8 Ways to Stop Calcium Plaque in Your Heart Arteries

Coronary calcification happens when calcium builds up in the walls of the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. 

Coronary calcification may be an early indicator of coronary artery disease or CAD that can lead to heart attacks. 

When doctors inform patients that their arteries have calcified, it’s usually after a coronary calcification scan. This X-ray shows how much calcium there is in the blood vessels. 

This is important since the amount of calcium in the arteries is one of the strongest indicators of a heart attack in the future. 

Coronary Artery Calcification Explained

Coronary artery calcification is calcium buildup in the coronary arteries. This occurs after plaque (cholesterol and fat) formation in the arteries (atherosclerosis) has been present for around five years.

When the arteries have plaque, the blood can’t flow through optimally. Proper blood flow is pivotal in the coronary arteries because they supply the heart muscle with oxygen-rich blood. 

When blood is unable to pass through the coronary arteries, the risk of chest pain and/or heart attack is higher.

The calcification can be of two types. The first one is intimal if it happens in the inner artery layer which is more common in coronary arteries and the second one is medial if it happens in the middle artery layer.

The calcification amount indicates how bad the atherosclerosis may be. Atherosclerosis happens due to plaque building up in the arteries. The arteries become narrower and the blood flow is poorer. 

8 Effective Methods to Stop Calcium Plaque in the Coronary Arteries

  1. Limit your intake of cholesterol, fat, and sodium 

By reducing the consumption of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, and sodium, you can lower your risk of calcium plaque formation.

Focus on a diet abundant in fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats to keep your heart healthy and minimize your chances of atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. 

Be mindful of foods high in cholesterol like egg yolks, organ meats like liver, and dairy products high in fat like butter and full-fat cheese. Lower the consumption of saturated fats from foods like fatty meats, poultry with skin, and lard, as well as full-fat dairy products and plant oils like palm oil and coconut oil. 

Trans fats from baked goods, fried foods, processed foods, and hydrogenated oils should be avoided as much as possible. The same goes for excessive amounts of sodium in processed and packaged foods and foods made with salt. 

  1. Establish an exercise routine 

Regular workout is vital for a healthy heart and a lower risk of atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. 

Exercise makes the heart muscle stronger, boosts the blood flow, and keeps the blood pressure and cholesterol levels balanced. 

Exercise is vital for healthy weight and lower risk of cardiovascular disease and other diseases. 

The best exercise types for a healthy heart are aerobic exercises, strength training, and flexibility exercises.

  1. Stop smoking 

If you smoke, you should stop if you want to better your overall health and lower your risk of atherosclerosis. Smoking is damaging to the arterial lining and contributes to plaque buildup. 

It also increases blood pressure and may damage the blood vessels over time, increasing your risk of hypertension. When you smoke, the blood vessels become narrower and the blood flow reduces, leading to a higher risk of heart problems. 

When you quit smoking, you will enjoy a lower risk of blood clots, better lung health, and stronger immunity and overall health. 

  1. Stay away from alcohol 

Moderate alcohol consumption may have certain cardiovascular advantages, but excessive amounts of alcohol aren’t good for your heart health and overall health and well-being. 

This is because alcohol consumption has been linked to hypertension, arrhythmia, and cardiomyopathy, all of which elevate the chance of stroke and heart disease.

Moreover, alcohol contributes to higher triglycerides that may elevate the risk of arterial plaque formation. Alcohol is also known to elevate blood pressure, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke.

  1. Lose weight in a healthy way 

Overweight and obese people are at a higher risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease. 

This is because their heart is additionally strained and they have a higher risk of hypertension, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and inflammation. Healthy weight loss can help mitigate and even eliminate some of these health issues and contribute to better cardiovascular health. 

With this in mind, shedding those few extra pounds (gradual diet changes, exercise, and support from health professionals) can help. 

Avoid crash diets and extreme methods of weight loss that can cause more harm than good and are unsustainable in the long run. 

  1. Get out in nature more often 

Spending time in nature has tremendous benefits for your physical and mental health and can support your efforts to lower your risk of atherosclerosis and better your overall health. 

Getting out in nature more often helps lower stress and anxiety, betters your overall mood, keeps you physically active (walking, biking, hiking, etc.), regulates your internal clock, helps you enjoy better sleep, strengthens your immunity, and lowers your risk of depression.

  1. Stress management

Proper stress management is vital for your health and may play a protective role in your risk of atherosclerosis and heart illness. 

There are plenty of ways to manage stress effectively such as regular exercise throughout the week, relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, deep breathing, healthy sleep, following a healthy diet, setting healthy boundaries, getting social support, trying mindfulness, and seeking professional help to discover helpful coping strategies. 

  1. Meds 

In some cases, patients are prescribed meds to manage their heart disease and calcification of the arteries. 

Some of the most commonly prescribed meds your doctor can give you are statins, antihypertensive meds, antiplatelet meds, calcium channel blockers, meds for heart rhythm disorders, meds for heart failure, etc. 

Never take meds on your own! Always have them prescribed by a healthcare provider and do regular follow-ups to monitor their effectiveness and any side effects.