Arteriosclerosis is a disease process that occurs in arteries throughout the body. Overtime, areas of arteriosclerosis can show large amounts of fat accumulation, often with numerous cholesterol crystals, areas of calcification, and large amounts of fibrous scar tissue.


Hydrogenated oils play a key role in increasing your risk of arteriosclerosis.


Preventing Arteriosclerosis

Prevention of arteriosclerosis, heart attack and stroke are key issues for anyone who is health-conscious. As reviewed above, avoiding smoking, getting plenty of exercise, trying to stay trim, and seeking treatment for high blood pressure and diabetes have all been identified as important to reduce the chance of developing coronary arteriosclerosis and for arteriosclerosis treatment everywhere in the body. Reducing circulating cholesterol levels is also considered important. But recently, another issue has been found to be extremely important, probably more important than all the other issues so far discussed, namely ingestion of partially hydrogenated oils, also known as trans fats. Although the role of hydrogenated oils (trans fats) has been discussed in the scientific literature for more than 50 years, it was only after the publication of the Nurses Health Study by a research group at the Harvard School of Public Health in 1997 did it become clear how much consumption of trans fats increased the risk of developing arteriosclerosis. As described in detail in Heart Attack and Stroke: The Science of a Man-Made Health Catastrophe, trans fats adversely affect the balance between blood coagulation and the body's ability to remove blood clots, namely fibrinolysis. The reason for this adverse effect of trans fats is that these substances subtly interfere with the body's ability to produce a large group of regulator substances called prostaglandins. One of these prostaglandins, prostacyclin, is the body's main controlling mediator of fibrinolysis, the body's ability to dissolve blood clots. This subtle interference by trans fats ultimately results in the decreased production of prostacyclin. This eventually produces the long-term damage to the blood vessel wall resulting in conditions that allow arteriosclerosis to develop.

Diet and the Prevention of Arteriosclerosis

All of the current recommendations for reducing your risk of developing vascular disease do help to reduce your risk suffering a heart attack or a stroke. But, the recommendations given in the medical literature today have one glaring omission. By the mechanism of disease presented in Heart Attack and Stroke: The Science of a Man-Made Health Catastrophe, it becomes clear that you cannot reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke to zero unless you completely eliminate any hydrogenated oils from your diet. And there are other dietary changes, none extreme and out of reach, which can also help push your risk toward zero.