Coronary Artery Disease:
Can Eating Carbs Cause It?
Coronary artery disease is a global health problem that kills millions every year.
According to some studies, over 13 million people in the United States alone currently have heart disease.
How does coronary heart disease develop?
The theory appears to be as follows. Plaques build up on the walls of arteries, thus restricting blood flow, causing inflammation and otherwise injuring blood vessels. When enough plaque accumulates, arteries get choked off from blood supply. This in turn leads to clotting, stroke, heart attack, or other acute conditions. Once oxygen rich blood gets blocked, organ and muscle tissues cannot carry out activity and quickly die.
Doctors have developed numerous methods to address and arrest CAD, such as:
- state-of-art drugs, such as statins
- therapies to alleviate symptoms of the condition
Surgeries commonly used to treat the disease include:
- Balloon angioplasty: This involves the insertion of a balloon into a diseased artery. The balloon inflates to expand the volume through which oxygen-rich arterial blood can pass.
- Bypass surgery: Doctors restructure blood flow pathways to literally bypass clogged portions of arteries.
Common ways used to determine risk for coronary artery disease include:
- Doctor interviews you about your medical history
- “Stress test” or an EKG (electrocardiogram)
- CAT scans
What can you do to prevent coronary artery disease?
Medical authorities agree that changing lifestyle factors can make a difference. The conventional wisdom argues that patients should lower the amount of fat, cholesterol, and salt in their diets. Low-carb authorities, on the other hand, argue that the sugars and simple carbohydrates in our diets are more dangerous.
The low carb experts suggest, for instance, that eating foods high in fructose can lead to the formation of an excessive amount of VLDLs (Very Low Density Lipoproteins), which have been linked with increased health risks.
Low-carb advocates believe this line of research into CAD should be explored further. Intriguingly, in France, where the per capita consumption of dietary fats (including saturated fats) is higher than it is here in the United States, the rate of heart disease is lower. This fact--often referred to as
the French Paradox
--suggests that the fundamental hypotheses about what causes atherosclerosis and heart disease should be reassessed.
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