Q:

How do you reverse arterial plaque buildup?

A:

Quick Answer

Arterial plaque buildup generally cannot be reversed; however, aggressive treatment to lower blood cholesterol levels can shrink the plaque to some degree, according to WebMD. Treatment consists of a healthy diet and exercise and may include medication to reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure.

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Treatment for this condition focuses on avoiding plaque buildup or preventing it from worsening, primarily through diet and exercise according to WebMD. A doctor may also treat this condition with medications such as statins, which reduce cholesterol. Cholesterol plaque builds up over time and causes cardiovascular disease, which is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Other risk factors for cardiovascular disease are smoking or excessive alcohol consumption, high blood pressure, diabetes, abdominal obesity or lack of regular exercise; all of which can be reduced through diet and other lifestyle changes.

If lifestyle changes and medication do not work to prevent worsening of the arterial plaque, surgery may become necessary, says WebMD. Possible surgeries for this condition include angioplasty with stenting to unblock arteries or bypass surgery to provide a way for blood to flow around a blockage. Since these procedures are very risky, doctors typically only use them with patients who have a significant amount of arterial blockage and have failed to respond to other treatment.

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