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AtherosclerosisGreen icon representing clogged arteries

In Western medicine, atherosclerosis is clinically characterized as a pathological condition involving the thickening and hardening of arterial walls due to the accumulation of plaque, which is composed of fat, cell waste, calcium, and fibrin (Ross, 1999; The New England Journal of Medicine).

This process ultimately restricts blood flow, leading to hypoxia in vital organs and extremities (Libby, Ridker & Hansson, 2011, Nature). Contrarily, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) refers to this condition as Xin Mai Bi Zu and ascribes its occurrence to Qi stagnation, blood stasis, and congealed phlegm, often accompanied by underlying conditions such as spleen deficiency, heat, and dampness (Wang et al., 2012, Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine). In TCM, the heat is believed to congeal dampness into phlegm, complicating the condition further. The primary therapeutic approach in TCM aims to activate and tonify the Qi, nourish and mobilize the blood, and resolve the dampness (Wu et al., 2010, Journal of Ethnopharmacology). Thus, while Western medicine targets the pathological substrate with pharmacological interventions, TCM employs a multifaceted approach grounded in traditional philosophies to restore bodily harmony.

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