Cardiovascular diseases representa serious threat to the life of a modern resident of a metropolis, neglecting physical activity and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. At the same time, the latest research shows that not only modern people, but also their ancient ancestors suffered from excessive cholesterol in the arteries, which gives the right to assume that in ancient times heart diseases were much more common than previously thought.
Atherosclerosis - the disease of the ancients
Although atherosclerosis ischronic disease, it is also progressive, causing a narrowing of the lumen in the walls of the arteries. This disease affects most of the population, starting from the age of 10-15 years. In the course of the development of this disease, not only the cardiovascular system, but also any other organ of the human body can be at risk. Closing the lumen of an artery, an atherosclerotic plaque interferes with the proper nutrition of an organ or tissue, causing necrosis and disruption of the organ, up to its complete failure.
According to statistics, the overall mortality ratedue to diseases of the cardiovascular system an average of 185 people per 100 thousand people, and in Russia this figure is much higher and reaches 800 people.
See also: Identified genes responsible for the development of atherosclerosis
The study of arteries in mummies
In order to understand what exactly ourancient ancestors, scientists studied and analyzed the arteries of embalmed mummies aged 18 to 60 years, the remains of which date from 2000 BC to 1000 AD from South America and ancient Egypt. As a result of the study, in one of the mummies, scientists discovered an early stage of atherosclerosis, which is characterized by the accumulation of sclerotic plaques on the walls of arteries, thereby limiting internal blood flow.
Having studied sections of arteries whose length wasjust a few centimeters, scientists have revealed damage to the walls of blood vessels due to the accumulation of cholesterol, which blocks arteries and provokes heart attacks. This study is the first evidence that atherosclerosis affects not only modern humanity, but has existed since very ancient times.
Earlier studies were conducted, during whicha later stage of arterial plaque formation was discovered in a mummy from Greenland dating back more than 500 years ago, as well as in the Egyptian mummy, whose embalming occurred more than 3,000 years ago. Thanks to modern technology, scientists were able to find out that the oldest person, whose mummy was found in the Alps and named Etzi, most likely died precisely because of a heart attack caused by atherosclerosis.
Currently, scientists are of the opinionthat the deposition of cholesterol on the walls of arteries is a protective mechanism due to which wound healing occurs. This mechanism works when exposed to various kinds of infections, injuries, and also when exposed to toxins and smoke, which can damage the inner shell of the artery.
With the help of an inflammatory reaction, which, in itsin turn, it is a normal protective manifestation of the body, the walls of the arteries are subject to the accumulation of leukocytes, which subsequently leads to the accumulation of cholesterol.
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Thanks to the research carried out on mummies,scientists were able to find out that atherosclerosis, which worries the modern era, is not something new for all of humanity, but, apparently, is an integral part of our lives.