Monday, May 16, 2016

Heart Disease

Heart disease is a group of diseases that affect the heart, arteries, capillaries, brain, legs, and other components of the cardiovascular and circulatory systems.
Heart disease is the Number 1 killer in the U.S. and in other countries, despite the fact that the cardiovascular system responds very well to proper nutrition and exercise. 
Heart disease can gradually build up as most people live with some form of heart disease for years until one day when they have a heart attack or a stroke. All of the risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure (hypertension), obesity and diabetes contribute to damaging the heart.
Heart disease is one of the top 4 silent killers because heart disease "silently" causes your body (cardiovascular system) to slowly deteriorate and create plaque buildup in the arteries that often goes undetected until there is a sudden heart attack or stroke.

The Classifications (Stages) of Heart Disease Failure

In order to determine the best course of of therapy, physicians often assess the stage of heart failure according to the New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional classification system. This system relates symptoms to everyday activities and the patient's quality of life.
Class I (Mild)
No limitation of physical activity. Ordinary physical activity does not cause undue fatigue, palpitation, or dyspnea (shortness of breath).
Class II (Mild)
Slight limitation of physical activity. Comfortable at rest, but ordinary physical activity results in fatigue, palpitation, or dyspnea.
Class III (Moderate)
Marked limitation of physical activity. Comfortable at rest, but less than ordinary activity causes fatigue, palpitation, or dyspnea.
Class IV (Severe)
Unable to carry out any physical activity without discomfort. Symptoms of cardiac insufficiency at rest. If any physical activity is undertaken, discomfort is increased.

More Information about Heart Disease

A heart attack (or myocardial infarction) occurs when a blockage develops in one of the arteries supplying blood to the heart. A stroke occurs when the blockage develops in one of the arteries supplying blood to the brain. A leg cramping occurs when the leg muscles are not being supplied with enough blood for the physical effort demanded. Heart muscle
In the case of a heart attack or a stroke, a lack of blood stops the heart or brain from working so it shuts down and the body collapses.
In the case of leg cramping, a condition called normal inadequate leg circulation (NIC) can develop when leg valves do not close completely, resulting in feelings of heaviness, a sensation of tension (chiefly located in the calves), restless legs, and edema (swelling).
The ropy, swollen knots known as varicose veins occur when the incompetent valves cause blood to pool in the larger leg veins, forcing them to bulge against the skin surface. This slowing of the blood transit time triggers the clotting response causing pockets to form, trapping blood and resulting in minor clots and inflammation. This condition, called phlebitis, can become life threatening if the clot breaks free and travels to the heart, brain, or lungs.
Heart disease is the number one killer disease in most countries including the United States, where over a million people die each year, one death every 33 seconds. More than 60 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease, 50 million have high blood pressure, 12.6 million have coronary heart disease, 1.2 million have heart attacks, and 4.6 million have suffered a stroke. Coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis are the two major degenerative forms of heart disease that account for most of the deaths.
Unfortunately, most people with diabetes believe that amputation and blindness are their biggest threats. They aren’t aware that they are at an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. In fact, two out of every three diabetics die from a heart attack or a stroke.
According to a recent study conducted by the Yale University School of Medicine, more than one fifth of patients with Type 2 diabetes have decreased blood flow to the heart, but no symptoms to suggest there is a problem. Known as myocardial ischemia, this serious condition occurs when the heart does not receive enough blood to meet its metabolic needs, usually due to inflammation and plaque build-up in the coronary arteries. When no symptoms are present, this is usually due to “silent” inflammation.
As a result, the risk of sudden death from a heart attack, even though there is no history of heart disease, is as high as the risk in people without diabetes who have had a heart attack. That’s why diabetes is called a heart disease equivalent: Having diabetes is like having survived a heart attack.

Liver and Heart Connection

Although the liver and heart partner together to ensure blood circulates healthfully throughout the body, few people consider the two to be a team. However, research on atherosclerosis confirms a tight connection between liver and heart pathology.
Physiologically, blood and bile intimately tie liver and heart health together:
· Blood – The liver receives 25 percent of the blood pumped by the heart and filters over two quarts of blood a minute. To ensure optimal circulation and filtration, the heart pumps blood while the liver cleans it.
· Bile – To dissolve fat in the blood vessels, the liver produces up to two cups of bile a day. Without bile, our arteries would be as hard as rocks without any hope of circulating blood throughout the heart, liver or remainder of the body.
Kidneys and Heart Connection
The link between the kidneys and heart is more obvious than the link between the liver and heart. In fact, many doctors think of the heart and kidneys as one interlinked body system rather than separate organs.
The job of your heart is to pump oxygen-rich blood from your lungs to each cell in your body, minute after minute, day after day. With each heartbeat, blood is pushed through your kidneys for filtering. Your kidneys filter about 200 quarts of blood per day to make about two liters of urine.
To do their work, your kidneys need a constant supply of blood at a normal pressure. Too little blood or too little pressure can cause acute, sudden kidney failure. Too much blood or too much pressure can lead to scarring that can cause chronic, permanent kidney disease.
Note: When you have kidney disease, it might not occur to you to have your heart checked out. Or, if you have heart disease, you might not think to have your kidneys tested. As it turns out, checking both your heart and your kidneys is a good idea if you have either kind of health problem. Why? Because diseases that affect the kidneys can also damage your heart—and vice versa.
Key Point: Because of the links with the liver and kidneys, it is imperative that any heart treatment strategy include therapies that cleanse and nourish the liver and kidneys. Unfortunately, most conventional treatment strategies ignore the liver. That's why a comprehensive wellness strategy is so critical to optimizing one's cardiovascular health and overall health.

Symptoms of Cardiovascular (Heart) Disease

Symptoms of cardiovascular (heart) disease vary according to the type of heart disease, and they vary from person to person.
The following is a list of some of the early signs or symptoms of heart disease/stroke:
  • shortness of breath; shortness of breath after exercise;
  • pain or tightness in the chest (angina);
  • swelling (edema) in the legs and feet;
  • pain in one of the legs, usually in the lower leg, with swelling and discoloration;
  • pain in the legs with walking (claudication);
  • heart palpitation, arrhythmia;
  • cold feet and/or cold hands;
  • high C-reactive protein level;
  • high homocysteine level;
  • slurred speech, memory loss, muscle weakness, numbness
Please Note: Women have different symptoms than men because heart disease in women tends to be microvascular (heart disease in the small blood vessels), while in men it's macrovascular (heart disease in the large arteries).
But, you may not exhibit any of these signs. If you do exhibit any of these signs, you should contact your doctor for a physical or check up – to avoid one of the major symptoms of heart disease: sudden death from high stress.
  • Pain, shortness of breath, fatigue. No gender differences
  • Right-side chest discomfort. 4.7 times more likely to be reported by men
  • Throat discomfort. 12 times more likely to be reported by women
  • Discomfort. 2.7 times more likely to be reported by men
  • Dull ache. 3.9 times more likely to be reported by men
  • Pressing on the chest. 7.3 times more likely to be reported by women
  • Vomiting. 3.9 times more likely to be reported by women
  • Indigestion. 3.7 times more likely to be reported by men
Men were also five times more likely than women to recognize their symptoms as being related to their heart, say the researchers.
Note: The 64-slice CT scanner can provide detailed images of the heart and arteries for an easier, non-invasive diagnosis.
Note: If you've been diagnosed with congestive heart failure (CHF), then, it's important to find out from your doctor, the root cause of your CHF. Knowing the actual root cause will help you and your doctor design an effective treatment protocol. For example, if your CHF was fueled by CAD, hypertension or alcohol-abuse vs. a heart valve dysfunction, the treatment protocol would be entirely different for each scenario.
Also keep in mind that taking certain medications can lead to the development or worsening of congestive heart failure. This is especially true for those drugs that can cause sodium retention or affect the power of the heart muscle, i.e. NSAIDs, certain steroids, some calcium channel blockers, and some diabetic meds (i.e. pioglitazone -- Actos).

Impact of Diabetes on the Heart

According to the Mayo Clinic: “Diabetes damages your cardiovascular system, putting you at increased risk of a sudden heart attack or stroke.” Your risks are higher because of the damage that diabetes can cause to your major arteries, including the blood vessels that supply blood to your heart and brain. Another grave complication is gangrene, due to poor circulation, which usually leads to nerve damage and amputation.
WARNING: If you believe that you are having a heart attack, sit down, call 911, chew an aspirin tablet (if you’re not allergic), take deep breaths to inhale extra oxygen, and cough every few seconds to keep your heart beating at a reasonable rate.
When the circulatory system is working properly, it delivers blood throughout the body, utilizing and providing specific nutrients to all the organs, tissues, and cells of the body. These key nutrients include CoQ10, l-carnitine, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Omega-3 EFAs, magnesium, folate, and arginine.
But, when there is a chronic deficiency of these or other nutrients, the circulatory system starts to struggle and does not work as effectively. Over time, components of the circulatory system such as the blood vessels may become inflamed and damaged, leading to other health issues such as thick blood, blood clots, cold feet/hands, chronic fatigue, erectile dysfunction, and depression. This puts additional stress on other components of the circulatory system such as the heart, which can lead to a sudden stroke or heart attack.

Natural Treatments for Heart Disease

However, a consistent exercise program and a well-designed nutritional program that addresses these specific nutritional deficiencies can be very beneficial in addressing congestive heart failure (CHF), preventing and reversing heart disease, and other circulatory issues without the need for drugs.
In general, for good heart health, avoid the processed foods, drink raw vegetable juices, and eat more green and bright-colored vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli, red peppers, and pumpkin for the Vitamin C, chlorophyll, folate; and, the reduction of cholesterol and homocysteine.
Also, eat wild salmon and sardines for the Omega-3 EFAs. Foods and nutrients such as filtered water, celery, CoQ10, cayenne, ginger, onions, and garlic nourish and protect and the heart and the cardiovascular system. Refer to the wellness protocol section in Chapter 15 of the Death to Diabetes book and the Power of Juicing ebook for more details about heart health.
WARNING: If you are having a severe drop in blood pressure and/or dizzy spells (or light-headedness), contact your doctor immediately.
A drop in blood pressure can cause dizziness and fainting when the brain fails to receive an adequate supply of blood. And big drops in blood pressure, especially those caused by uncontrolled bleeding, severe infections or allergic reactions can, be life-threatening.
The drop in blood pressure could be due to one or more of the following:
Medications. Many drugs can cause low blood pressure, including diuretics and other drugs that treat high blood pressure; heart medications such as beta blockers; drugs for Parkinson's disease; tricyclic antidepressants; sildenafil (Viagra), particularly in combination with nitroglycerine; narcotics; and alcohol. Some over-the-counter medications can cause low blood pressure when taken in combination with medications used to treat high blood pressure.
Heart problems. Some heart conditions that can lead to low blood pressure include extremely low heart rate (bradycardia), heart valve problems, heart attack and heart failure. These conditions may cause low blood pressure because they prevent your body from being able to circulate enough blood.
Endocrine problems. An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) or overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can cause low blood pressure. In addition, other conditions, such as adrenal insufficiency (Addison's disease), low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), and in some cases, diabetes, can trigger low blood pressure.
Dehydration. When you become dehydrated, your body loses more water than it takes in. Even mild dehydration can cause weakness, dizziness and fatigue. Fever, vomiting, severe diarrhea, overuse of diuretics and strenuous exercise can all lead to dehydration. Far more serious is hypovolemic shock, a life-threatening complication of dehydration. It occurs when low blood volume causes a sudden drop in blood pressure and a corresponding reduction in the amount of oxygen reaching your tissues. If untreated, severe hypovolemic shock can cause death within a few minutes or hours.
Blood loss. Losing a lot of blood from major injury or severe internal bleeding reduces the amount of blood in your body, leading to a severe drop in blood pressure.
Severe infection (septicemia). Septicemia can happen when an infection in the body enters the bloodstream. Lung, abdomen or urinary tract infections are usually the cause of septicemia. These conditions can lead to a life-threatening drop in blood pressure called septic shock.
Allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. Common triggers of anaphylaxis include foods, certain medications, insect venoms and latex. Anaphylaxis can cause breathing problems, hives, itching, a swollen throat and a drop in blood pressure.
Nutritional deficiencies. A lack of the vitamins B-12 and folate can cause anemia, a condition in which your body doesn't produce enough red blood cells. In addition to making you feel tired because you're not getting enough oxygen, anemia can lead to low blood pressure.
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