Coronary Heart Disease (Coronary Artery Disease)
The term coronary heart disease covers a group of clinical syndromes arising particularly from failure of the coronary arteries to supply sufficient blood to the heart. They include angina pectoris, coronary thrombosis or heart attack, and sudden death without infarction.
Causes and Symptoms
A common symptom of heart disease is shortness of breath, which is caused by the blood being deprived of the proper amount of oxygen. Another common symptom is chest pain or pain down either arm. Other symptoms are palpitations, fainting, emotional instability, cold hands and feet, frequent perspiration, and fatigue.
The basic causes of heart disease are wrong feeding habits, faulty style of living and various stresses. The famous Framingham Heart Study of the National Heart and Lung Institute in Massachusetts, identified seven major risk factors in coronary heart disease. These are: (1) elevated blood levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, and other fatty substances; (2) elevated blood pressure; (3) elevated blood uric acid levels (mainly caused by high protein diet); (4) certain metabolic disorders, notably diabetes; (5) obesity; (6) smoking; and (7) lack of physical exercise. Each or a combination of these risk factors can contribute to heart disease. Most of them are of dietary origin. Constant worry and tension stimulate the adrenal glands to produce more adrenaline and cortisone. This also contributes to constricted arteries, high blood pressure and increased work for the heart.
See also : Apan Vayu Mudra for heart attack
Natural cures for heart disease
Grapes: Fresh fruits in general are beneficial in the treatment of heart disease. They tone up the heart. Grapes are especially effective in heart pain and palpitation of the heart, and the disease can be rapidly controlled if the patient adopts an exclusive diet of grapes for a few days. Grape juice is particularly valuable when one is actually suffering from a heart attack.
Apple: Apples have heart-stimulating properties. Patients suffering from a weak heart will benefit greatly by making liberal use of this fruit and apple jam.
Indian Gooseberry: Indian gooseberry is considered an effective home remedy for heart disease. It tones up the functions of all the organs of the body, and builds up health by destroying the heterogenous elements and renewing lost energy. When the fruit is in season, one medium-sized Indian gooseberry can be taken with a little salt daily; when not in season, dry pieces can be chewed.
Onion: Onions have been found valuable in heart disease. They are useful in normalising the percentage of blood cholesterol by oxidising excess cholesterol. One teaspoon of raw onion juice first thing in the morning is beneficial in such cases.
Honey: Honey has got marvellous properties to prevent all sorts of heart disease. Honey tones up the heart and improves the circulation. It is also effective in cardiac pain and palpitation of the heart. One tablespoon daily after food is sufficient to prevent all sorts of heart troubles.
Asparagus: Asparagus is an excellent food for strengthening the heart. A good medicine for a weak or an enlarged heart is prepared by mixing the freshly extracted juice of this vegetable with honey, in the ratio of 2:1. A teaspoon of this medicine should be taken three times daily. Patients with heart disease will also benefit by steam cooking this vegetable.
Alfalfa: The herb alfalfa in the form of juice has been found very helpful in most troubles related to the arteries and heart diseases. Only the leaves of the plant are used for this purpose, when they can be obtained fresh. The juice of fresh alfalfa is, however, too strong and potent to be taken by itself. It is best taken with carrot juice in equal quantities of 125 ml each, twice daily. In this combination, the individual benefits of each juice are intensified.
Safflower: Safflower oil has proved beneficial in lowering blood cholesterol. Hence it can be used liberally with persons suffering from cardiovascular disorders. An emulsion with the trade name Saffloxin-Cipla is used routinely during myocardial infarction, cardiac ischaemia, and hypertension.
Vitamin E: Patients with heart disease should increase their intake of foods rich in vitamin E, as this vitamin is said to promote heart function by improving oxygenation of the cells. It also improves the circulation and muscle strength. Many wholemeal products and green vegetables, particularly outer leaves of cabbage, are good sources of vitamin E.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is also essential as it protects against spontaneous breaches in capillary walls which can lead to heart attacks. It also guards against high blood cholesterol. The stress of anger, fear, disappointment, and similar emotions can raise blood fat and cholesterol levels immediately but this reaction to stress can do little harm if the diet is adequate in vitamin C and pantothenic acid. One of the richest sources of vitamin C is citrus fruits.
The fundamental conditioning factor in all heart diseases is the diet, which should be lacto-vegetarian, and low on sodium and calories. It should consist of high quality, natural organic foods, with emphasis on wholegrains, seeds, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Foods which should be eliminated from the diet include white flour products, sweets, chocolates, canned foods in syrup, soft drinks, squashes, tea, coffee, alcohol, and tobacco, and all solid fats of animal origin such as butter, cream, and fatty meats. Salt and sugar should be reduced substantially.
The patient should also pay attention to other laws of nature for health building such as taking moderate exercise, getting proper rest and sleep, and adopting a positive mental attitude.
Research news on heart disease :
Acupuncture Improves Exercise Tolerance in Heart Patients, German Study Finds : Acupuncture can improve exercise tolerance in patients suffering from chronic heart failure, according to new research from Germany. The finding comes from a clinical pilot study by the team headed by Dr. Johannes Backs, physician and study director at the Department of Internal Medicine III (Cardiology, Angiology, and Pneumology — Medical Director: Professor Dr. Hugo Katus) of Heidelberg University Hospital.