Lifestyle changes can reduce plaques associated with heart disease
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Q. Is it possible to remove plaques in your aorta or reduce their size through changes in diet or lifestyle?

A. Yes, lifestyle changes, including diet, smoking cessation, stress management and exercise, can decrease the size of atherosclerotic plaques. They can also help to stabilize them so that they are less likely to break off and block blood flow, decreasing your risk of a heart attack.

The notion of plaque reduction, known medically as regression of atherosclerosis, arose from a fortuitous observation during World War II. Norwegian scientists noticed that the scarcity of food — particularly the scarcity of high-fat foods like milk, cream, butter and cheese — was associated with a decreased risk of death from heart disease. This suggested the possibility that dietary changes could induce plaque regression.

The first direct evidence of regression came in 1947. In performing autopsies on malnourished patients, an astute pathologist noted that plaques “usually, but not invariably, tend to undergo resorption.”

Q. Is it possible to remove plaques in your aorta or reduce their size through changes in diet or lifestyle?

A. Yes, lifestyle changes, including diet, smoking cessation, stress management and exercise, can decrease the size of atherosclerotic plaques. They can also help to stabilize them

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www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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