Heart Disease is a term of broad proportions encompassing disease conditions such as: arteriosclerosis, atherosclerosis, angina, and coronary heart disease. Heart disease and its complications are the major cause of death in the United States. Heart attacks alone account for 20% of all deaths in the U.S., while degenerative and arteriosclerotic heart disease account for 33%. Stroke (or cerebral vascular disease) is the forth most common cause of death.
Arteriosclerosis is degenerative change in the arterial walls, affecting first the middle and later the inner layers resulting in loss of elasticity and possible calcification. Atherosclerosis is a degenerative change in the arterial walls that principally affects the larger arteries such as the aorta, coronary, and cerebral vessels. This degenerative change results in plaque formation on the inner walls of the vessels, causing narrowing and possible clot formation (embolism) when the plaque breaks loose into the circulation, possibly causing stroke or heart attack. Or as it grows in size the plaque obscures normal blood flow possibly causing angina.
Symptoms can be variable depending on the arteries involved and degree of obstruction–angina, leg cramps, gradual mental deterioration, weakness or dizziness, and possibly no symptoms at all. A past history of gall bladder diseases, especially if rectified by surgery, can be indicative of heart disease as they both have the same cause, as I will explain later. Physical signs include high blood pressure (hypertension), weak pulse and diagonal earlobe crease.
Recently the presence of a diagonal crease on the earlobe has been shown to correlate very well with the degree of atherosclerosis. The earlobe is richly vascularized, and a decrease in blood flow over a period of time is believed to result in collapse of the vascular bed. This leads to a diagonal earlobe crease. The earlobe appears to be a better predictor of heart disease than any known risk factor, including age, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, elevated cholesterol levels and others. While the presence of an earlobe crease does not prove heart disease, it strongly suggests it. If you have this crease, begin a programme to reverse the atherosclerotic process. This correlation does not work with Orientals and Native Americans.
Prevention of the life threatening consequences of heart disease by diet and lifestyle modification is the only effective treatment. Intervention by natural remedies alone can be highly beneficial but does not rectify the underlying cause.
The three most important dietary considerations are the type of fats and amounts of fibre and refined carbohydrates (especially sugar) the individual consumes. In order to understand fully the dietary recommendations given below, it is important first to examine the role of cholesterol and platelets in the development of atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Cholesterol reduction is necessary, as cholesterol is the major component of arteriosclerotic plaque. The highest concentration of cholesterol in the body is found in bile, that is made in the liver, stored in the gall bladder and used to emulsify fats (much like detergents in your dish water emulsify fats) for digestion. When fats are eaten the bile, which emulsifies them, is reabsorbed in the small intestines along with the fats, which were consumed. So, you get a two-fold increase in cholesterol from the bile and from dietary fats. Whereas, if you eat high fibre foods the bile tries to emulsify the high fibre by binding to it, but the intestines can’t absorb it, so you end up losing cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Previously, I stated that a past history of gall bladder surgery is highly indicative of atherosclerosis. The causal factor in both gall bladder disease and heart disease is a high-fat, low-fibre diet.
The most important lab test in determining whether cholesterol is being deposited in the tissues or broken down in the liver is called the LDL:HDL ratio. HDL, or high density lipoproteins, bind to cholesterol and take it to the liver for breakdown; whereas LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, takes cholesterol to the tissues and deposits it mainly as arteriosclerotic plaque. High consumption of refined carbohydrates, especially sugar, shows an increase in a factor highly associated with cholesterol, triglycerides.
The second matter to examine is the role of platelets. Platelets are the small cells responsible for wound healing and the formation of blood clots. When the plaque that has formed in blood vessel walls has broken away, the platelets quickly try to heal the damage resulting in an inflammatory process. Platelets bind to each other and the blood vessel walls obscuring blood flow. If they become dislodged, you have an embolism. Saturated fats increase platelet aggregation (binding together) increasing the chance of embolism, while polyunsaturated fats, particularly lineolic and linolenic acids, have an opposite effect.
Lifestyle changes that need to be made include increasing physical exercise, decreasing smoking (preferably stopping completely), and stopping alcohol and coffee consumption.
Numerous vitamins and minerals have been found to be particularly effective. They include:
- Vitamin C, which increases HDL and decreases LDL
- Vitamin E, which helps dissolve blood clots, dilates blood vessels, and conserves oxygen so that the heart can work less
- Vitamin B-complex, essential in the metabolism of carbohydrates and is known to help keep cholesterol from collecting in plaque
- Magnesium: A deficiency in magnesium has been shown to produce spasms of the coronary arteries
- Chinese Medicine is particularly effective in treating heart disease but the use of medicines must fall within Chinese medical philosophy.
Most people with heart disease fall into one of nine categories including:
- deficient heart energy
- heart Yang deficiency
- deficiency of blood in the heart
- heart Yin deficiency
- flaming up of fire in the heart and phlegm obscuring the heart
Homeopathy is particularly effective but is solely dependent upon the symptom picture the person presents. The Nux Vomica patient often has heart complaints with other symptoms including an irritable, unyielding nature, and cravings for spicy foods and alcohol. The Natrum Muriaticum patient has had heart problem since a grief. They crave salty foods and all of their complaints are worse between l0 and 11 a.m. The above are just examples. For homeopathy to be truly effective, an in-depth case history should be taken.
A number of western botanical medicines are highly effective especially when prescribed on an individual basis. These include taraxacum, viscumalbum, cratageus and linden.
Heart and circulatory diseases also benefit from ozone therapy. The National Institute of Angiology and Vascular Surgery in Havana, Cuba reported that of patients suffering from atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) treated with ozone by autohaemotherapy 73.4% experienced marked improvement. Cholesterol levels have been shown to decrease up to 19.8% after 15 sessions of autohaemotherapy.
Another therapy available is Chelation therapy which is an intravenous treatment used to rid the body of potentially deadly toxins, to restore good circulation to all of the bodily tissues, and to remove or reduce the amount of debris along the arterial walls. It has been proven to reverse atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and gangrene, and can dramatically improve the quality of life for patients with arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, and failing memories.
In coronary heart disease and stroke, they have identified microorganisms as being the suspect causes. These include: herpes viruses, chlamydia, h.pylori, strept, nanobacteria and salmonella. Microorganism Elimination Technique (M.E.T.) eliminates these microorganisms.
Above I have listed a number of recommendations. I personally suggest to my clients that dietary and lifestyle changes are the keys to enjoying a healthy and high quality life. Prevention is the best medicine in ensuring that an acute life threatening or debilitating heart disease never occurs.