Hardening of the Arteries Not Inevitable

That hardening of the arteries is an inevitable process of aging and unavoidable has been repudiated by some of our most noted authorities.

Dealing with this subject, Dr. Joseph D. Wassersug stated, It would be a mistake to believe that hardening of the arteries is simply a part of the general process of aging, and to accept it as such with resignation. On the contrary, scientists are quick to point out that many octogenarians and non-octogenarians die with a minimal amount of sclerosis in their blood vessels whereas fatal amounts are not infrequently noted in early youth and even childhood. To regard hardening of the arteries as a phenomenon inevitably associated with the process of growing old would be deplorable.

Dr. Irving H. Page stated, Hypertension is certainly not merely a problem of aging. Nor is it a disease exclusively of the aged. It is not sufficiently realised by the public that it is sometimes found even in babies, and that young people in the twenties often have it. It increases in frequency from 30 years on, and is very common in the age period of greatest productivity and usefulness to society.6

A statement refuting this assertion was issued by Doctors Howard B. Burchell, Edgar V. Allen, and Frederick P. Moersch. In an article appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, these eminent physicians declared that they too desire to join in the crusade against the teaching of a close relationship between age and arteriosclerosis, which is either accepted or implied in past medical school curriculums.

For the purposes of emphasis, let us make the provocative statement that while aging is relentless, arteriosclerosis is not necessarily a progressive nor irreversible process,7

What challenges this reasoning to an^ven greater degree is the fact that the number of cases of heart and circulatory disease has increased to a great extent not in the older population but in the younger age groups or those in the prime of life.

He goes on to say that the situation would not be so discouraging if only our old persons died from these diseases. Unfortunately, however, at present the increase in mortality from cardio-vascular disease does not occur only in old persons. There has been a great increase of the disease in young adults and those of middle age within the last half generation. There is actually a greater increase in these middle years between 30 and 60 than in the later ages.8

When Dr. White was called to attend President Eisenhower during his heart attack, he pointed out that these attacks are quite common by the time we reach fifty, but rightfully stated that they do not occur suddenly; rather they are the outgrowth of degenerative changes in the arteries that have gone on over many years.

We like to see health authorities emphasise moderation in diet, exercise, and the drive under which people work as precautions to be taken before a coronary attack develops for the fact that many come through to suffer subsequent attacks does not save those who succumb to it in the first instance.


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