One Step Closer to Eliminating Clogged Arteries
Atherosclerosis is the hardening and clogging of arteries. It can decrease blood flow and lead to serious complications. In fact, atherosclerosis is the primary cause of heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease, which kills hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. There has been a longtime decline in cardiovascular deaths, however, according to a new report in the Journal of American Heart Association, that decline has ended. To make things worse, heart disease is now increasing in the U.S. This is often blamed on poor eating habits and the increased rate of diabetes among Americans. If nothing changes, it is projected that by 2035, almost half of Americans will suffer from some sort of cardiovascular disease. This epidemic will end up costing Americans over $1.1 trillion annually.
So far, the only solutions for preventing heart disease have been to get regular exercise and eat properly, but what if there was something more we could do to prevent atherosclerosis before it becomes deadly? A new study is proposing a treatment to do just that.
New Report Proposes Clinical Trial
On October 4, a report was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association that proposes a clinical trial to reduce the risk of clogged arteries in adults from 20-55 years of age. This new trial will target B lipoproteins, or “bad cholesterol,” which is considered an early cause of atherosclerosis. According to Dr. Jennifer G Robinson, the director of the Prevention Intervention Center at the University of Iowa, the study would focus on lowering cholesterol dramatically for a short period of time to allow any cholesterol buildup to dissolve. This will give the arteries a chance to heal and let healthy blood flow continue. The treatment may need to be repeated every 10-20 years if the arteries continue to clog over time.
New Trial Could Face Challenges
While this study could result in major advancements in the cardiovascular field, this clinical trial may take decades to complete and might face some challenges along the way. According to Dr. John Wilkins, a cardiologist and assistant professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, “Atherosclerosis develops over decades. It’s going to be very difficult to conclusively link a treatment strategy in people in their 30s or 40s to a reduction in risk 20 or 30 years later. You would have to treat people and then follow them for 20 to 30 years…”
Wilkins also suggests it will be challenging to recruit seemingly healthy young adults to take place in such a lengthy study.
What You Can Do Now
It may come with difficulties, but this new treatment has the potential to eradicate heart disease by catching it in its early stages by repairing arteries as they go.
For now, the Journal of American Heart Association encourages everyone to continue eating heart-healthy foods and enjoying regular exercise, as no treatment can replace caring for your arteries on a daily basis. However, we look forward to the progress being made in cardiovascular health.