Cholesterol & Lower Back Pain

Cholesterol & Lower Back Pain
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High cholesterol can lead to atherosclerosis in the vertebral arteries that nourish our spine, and result in disc degeneration and lower back pain—a leading cause of disability.

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Every part of the body needs sufficient blood flow to function properly. Cholesterol can clog arteries in our inner and outer organs, causing heart attacks, strokes, and sexual dysfunction. But what about blood flow to our spine?

Our spines are very vascular, and cholesterol clogs in the vertebral arteries can lead to the degeneration of our disks and lower back pain—the second leading cause of disability. Autopsy studies confirm this is what happens when your cholesterol gets too high. This is what the openings to the arteries in your back should look like (on the left), and on the right, you can see how clogged off they can become.

With the standard Western diet, atheromatous plaques may begin to appear early in adult life, and by the age of 20, roughly 10% of the population already has advanced lesions.

Smoking and high serum cholesterol levels were found to have the most consistent associations with disc degeneration and low back pain. Much of back pain-related disability appears to be an open or shut case, depending on our diet.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to LadyofHats via Wikimedia Commons.

Every part of the body needs sufficient blood flow to function properly. Cholesterol can clog arteries in our inner and outer organs, causing heart attacks, strokes, and sexual dysfunction. But what about blood flow to our spine?

Our spines are very vascular, and cholesterol clogs in the vertebral arteries can lead to the degeneration of our disks and lower back pain—the second leading cause of disability. Autopsy studies confirm this is what happens when your cholesterol gets too high. This is what the openings to the arteries in your back should look like (on the left), and on the right, you can see how clogged off they can become.

With the standard Western diet, atheromatous plaques may begin to appear early in adult life, and by the age of 20, roughly 10% of the population already has advanced lesions.

Smoking and high serum cholesterol levels were found to have the most consistent associations with disc degeneration and low back pain. Much of back pain-related disability appears to be an open or shut case, depending on our diet.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to LadyofHats via Wikimedia Commons.

Nota del Doctor

The three most common causes of disability in the United States are arthritis, lower back pain, and heart disease, all of which can be affected by diet. For arthritis, see Diet & Rheumatoid Arthritis and Preventing Arthritis. Also, be sure to check out my many videos on heart disease. Good places to start include the story about my own grandmother’s disability—Resuscitating Medicare—as well as Heart Attacks and Cholesterol: Purely a Question of DietOur Number One Killer Can Be StoppedChina Study On Sudden Cardiac ArrestConvergence of Evidence; and Eliminating the #1 Cause of Death. And for more on the impact of cholesterol on quality of life issues, see Cholesterol and Female Sexual Dysfunction

Also, be sure to check out my associated blog posts for more context:  The Most Anti-Inflammatory Mushroom, and Plant-Based Diets for Psoriasis.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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