Angina ,the Pain in the chest which some people get with Exercise , is explained in a similar way. The Coronary Arteries in most angina sufferers are so affected by plaques of atheroma that they are much narrower than normal. This means that enough oxygen and glucose is being provided to their heart muscle when they are resting, but as soon as they need to ‘step up a gear’ for exercise, the narrowed arteries cannot expand enough to cope. The heart runs out of oxygen and glucose and starts to complain. The result is the familiar pain , which will stop with rest as the demand for oxygen and glucose recedes again.
The process can be likened to a car engine. it needs a mixture of air and petrol for the fuel to burn correctly and the energy to be used efficiently. For the heart to work , read oxygen for air , and glucose for petrol. Block the fuel pipe – the Coronary arteries – and the machine will not work
Happily there are ways in which anyone can lower his or her LDL-Cholesterol levels, and which directly lower the risk of heart attack. Atheroma is reversible, and its reversibility largely depends on ourselves. We can adopt a lifestyle that has been proved to do so- which means eating healthily , taking exercise and stopping smoking . over, say , five years the athermanous plaques will start to shrink and the arteries will become more flexible again. The secret is to make the change for the rest of your life. And for the small number of people whose atheroma is inherited, there are corrective drugs.
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