What Is the True Significance of Vascular (Arterial) Plaques?

Majid Ali, M.D.

Are plaques in the arteries of the heart, brain, and kidneys of no significance? No. Plaques indicate the presence of chronic vascular injury. The longer the duration of vascular injury, the more wide spread the plaques. The crucial clinical importance of more-plaques-fewer-deaths paradox is: It fundamentally challenges the prevailing view of the cause of heart attacks and strokes. It shifts the focus from secondary changes in the outer arterial wall—plaques, cholesterol crystals, and calcium deposits—to the crucial primary events involving the inner endo cells. Heart attacks are triggered when endo cells in the coronary arteries are injured beyond their ability to repair themselves. Strokes are caused when the same happens to endo cells lining brain arteries. And so begins the kidney damage that often leads to dialysis.

In my Oxygen Model of Coronary Artery Disease, micro-clots and micro-plaques in the circulating blood form and endo dysfunction develops due to local dysox conditions (deranged oxygen signals and other aspects of dysfunctional oxygen metabolism). Dysox sets the stage for excess acidity, increased oxyradical activity, and thickening of bodily fluids. Simply stated, heart attacks and strokes are the problems of the “oxygen-endo (ox-en) axis”—the centerpiece of the Oxygen Model.

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