Hello I Was Wondering If Someone Is Diagnosed With In
Plaque usually does not regress significantly
Hello, I'm Dr. Branch, thanks for using 'Ask a Doctor'. Currently the research suggests that calcified plaque, or atherosclerosis, does not usually regress significantly. With patients who already have atherosclerosis, our focus is on keeping the plaques from growing and becoming more of a problem. Also, over time the plaques can become more stable, which means it would be less likely to cause any problems (such as breaking off or limiting the blood flow in the artery).
Diet and exercise are the most important parts of treatment, with 30-60 minutes of exercise a day, getting down to your ideal weight (if you are overweight), eating a healthy diet (such as a DASH diet, low in sugar, high in fiber and more healthy fats), and quitting smoking. If your cholesterol (which is what makes the plaques) is still high, you can be started on a statin medication to keep the cholesterol lower.
I hope that helps, please let me know if you have any other questions about that, and I would be glad to discuss it with you further.
I don't think atherosclerosis is causing your symptoms
From the research I have seen, it does not look like much regression of athersclerosis (whether calcified or not) is possible, but if you have some websites, I can take a look and see if it is a credible source. Regardless, the important thing for you will be to make the lifestyle changes to at least halt the progression of the plaque build-up. Losing weight will be the most important thing for you, which is probably a major factor in your exercise intolerance and other symptoms. Also, your symptoms do not sound like they are related to atherosclerosis. Has a doctor told you that you have plaque in your arteries? Have you had a cardiac stress test done? It would be a test they would do if they were concerned about plaque in the arteries to your heart, though at your age it would be very rare to have this problem.
In your case, I think losing weight will be the most beneficial thing for your health, and so I would focus on that. I think if you were able to lose 5-10% of your weight (10-20 pounds), you would see a noticeable difference, and these symptoms may disappear altogether.
Please let me know if you have any other questions, I'd be glad to help any way I can.
Here's one of the studies I read on plaque regression.
I would recommend physical therapy
I do agree that physical therapy would have been good after your surgery, and would likely still be beneficial now. Weak core muscles can put more strain on other parts of your body. As I said before, weight loss will also help in this case as well.
The first study you sent did mention some studies that showed some regression, but in some studies the exact amount of regression is not told, and in one study, they state that there was 0.4% regression in the median atheroma volume (or size of the plaque). This is a very small amount of regression, and would definitely not make any difference in causing any problems. The other article was about one man who did have a dramatic improvement, but this was just one patient and is likely not what can be expected generally.
Either way, I don't know if any of your studies showed significant plaque, but the way to take care of it would be the same; diet, exercise, and statins if your cholesterol was high.
Please let me know if you have any other questions about any of that, I'm happy to help.