So what has Dr D found out about arterial plaque?
Whilst at the cardiology clinic I met someone who actually needs one more coronary artery bypassing than me! During the longish wait we found we had quite a bit in common and chat every week or two via email or phone. A few weeks ago he found out that someone he knows was down for a stent about nine years ago but it never happened and he has improved. So what happened?
The mantra from most GPs and consultants is that high cholesterol causes arterial plaque and that, their beloved, statins are a miracle drug that prevents this. However, I have never had high cholesterol but am awaiting a bypass and yet others with above average cholesterol have no issues with furring of the arteries. My highest ever was 4.2 and is currently 3.5 on atorvastatin. I have been on them for seven years since I was diagnosed with a circulation problem in my left leg and the vascular surgeon would not see me unless I took statins. At that time apart from cramps in the leg when I tried to walk any distance or up more than one flight of stairs I felt fine and had plenty of energy. Now I really struggle and have been diagnosed with furred coronary arteries despite taking the “wonder drug” statins!
Also the first arteries that first display signs of arterial plaque are the largest – the coronary and femoral arteries. What is different about them? They have the strongest pulses; i.e. under most strain! Another observation is that the problem is also associated with inflammation – more common with diabetes, gum disease and various other illnesses/diseases. The theory is that cholesterol is laid down to try and repair the damage. So the body in protecting itself is causing further damage elsewhere. If you think back to your history lessons at one time scurvy was a disease that affected sailors. This is a disease of the blood vessels and it was found to be prevented by Vitamin C – limes. So the thought is that Vitamin C may prevent plaque build up in some people. The person I mentioned takes daily Vitamin C and has to date not been stented but has found his health has improved. Even if you have your 5-a-day you may not get the recommend dose of Vitamin C because it goes down during storage/transportation. I now take Vitamin C (as absorbic acid) daily; just the RDA not an overdose. No idea if it is helping but as I see it it can do no harm. I will let you make up your own mind!
P.S. Sorry for the delay - a family member was rushed to hospital with septicaemia last week!