produce nitric oxide, the master signaling molecule of the cardiovascular system.

We will examine this statement and the standard treatment programs used for these cardiovascular diseases in our next article entitled “Arteriosclerosis and Atherosclerosis – Treatment Programs!”

Together we can work to save a million lives!

Dan Hammer

Dan Hammer has a background in biology, chemistry, and exercise physiology. He used to run one of the largest health club operations in the Chicagoland area and has been helping people with their wellness issues for more than 25 years.

The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam. The information about Atherosclerosis and Arteriosclerosis contained in this article has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.

Can Heart Attacks Be Prevented?

Heart AttackWhen I wrote the title for this post I immediately thought of my father who passed away in 1987 of a massive heart attack. He died while on a fishing trip in Minnesota. He was sitting in the cabin with his friends eating his favorite snack. Popcorn loaded with butter. He died at the young age of 67.

Like his father who died of a heart attack and his mom who died of a heart attack, he followed their pathway. Was it genetics and heredity that caused this event? Or, was it lifestyle and food choices? Most likely a combination of both with a greater emphasis on food choices.

Just like in 1987, as it is today, heart attacks and cardiovascular disease are still the number one killer of all people. So, the question is still the same:

Can a Heart Attack Be Prevented?

While the question remains the same the outcome can be significantly different!

Eleven years after my father’s death from a heart attack the 1998 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to three American researchers for their remarkable discovery of how the endothelial cells, which line all of your cardiovascular system, create nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is the master signaling molecule of the cardiovascular system and it has a huge impact on cardiovascular health.

One of those researchers who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine is Dr. Louis J. Ignarro. In his 2005 National Bestseller entitled NO More Heart Disease, Dr. Ignarro made the following statement:

NO – as it is known by chemists – is produced by the body specifically to help keep arteries and veins free of the plaque that causes stroke and to maintain normal blood pressure by relaxing the arteries, thereby regulating the rate of blood flow and preventing coronaries. Nitric oxide is the body’s natural cardiovascular wonder drug.”

Even before Dr. Ignarro’s Nobel Prize there was an event taking place that has significantly moved the discoveries made in the lab to practical clinical results in humans.

Let me introduce you to Dr. J. Joseph Prendergast or Dr. Joe as he prefers to call himself. Dr. Joe is a leading endocrinologist from Palo Alto, CA and a nationally acclaimed expert on L-arginine therapy. L-arginine is the amino acid your endothelial cells use to create nitric oxide, the master signaling molecule of your cardiovascular system.

Since 1991, Dr. Joe has been personally using L-arginine and recommending it to his patients. Through his close personal association with Dr. John Cooke at the Stanford School of Medicine’s Cardiovascular Research Center, Dr. Joe has been able to incorporate cutting edge vascular research done in the lab into actual patient care. True clinical application that has benefited thousands of his patients and tens of thousands of people around the world.

Dr. Joe’s clinical application of proper L-arginine therapy has benefited over 7,000 of his own patients resulting in less than 1% patient hospital admissions in 17 years. This is a phenomenal record especially then you realize that 80% of his patients are diabetics who typically have hospital admissions for cardiovascular issues. Because of this remarkable record the American Diabetes Association awarded Dr. Joe the Father of the Year Award in 2008.

Dr. Joe is the product formulator of ProArgi-9 Plus and it causes me to ask the question:

Would My Dad’s Heart Attack Have Been Prevented If He Had Access to ProArgi-9 Plus?

From all the clinical research I’ve seen and the people I’ve been able to help, I believe he would have greatly benefited from this product. It’s one of the reasons why I’m so passionate about ProArgi-9 Plus. I truly believe in this product and its ability to improve the cardiovascular health of every person.

To help you better understand how unique and powerful ProArgi-9 Plus is, I’ve created a webinar for you. Here is the link:

http://www.screencast.com/t/ZWY2MmYwOT

(Please note that the webinar presentation is 30 minutes long. Once you click on the arrow to start it, please give it 10-15 seconds to load. The remaining time is used to answer questions from those attending.)

Now you can understand why I believe so strongly in ProArgi-9 Plus. It is a remarkable product that has huge potential to benefit people. Especially those who have cardiovascular health issues.

Together we can work to save a million lives!

Dan Hammer

Dan Hammer has a background in biology, chemistry and exercise physiology. He used to run one of the largest health club operations in the Chicagoland area and has been helping people with their wellness issues for more than 25 years.

The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam. The information contained in this article about heart attack prevention has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.

The Need for L-Citrulline!

L-CitrullineWhat’s a picture of a watermelon have to do with L-citrulline? I’ll answer that in a little bit. Let’s first start with nitric oxide and L-arginine.

So much of the buzz about improved nitric oxide production centers on L-arginine. Unfortunately, many forget about L-citrulline. While L-arginine is the main amino acid used by the endothelial cells to create nitric oxide, some feel that L-citrulline is actually more important for long term nitric oxide production and improved cardiovascular health.

I bring this to your attention because I’m in the process of developing an educational module designed to help those with sickle cell anemia. One complication for those who have sickle cell anemia is the negative effects of the enzyme arginase.

Arginase is an enzyme located primarily in the liver. It is used to help complete the fifth and final step in the urea cycle. This urea cycle helps your body dispose of harmful ammonia. It is also found in the kidneys and prostate. Some research indicates that arginase is located in the mitochondria of most cells. The mitochondria are the portions of your cells that produce the bulk of your energy.

Arginase and Circulation!

While arginase has a useful role in the body it can also play a negative role in circulation. Why? Because arginase destroys L-arginine. Your endothelial cells convert the amino acid L-arginine to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is the master signaling molecule of your cardiovascular system. It regulates blood pressure, helps to improve blood flow, keeps blood platelet cells from sticking together, prevents LDL cholesterol from adhering to the vascular walls and is a factor in a host of other very important health issues.

Everyone carries arginase in their bloodstream which can have some affect on lowering nitric oxide production. This is a bigger problem in the African American community especially for those with sickle cell disease. Thankfully, your body has an alternative pathway that enables the endothelial cells to create nitric oxide. It’s through the amino acid L-citrulline.

How Important is L-citrulline?

Well, let me introduce you to Dr. Louis J. Ignarro to answer that question. Dr. Ignarro is the 1998 Nobel Laureate in Medicine. He, and two other American researchers, were awarded the Nobel Prize for their discovery of how the endothelial cells create nitric oxide (NO) from the essential amino acid L-arginine. In Dr. Ignarro’s book, NO More Heart Disease, he makes the following statement:

My research shows that if you take only L-arginine, which is the dominant producer of NO, you will not receive the maximum benefit. I have found that by including the synergistic partner L-citrulline, your ability to boost NO production is greatly enhanced over the effects of L-arginine alone.”

Your endothelial cells use an alternative pathway to convert L-citrulline to nitric oxide. This helps bypass the arginase enzyme so that good nitric oxide production can be restored. Plus, L-citrulline provides a 24 to 36 hour window for enhanced nitric oxide production whereas L-arginine by itself usually only has a 30 minute to 2 hour window of enhanced nitric oxide production.

This means that L-arginine can help start the process of nitric oxide production to improve circulation. Then the L-citrulline can take over to continue the improved nitric oxide production helping to maintain improved circulation.

Dr. Ignarro goes on to say, “Any supplement program that does not contain L-citrulline and antioxidants to augment the L-arginine – and most on the market do not – is missing out on a major piece of the potential of NO to improve your cardiovascular health.” This statement and the information I shared so far leads to two important questions:

What foods contain L-arginine and L-citrulline?

Is it better to get these critical amino acids through food or supplementation?

I’m preparing two new videos to help answers these questions and to visibly show you the best and most effective method for enhanced nitric oxide production. But the first question brings me back to the picture of the watermelon.

The Watermelon!

In March of 2007 there was a study published in the Journal of Nutrition. The article was entitled “Watermelon consumption increases plasma arginine concentrations in adults.” This article created a significant buzz on the internet because L-arginine is needed to produce nitric oxide which is needed for a male erection. In the media, watermelon became the new and natural Viagra. While this study didn’t examine the effects on male anatomy it did provide some very important information confirming the body’s ability to convert L-citrulline to L-arginine to improve nitric oxide production.

The study subjects were given either 780 grams (equivalent of 1 g of citrulline) of watermelon or 1560 grams (equivalent of 2 g of citrulline) of watermelon. The study lasted three weeks. At the end of the study the 780 grams of watermelon group saw a 12% increase in fasting plasma arginine concentrations. The 1560 grams of watermelon group saw a 22% increase when compared to a control group that received no watermelon.

This clearly shows that your body has an alternative pathway for creating the necessary L-arginine from the amino acid L-citrulline.

So, is eating watermelon an effective way to improve nitric oxide production?

Well, the 780 grams of watermelon is equal to 1.72 pounds. The 1560 grams of watermelon is equal to 3.43 pounds. That’s a lot of watermelon to eat even if you like it. Plus, it includes the rind, that thick green outer covering of the watermelon. I believe there’s an easier way to achieve an even better result. I’ll show you in one of my upcoming videos.

Together we can work to save a million lives!

Dan Hammer

Dan Hammer has a background in biology, chemistry and exercise physiology. He used to run one of the largest health club operations in the Chicagoland area and has been helping people with their wellness issues for more than 25 years.
The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam. The information contained in this article about L-Citrulline has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.