A Whole New Meaning of Fatty Arteries

By: Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

A new study shows that fat around your arteries1 is a direct predictor of plaque within your arteries.  This is cutting edge cardiovascular research with far reaching implications.  Normally when we think of clogged arteries we think of fatty gunk building up inside the arteries.  However, many people lack symptoms of such clogged arteries in terms of shortness of breath or pain, meaning they have no warning of an impending problem and so don’t think there is one.

Fat around the outside of the arteries was never given much thought until recently.  It has always been viewed as part of the natural structure of the arteries and it was not thought to be involved with the plaque forming process.  The new era of molecular science has changed this concept.  It has now been shown that as your waistline expands the volume of fat surrounding your arteries increases.  This causes more macrophages to enter the new fat neighborhood and begin secreting inflammation that directly induces stress to the inside of your arteries.  In the new study this process was shown to be a key independent risk factor for heart disease.

This means that people whose waistlines are more than one-half their height need to aggressively lose weight to shrink the fat mass around their arteries that is most certainly contributing to cardiovascular wear and tear.  Furthermore, many people with this problem may not have any specific major cardiovascular symptoms – although it is likely that they feel more tired more often, more prone to aches and pains, may have slightly elevated blood pressure, and may feel they are prone to sliding in the direction of a wear and tear feeling.  However, they may feel otherwise healthy and may even be quite active – not realizing that they are actually developing “silent” cardiovascular problems.

This new study is reflective of cutting edge understanding of new cardiovascular information (don’t expect your doctor to know anything about it).

Referenced Studies:
  1. ^ Fat Around Arteries is a Major Problem  Obesity (Silver Spring).   Ding J, Kritchevsky SB, Harris TB, Burke GL, Detrano RC, Szklo M, Jeffrey Carr J.

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