ARTERIOSCLEROSIS: TWENTIETH CENTURY DISEASE

Guide to Heart Disease Another question which needs to be addressed is : why was coronary artery (heart) disease and in fact all arterial disease virtually unknown until well into this century? Diagnostic and post mortem techniques were not so primitive that they could not assess the cause of death in most cases. Evidence mounts that the answer lies at the door of modern (i.e, post World War II) diet and lifestyle.

Fast foods, a high intake of animal and dairy fats and worse, artificially produced dairy substitutes, plus the huge increase in sugar consumption and in canned, packaged and processed foods (with their high salt content and cocktail of chemical preservatives) are all contributory,

Our sedentary, often high pressure lifestyles and modern industrial pollution add two final straws.

But what of the vast tracts of population caught between the pages of the revolution ? We may have dropped, through no real fault of our own, six, seven or eight of our nine stitches and may not have much time, arterially speaking, to undo what we have smoked, eaten, drunk and breathed for several decades.

Are we doomed to have radical surgery one day on the one or two inches of arteries serving the vital organs of the heart, brain or legs — reconstructing them by bypass surgery techniques or blasting them open by angioplasty while there remain some 29,999.999 miles of arteries in similar poor shape ? Surely this would equate with putting a good patch on the worst puncture of a perished rubber tyre. In fact the analogy is a particularly good one, because rubber perishes in a process not unlike that which happens to the artery walls as we age — and indeed to all other tissues in the body.