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New Treatment for Atherosclerosis?
Atherosclerosis clogs the arteries and can lead to a number of cardiovascular problems. A clinical trial could now pave the way for a new treatment that reduces the occurrence of arteriosclerosis.
The University of Iowa researchers found that effective treatment for early atherosclerosis is possible. Your findings can open up new approaches to prevention and therapy. The doctors published the results of their research work in the English-language journal "Journal of the American Heart Association".
B-lipoproteins play an important role
The key to the new type of treatment could be so-called B-lipoproteins in young people and middle-aged adults, says study author Professor Dr. Jennifer G. Robinson from the University of Iowa. These blood proteins (also called apolipoprotein B) include low-density lipoprotein (LDL), often referred to as unhealthy cholesterol. The experts explain that LDL and other B-lipoproteins are among the leading causes of atherosclerosis.
Can Atherosclerosis Be Undone?
Lowering these blood proteins can have a huge impact on how atherosclerosis develops. With their help, the likelihood of heart attacks and strokes could be massively reduced if the symptoms of atherosclerosis can be reversed, explains Professor Dr. Robinson.
Can statins and PCSK9 inhibitors reverse atherosclerosis?
A study that is now being planned aims to test whether it is possible to reverse atherosclerosis in high-risk patients aged 25 to 55 if they take statins and PCSK9 inhibitors over a period of three years. Both statins and PCSK9 inhibitors lower LDL cholesterol in the blood. For example, the cholesterol should be kept very low for a short time in order to dissolve all of the early cholesterol build-up and allow the arteries to heal. This method of treatment has already been successful in animal experiments. Patients may need to be re-treated every one or two decades when atherosclerosis begins to develop again, the experts say.
What are plaques made of?
Atherosclerosis, in which plaques accumulate in the arteries, blocks blood flow and prevents oxygen-rich blood from flowing through the blood vessels to supply the rest of the body. The plaques consist of various substances in the blood, such as fat, cholesterol and calcium. Over time, these plaques begin to harden and accumulate on the walls of the vessels. When they do this, they narrow the arteries, the doctors explain. This means that affected supply regions in the body no longer get as much oxygen-rich blood as they actually need, which can have serious consequences, including potentially fatal heart attacks and strokes.
This is how you can reduce your risk of atherosclerosis
There are some risk factors for atherosclerosis that people can control themselves, including unhealthy blood cholesterol. High LDL levels and low concentrations of high-density lipoprotein or healthy cholesterol are among the main causes of the disease. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, smoking, insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity and a lack of physical activity. An unhealthy diet can also be a factor, especially for people who eat a lot of foods that are high in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium and sugar. (as)