Heart Disease
24 Case Studies
4 Member Stories
93 Research

Heart disease is a general term that refers to the conditions affecting the heart. Heart disease includes all the problems related to the blood vessels of the heart (cardiovascular system), congenital defects, or problem with the heart rate. Learn how to prevent & reverse heart disease with holistic therapies and lifestyle changes.

What is heart disease?

According to the CDC, the facts for heart disease are quite sobering: about 735,000 individuals die of cardiovascular disease in the United States every year--that is 1 in every 4 deaths. Of them, 525,000 are a first heart attack and 210,000 occur in those who’ve already experienced a heart attack. Heart disease is the main cause of death for both men and women. More than half of those deaths due to cardiovascular disease in 2009 were in men. 

Heart disease describes a selection of conditions that affect your heart. Diseases under the heart disease umbrella contain blood vessel diseases, such as coronary artery disease; heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias); and heart defects you are born with (congenital heart defects), amongst others. People wonder how to cure heart disease naturally. Many forms of heart disease can be slowed, stopped, and even prevented with aggressive dietary and lifestyle changes. 

See: Heart healthy diet plan to prevent heart disease

What causes heart disease?

Heart disease occurs when the coronary arteries become partially clogged or blocked. This congestion restricts the circulation of blood through the coronary artery, the major arteries providing oxygen-rich blood into the heart. When the congestion is restricted, chest pain or pain called angina may happen. When the blockage cuts off the blood circulation, the result is a heart attack (myocardial infarction or heart muscle death).

Healthy coronary arteries are open, flexible, sleek, and slick. The artery walls are elastic and expand to let more blood through when the heart needs to work harder. The disease process is believed to start with an injury to the linings and walls of the arteries. This injury makes them susceptible to atherosclerosis and the production of blood clots (thrombosis).

Heart disease is usually brought on by atherosclerosis. Cholesterol and other fatty substances accumulate on the inner wall of the blood vessels. They bring fibrous tissue, blood components, as well as calcium. Then they harden into artery-clogging plaques. Atherosclerotic plaques often form blood clots that could also block the coronary arteries (coronary thrombosis). Congenital defects and muscular spasms of arteries or heart muscles block blood flow. 

Can you cure heart disease naturally? The answer lies in eliminating the causes of heart disease.

See: Ayurveda for heart health

What are the symptoms of heart disease?

The symptoms of heart disease can appear to be somewhat different for men and women. For instance, whereas men can feel chest pain; women may experience chest discomfort, nausea, or extreme exhaustion. In general, shortness of breath, pain, numbness, weakness in legs or arms, pain in the throat, jaw, throat, upper abdomen, or back are also symptoms of heart disease. Periodic health checkups are useful to identify heart disease and can sometimes be discovered early with such routine evaluations.

See: Functional medicine for Heart Disease

What are the risk factors of heart disease?

Major risk factors significantly boost the chance of developing cardiovascular disease. These include:

Heredity. People whose parents have heart disease are more likely to develop it. African-Americans will also be at increased risk because they experience a high rate of severe hypertension.

•  Gender: Men are somewhat more likely to have heart attacks than women and also to have them at a younger age. Over the age of 60, however, women have cardiovascular disease at a speed equal to that of men.

•  Age: Men who are 45 years of age and older and women who are 55 years old and older are more likely to have cardiovascular disease. Sometimes, heart disease can strike people in their 30s. People over 65 are more likely to die from a heart attack.

Smoking. Smoking increases both the chance of developing heart disease and the chance of dying from it. Smokers are more than twice as likely as nonsmokers to have a heart attack and are two to four times more likely to die from it.

High cholesterol levels. Dietary sources of cholesterol are meat, dairy meals, eggs, and other animal fat products. It is also produced by the body. Age, body fat, diet, exercise, heredity, and sex affect one's blood cholesterol.

High blood pressure makes the heart work harder and weakens it on time. It raises the chance of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, and congestive heart failure.

Lack of physical activity. Lack of exercise increases the chance of cardiovascular disease. Even modest physical activity, like walking, is beneficial if done frequently.

Diabetes mellitus. The danger of developing heart disease is seriously increased for diabetics.

Additional risk factors include obesity and elevated anxiety levels.

See: Yoga for heart disease prevention

Can heart disease be reversed?

A heart-healthy lifestyle includes keeping a nutritious diet, regular exercise, weight maintenance, no smoking, moderate drinking, controlling hypertension, and managing stress. Cardiac rehabilitation programs are excellent to help prevent recurring coronary problems for men and women who are at risk and who have had coronary events and processes.

According to a recent study, natural remedies to reverse heart disease are possible by adopting a vegetarian diet and intensive healthier lifestyle changes. [6]

- Eating right

A healthy diet includes a variety of foods that are low in fat, especially saturated fat, low in cholesterol, and high in fiber. It includes plenty of fruits and vegetables and limited salt. Saturated fats should equal seven to 10 percent of calories, polyunsaturated fats should equal about 10%, monounsaturated fat should be 15%, and carbs should complete 55-60% of daily calories. Fat should comprise no more than 30% of total daily calories and should be taken rather as fish oil, olive oil, seeds, and vegetable oil. New evidence shows that replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat is more effective in lowering coronary heart disease risk than reducing overall fat intake. Eating cold-water fish or taking comparable omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplements can help prevent cardiac death.

According to the American Heart Association, a healthy dietary pattern that emphasizes a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, nuts and legumes, and non-tropical vegetable oils would benefit your heart condition. It is also recommended to stay away from saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, red meat, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages.

The Health and Human Services further provides easy-to-follow guidelines for daily heart-healthy eating. 

- Exercising regularly

Aerobic exercise can lower blood pressure, help control weight, and boost Additionally, it may maintain the blood vessels more flexible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine urges moderate to intense aerobic exercise lasting about 30 minutes four or more times per week for optimum heart health. People with heart disease or risk factors should consult a doctor before beginning an exercise program. Eating right and exercising are two important components of losing weight.

 - No smoking

Smoking has many negative effects on the heart. It constricts major arteries and may create irregular heartbeats. It also raises blood pressure, contributes to the growth of plaque, raises the formation of blood clots, and causes blood platelets to cluster and impede blood flow. When smokers quit the habit, heart damage can be repaired. Several studies have revealed that ex-smokers face the same risk of heart disease as nonsmokers within five to 10 years after they quit.

- Drinking in moderation

Modest consumption of alcohol may actually protect against heart disease because alcohol appears to raise levels of HDL cholesterol. The American Heart Association defines moderate consumption as one ounce of alcohol per day. Excessive drinking is always bad for the heart. It usually raises blood pressure and may poison the heart and cause abnormal heart rhythms or even heart failure.

- Seeking diagnosis and treatment for hypertension

High blood pressure, one of the most common and severe risk factors for heart disease, can be completely controlled through lifestyle changes and medication. Seeking out the diagnosis and treatment is critical because hypertension often exhibits no symptoms; many people do not know they have it. Moderate hypertension can be controlled by reducing dietary intake of fat and sodium, exercising regularly, managing stress, abstaining from smoking, and drinking alcohol in moderation.

- Managing stress

Everyone experiences stress in life. Stress can be avoided and managed through relaxation techniques, exercise, meditation, and other methods.

See: Ayurvedic Natural Treatment Atrial Fibrillation AFib

Natural treatments for preventing heart disease

Herbal medicine has many different remedies that might have a beneficial effect on curing heart disease without medication. Garlic (Allium sativum), myrrh (Commiphora molmol), oats (Avena sativa) can decrease cholesterol and hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) Tea, especially green tea (Camellia sinensis), is high in antioxidants; studies have demonstrated that it might have a preventative effect against atherosclerosis. Coenzyme Q10 has been shown to be beneficial for 70 percent of individuals with congestive heart failure.

Yoga and other bodywork, massage, relaxation, aromatherapy, and music therapies may also help prevent cardiovascular disease and prevent, or even reverse, the progression of atherosclerosis. The efficacy of vitamins E and C remains under debate, and doctors caution that they are utilized in moderation.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) may recommend herbal remedies, acupuncture, massage, and dietary modification. A wholesome diet (like cold-water fish as a source of essential fatty acids) and exercise are important components of conventional and complementary prevention and treatment plans.

While one study concludes that four servings daily of fruit and vegetables are associated with a small drop in the risk of cardiovascular disease, eight or more servings every day can produce a substantial drop in risk. Another study demonstrated that consuming legumes at least four times a week lowered risk of cardiovascular disease from 11% to 22% compared with consuming legumes less than once weekly. Research on antioxidants continues to send mixed messages, with some reports showing that vitamins C, E, and other antioxidants can help prevent cardiovascular disease and other research showing they don't have any effect.

Many doctors and researchers, therefore, recommend that those wanting to follow healthy heart habits continue to consume a diet full of antioxidants but recognize that there's most likely no value in adding antioxidant supplements into a good diet therapy plan.

The treatment for heart diseases varies according to the condition. The treatment involves lifestyle changes, medications, and surgical procedures. The doctor will prescribe many medicines to reduce the build-up of plaques or treat the clots or deficiencies that could cause cardiac problems. Moreover, you may also need to undergo surgeries like angioplasty or cardiac bypass grafts, to rectify serious problems. 

To prevent heart diseases that can arise due to unhealthy lifestyles, stop smoking, or using tobacco and its products. Moreover, strive to reduce your blood glucose levels along with reducing the blood pressure. Maintain a healthy weight and avoid mental stress or anxiety. Lead an active lifestyle, with 30-40 minutes of physical activity. You need to undergo annual check-ups after reaching your middle age.

A study states that diet plays a very important role in the prevention of coronary heart diseases. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish are especially beneficial to reduce the occurrence of plaque build-up and other heart ailments (Bhupathiraju and Tucker, 2011). Moreover, exercising regularly can reduce your hospital admissions due to heart failures and improve your quality of life (Taylor et. al., 2014).

See: Success of Heart Arrhythmia healed by Bisoma Acupuncture

References

1. CDC, NCHS. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2013

2. Mozaffarian D, Benjamin EJ, Go AS, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2015 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2015;131:e29-322.

3. CDC  https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm

4. Mayo Clinic  https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353118

5. Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine

6. Dean Ornish et al, Intensive Lifestyle Changes for Reversal of Coronary Heart Disease, JAMA, December 16, 1998—Vol 280, No. 23

7. American Heart Association, 2000 Heart and Stroke Statistical Update. Dallas, TX.: American Heart Association, 1999.

8. DeBakey, Michael E., and Antonio M. Gotto, Jr. Heart disease, and Surgical Treatment of Heart disease. In The New Living Heart. Holbrook, MA: Adams Media Corporation, 1997.
9. Haas, Elson, M.D. Staying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Natural Medicine. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts, 1992.
10. Ody, Penelope. The Complete Medicinal Herbal. New York: DK Publishing. 1993.

See: Sample Meal Plan for High Blood Pressure Heart Disease

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