Something modern Egyptians, pharaohs, native Peruvians and a Renaissance-era king shared: heart disease
4C/PFO from R.C. Thompson et al/Global Heart 2014
Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, is usually thought of as a modern disease brought on by fatty diets, smoking and lack of exercise. But new studies of mummies from around the world show that the disease is an ancient affliction with a plethora of possible triggers.
In the June Global Heart, researchers present evidence of heart disease from a diverse array of mummies including the famous 5,300-year-old Tyrolean Iceman, 76 ancient Egyptians, 51 native Peruvians dating from the 3rd to 16th centuries, five Pueblo Indians who lived in Utah about 1,000 years ago, a Renaissance king, a 15th century nomad from the Gobi Desert and five 19th century hunter-gatherers from the Aleutian Islands. CT scans or autopsies revealed calcium deposits in artery walls of many of the mummies, a sign of vessel hardening.
Atherosclerosis results when plaque composed of cholesterol and other substances builds up on the interior walls of arteries. That plaque can nucleate a