Arteriosclerosis is a disease that occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries, limiting the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the organs and other parts of the body. The condition can affect any artery in the body, including the heart, brain, arms, legs, pelvis and kidneys. (1) Arteriosclerosis can lead to serious health problems, such as a heart attack or stroke. When arteriosclerosis symptoms first appear, it’s important to get checked out immediately. Arteriosclerosis causes include poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle and high levels of stress. (2) Arteriosclerosis treatment includes medication for some, but it can often be managed through lifestyle changes.

Arteriosclerosis Symptoms

  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the arms and legs
  • Difficulty speaking or slurred speech
  • Drooping muscles in the face
  • Leg pain when walking
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney failure
  • Erectile dysfunction, difficulties having sex or pain around the genitals

Arteriosclerosis Treatment

1. Eat Healthy Fats

Healthy fats help fight inflammation in the body, which is linked to many health issues. Diets that include monounsaturated fats have been linked to a lower rate of coronary heart disease, largely because they have the ability to decrease LDL-cholesterol levels. (3) Monounsaturated fats come from sources such as avocados and olive oil. Replacing saturated fats with healthy fats is a natural way to help heal hardened arteries. A Mediterranean diet may be especially helpful in reducing inflammation in the body.

2. Limit Refined Carbs and Increase Fiber Intake

Refined carbohydrates and sugary foods cause inflammation so it’s best to limit them or cut them out of your diet. (4) Focus on high-fiber foods like vegetables and fruit that fight free radical damage and help prevent the digestive tract from absorbing cholesterol. When it comes to carbohydrates, stick to gluten-free whole grains such as rolled oats, quinoa and buckwheat, along with beans and legumes.

3. Stay Active

One of the most common atherosclerosis causes is a sedentary lifestyle. (5) Exercise increases your ability to distribute oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. It also helps reduce stress and strengthens your heart. Combined with a healthy diet, exercise can help naturally heal hardened arteries by promoting circulation and helping you maintain a healthy weight. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day.

4. Reduce Stress Levels

Stress is the most commonly reported trigger for a heart attack. (6) Poor sleep, anxiety, depression, overeating and other lifestyle factors associated with stress can raise your risk for arteriosclerosis. Managing your stress levels can have a major impact on lowering inflammation and improving heart function. Try massage, meditation, exercise or aromatherapy.