Unifying Concept of Arteriosclerosis Gerald M. Lemole, MD

It is generally accepted that inflammation is the etiology of many chronic degenerative diseases including arteriosclerosis. Oxidative stress can produce prostaglandins and cytokines which will enhance the inflammatory response. Free radicals can be produced by stress, diet, lack of exercise and exposure to toxins, although appropriate diet, stress modification and proper exercise can reduce oxidative stress. Obesity, hypertension, diabetes, smoking, lack of exercise, meat and dairy consumption and micronutritional deficiencies have all been positively associated with arteriosclerosis and conversely vegetarian diet, stress modification, exercise, deep breathing, yoga, green tea, meditation have had the opposite association. Clearance of cholesterol, intermediate metabolites and toxic substances has been shown to be a function of the lymphatic drainage of the arterial wall and factors associated with decreasing arteriosclerosis have been closely linked to increased lymphatic drainage. This presentation hypothesizes the unifying concept of arteriosclerosis in which the lymphatic clearance of the arterial wall plays an important role in maintaining healthy arteries. This theory explains the correlation between both positive and negative factors in coronary and peripheral arterial disease. An overview of the development of this theory and subsequent publications supporting lymphatic drainage of the arterial walls and correlation of both positive and negative risk factors will be examined.