Due to a question…
Let me explain the basic mechanism of calcium/ plaque buildup in the arteries.
1. Arteries are muscles with very smooth inside walls
2. Due to excess acid forming foods and deficiency in certain vitamins like C, erosion and micro-fissures of the inner lining (endothelium/ medial/ intima) develop along with the accompanying inflammation.
3. As the body detects a problem it sends in healing agents to fix, patch, reduce or eliminate the inflammation.
4. In the medial (the area between the intima (inner wall) and the adventitia (the outer wall of the artery) the blood sends in the white blood cells and other immune responding components.
5. If there are any bacterial, viral or fungal component to the inflammation, the immune system surrounds it and in the process forms CIC (Circulating Immune Complexes)
6. Part of the immune systems defenses called macrophages, remove the CICs because the CICs can cause more inflammation if not removed.
7. The body sends magnesium to the eroded or fissured site to start the healing of the endothelium by “patching” over the area to prevent further damage
8. Most people are deficient in magnesium so the second mineral of choice is calcium. Calcium forms a rigid patch (hardening the area making it less flexible)
9. Other elements sent to the area for healing are cholesterol and triglycerides (fatty substances).
10. The cholesterol and triglycerides “stick” to the calcium forming a “scab”, which is very rough.
11. The components of the blood like platelets and fibrin gather with the above elements which form a protrusion into the blood stream thereby causing a turbulent blood flow which tends to separate even more of the platelets and fibrin. We call this conglomerate plaque. Platelets and fibrin are used for clotting in the event there is a wound (which in this case there is).
12. If a person is dehydrated, it makes the blood even “thicker” and “stickier” further compounding the problem. Blood “thinning” is another issue to address later.
13. Inflammation in the medial also causes the area to swell thus further narrowing the artery and increasing the problem.
The body is “patching” all the time but it is generally acute so the wound is healed and the “patch” goes away (i.e. a cut on the arm).
The above scenario occurs over a long period of inflammation. We call this a chronic condition which is due in part to a poor choice of foods and/or vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Acid eats away at all the tissues in the body not just the arteries but that may be one of the first areas that you would notice.. One of the main components of artery cellular wall is collagen which is formed with vitamin C and phospholipids. Without sufficient vitamin C the walls become thin and weak and begin to fissure or bleed. This is one of the symptoms of scurvy. The condition of full-blown scurvy causes the hemorrhaging of the vascular system in which a person can bleed to death. In this country we may not have scurvy but we may have subclinical scurvy which is not readily recognized. In subclinical scurvy only some of the symptoms are manifested, like fissures in the arteries. The body tries its best to survive by “patching” all the areas affected hence the hardening of the arteries. This can raise the blood pressure due to the inflexibility of the arteries. Pieces of the “patch” can break off causing a thrombosis (clot). Depending on where it is located it could cause a stroke (in the brain) or a heart attack (myocardial infarction). Hardening of the arteries is throughout the body, therefore, a clot could break off anywhere and cause pain in the extremities and organs like the lungs (pulmonary embolism). The body has defenses to help rid the body of the damaging elements but it becomes overwhelmed by not having enough resources to stop the process in the first place and to rid the body of the inflammation and damage after it has started. If the situation is eminently life-threatening then drugs and surgery may be the only course of action to save a life, although it does not address the underlying problem. If there is time, then orthomolecular medicine and dietary changes will in time, clean up the problem and restore the body to “normal” function.