Symptoms of atherosclerosis may be delayed or prevented primarily through lifestyle changes, including stopping smoking, eating healthy foods, controlling weight and participating in physical activity. Although problematic, atherosclerosis responds well to positive actions that reduce risk factors. With many heart conditions, taking actions at the onset of atherosclerosis proves beneficial, as patients reduce the risk of further complications.
Atherosclerosis classifies as a narrowing and hardening of arteries in the heart. It arises from damage to the endothelium, the lining of smooth muscle around the heart. According to WebMD, this damage arises from several sources, including elevated levels of bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol), smoking and high blood pressure.
Upon diagnosis, cardiologists encourage patients to adopt healthy weights and eating habits. A healthy diet includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and poultry, and low-fat or non-fat dairy products. Consuming foods without added salt and sugar reduces atherosclerosis severity, as does abstaining from eating refined grains.
For smokers, quitting smoking improves heart function by preventing further damage to blood vessels in the heart. In turn, that facilitates proper levels of blood flow. In addition to lifestyle changes, patients may receive medications for controlling atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis responds well to positive changes, but poses significant dangers including heart attack and stroke, if left untreated as stated by the National Institutes of Health.