Interviewed expert: Liu Deping, Chief Physician of Department of Cardiology, Beijing Hospital, Deputy Chief Physician Li Kang
As an important channel for human nutrition delivery, our body’s vasculature includes countless blood vessels all over the body. These blood vessels of different thicknesses are divided into three types: arteries, veins, and capillaries according to their structure and function, and they control the normal flow of blood throughout the body. Among them, the arteries are responsible for bringing blood from the heart to the body tissues, the veins are responsible for bringing blood back to the heart from the tissues, and the capillaries connect the arteries and veins, and are the main places for the exchange of substances between blood and tissues. Once the blood vessels harden, it may cause a series of related diseases. So some people will ask, can the hardened blood vessels “soften back”?
Liu Deping, chief physician of the Department of Cardiology, Beijing Hospital, said: “The human blood vessel is like a tap water pipe, but it is more advanced because it is elastic.” The blood capacity is very strong. As we age, components such as cholesterol and triglycerides accumulate on the inner wall of blood vessels. The caliber of the blood vessel wall becomes narrower and more flexible, and the blood vessels begin to harden. Li Kang, deputy chief physician of the Department of Cardiology, Beijing Hospital, said that blood vessels have gradually embarked on the road of “hardening” since birth. Due to the difference in severity, some people will get sick, while others will not. What is worrying is that vascular sclerosis was a disease of old age in the past, and it started to develop gradually at the age of 40 or 50, but it has become younger in recent years. Clinical statistics show that the youngest have had the tendency of thick blood and atherosclerosis since they were teenagers.
Liu Deping said that compared with other blood vessels, arteries bear more pressure and are most likely to be washed out or have deposits, so they are more prone to hardening. “Clinically found that many patients have lesions in the aortic arch (aortic bend).” Li Kang added. In addition to the effects of aging factors, blood vessel elasticity is also related to factors such as smoking, hyperlipidemia, hyperglycemia, obesity, environmental pollution and other factors. They all destroy the “protective membrane” of blood vessels-endothelial cells. The hardened blood vessels are at risk of decreased blood flow, rupture, and thrombosis, which can induce stroke and myocardial infarction. Blood vessels that become fragile after hardening may also have arterial dissection, which may be fatal in a short time.
The two experts jointly stated that hardening of the blood vessels is inevitable, and “soft back” is not realistic, but it is possible to improve the lifestyle to slow down the hardening rate and reduce the occurrence of critical situations. First, eat less foods high in cholesterol, such as fatty meat, animal oil, and animal offal. You can eat some deep-sea fish oil appropriately, it can reduce total cholesterol and “bad cholesterol” (low-density lipoprotein) to a certain extent, and maintain blood vessel elasticity.
Second, quit smoking and limit alcohol, stay away from second-hand smoke. Tobacco and alcohol are the nemesis of blood vessels. Studies have found that smoking and drinking can increase blood viscosity by more than 8 times than normal.
Third, do more aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercises such as walking, jogging, Tai Chi, swimming, and cycling can increase the body’s inhalation, delivery and use of oxygen, and improve breathing and cardiovascular system functions.
Fourth, don’t stay up late. Staying up late can easily disrupt the biological clock, causing the body to secrete too much adrenaline and norepinephrine, thereby slowing down blood flow and increasing viscosity. It is recommended that you work and rest regularly and go to bed before 11 o’clock every night.