What is coronary artery Disease?
The heart needs continuous and sufficient blood supply to function. Blood is supplied to the heart by two coronary arteries, which start from the biggest blood vessel called the Aorta.
Coronary Artery Disease is a condition, which results in the narrowing of coronary arteries, the blood vessels, which supply blood to the heart muscle. This narrowed artery at times gets further narrowed, compromising blood supply to a particular portion of heart and leads to a certain symptoms at that particular time. The condition in which a part of the heart receives reduced blood supply is known as coronary artery disease (CAD), also known as Ischaemic Heart Disease (IHD).
"It is to be appreciated that the narrowing of the coronary arteries is only the effect of the disease and not the disease itself". The narrowing may occur gradually over decades and by itself does not cause any symptoms. But added to this, if a sudden obstruction occurs in the artery it leads to various symptoms ranging from mild chest pain (Angina) to shock and collapse (cardiac arrest), depending on the suddenness with which obstruction occurs and the extent of the sudden obstruction. This is also commonly known as a heart attack.
What are the causative and contributing factors of coronary Artery Disease or Heart attacks?
"The heart cannot be treated in isolation, independent of the whole man of whom it forms only a part". All the factors which affect the human being affect the heart, in fact these factors would have an effect on all the organs of the body, but much more so on the heart, because it is the only organ in the body which beats 100,000 times per day non-stop from birth to death.
MIND (Psychosocial factors):
As the cosmic force (vital force) is all pervading, so the mind pervades through the body. Every organ and every cell has got a mind of its own. In different organs it manifests differently. In the brain it manifests as intellect and in heart it manifests as emotion.
"The mind has a great influence on the behavior and functioning of the heart. The heart responds to the emotions through changes in the rate of rhythm and its performance as a pump".
The mind begins to play its role right from the moment the brain and the heart develop in the womb. The fetus' heart begins to react to the thoughts and stresses of the pregnant mother, the mind of the fetus begins to react to any disturbance in the environment where the pregnant mother is right from the moment of the conception.This would result in various congenital abnormalities (in-born errors). When the heart of the fetus develops, it reacts by increasing its rate as a sequel to emotional disturbances. Indian seers (Rishis) knew this for a fact thousands of years ago and handed over to us the tradition of sending a pregnant girl to her parental place very early in pregnancy. The scientific basis for this practice is that the pregnant girl is not only surrounded by an affectionate and pleasant atmosphere, but feels emotionally happy and secure in the loving care of her parents. In fact the womb stage of a human beings life is the most crucial one.
The foundation of coronary artery disease thus is laid when one is in the mother's womb itself.
Every human being is exposed to stress to varying degrees in life. Yet we all do not develop symptoms of coronary artery disease. The reason is the inherent and different capabilities to cope with stress. "All human being are alike anatomically, but not two humans are alike constitutionally".
Negative emotions like fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, jealousy, enmity, hostility can have a very bad effect on the heart and vessels and its functioning. At the same time positive emotions like happiness, contentedness, bravery, sympathy can have positive impact on health of the heart and the human being.
It is universally agreed in the medical community that the stress of modern life is the main culprit of the increased incidence of heart disease in the community. The struggle for existence has become intense at various levels. And it is not just about the desire to advance professionally, socially and economically but also to outmaneuver others. It is not just about earning enough to lead a decent life, but it is a struggle to earn as much as possible in as little a time as possible. With rapidly changing values, human relationships have become business-like. All these factors make life very stressful. This is accompanied by a sense of insecurity and fear of the unknown which is consequently taking a heavy toll on the functioning of the heart and leading to coronary heart (artery) disease.
Persons with a family history of Coronary Heart Disease are more prone to manifest this problem than other people and should avoid risk factors like smoking, alcohol, high consumption of fats and sedentary life.
LACK OF PHYSICAL EXERCISE:
Exercise also strengthens the heart muscle and improves efficiency of heart functioning and also protects against the effects of psychological stress.
People who smoke have a higher incidence and risk of dying from heart attacks than the non-smokers. The toxic substances in tobacco are absorbed into the blood and cause damage to the inner lining of the coronary arteries. One study revealed that smoking could reduce life span by 18 years. Each cigarette reduces life span by 5 minutes.
Excessive consumption of fatty food contributes to the development of coronary heart disease. It was observed that excessive animal fat, and western diet like pizzas, cakes, hamburger etc. increases risk of getting heart problems.
Contrary to the claims of some people that alcohol in moderate quantities is good for the heart, alcohol in any quantity when consumed regularly could cause damage to the heart muscle.
Nuclear radiation, X-Rays, pesticides, insecticides, cigarette smoke, exhaust fumes are a few environmental agents which increase free radicals in the body and damage heart muscle.
People who are overweight are far more likely to develop coronary artery disease more than thinner people. Loss of excess body weight will eliminate one of the major risk factors of heart disease.
Persistent high blood pressure injures the inner lining of the coronary artery and leads to further thickening of the blood vessel. Which causes insufficient blood supply to the heart muscle and results in heart attacks.
Uncontrolled diabetes (Blood Sugar) increases risk of Coronary Heart Disease because of altered fat metabolism and thickening of blood vessels.
What are the symptoms of heart attack?
Symptoms of heart attack vary widely from person to person.
1. The first and foremost symptom is PAIN.
a) It may occur behind the breastbone or across the whole or front of the chest.
b) It may radiate into the jaws, down the left arm commonly and/or right arm, also into fingers.
c) Pain also may radiate to throat, jaws, back, between shoulder blades or upper abdomen.
d) Pain may be felt as heaviness in the chest, burning, aching, or constriction.
e) It may occur during physical exertion forcing the patient to stop it i.e. it incapacitates the person at once.
f) It may occur after a heavy meal or walking against a cold wind.
g) It may be triggered after a heated argument or mental excitement like a fit of anger or fear.
h) Anginal pain is due to temporary insufficient supply of blood to a part of the heart and lasts only for 3-5 minutes.
i) Pain occurring due to extreme reduction of blood flow to the heart and leading to myocardial infarction (death of heart muscle) usually persists for many hours. Symptoms associated with pain in the chest.
a) Very profuse sweating all over the body – soaking through your clothes.
b) Breathlessness (Dyspnea)
c) Fainting or sinking sensation or collapsing.
d) Vomiting and sometimes even passing a motion.
e) Confusion, extreme anxiety, fear, and sometimes they feel they are dying.
f) Loss of consciousness.
f) Silent heart attack: Some people, especially diabetics, get heart attacks without prominent pain. They suddenly collapse with profuse sweating and shock.
Q. What are immediate steps to be taken once the heart attack is suspected?
1) Call your family doctor immediately.
2) Make arrangements (with doctor's coordination) to shift the patient to the hospital, preferably to the intensive coronary care unit (ICCU).
3) Start giving Homoeopathic Medicines Aconite 200 and Arnica 30 alternately once in 10-15 minutes. 10-15 doses each. These medicines are the primary aid till the doctor arrives.
4) All the ancillary methods like oxygen inhalation, IV fluids on lifeline, continuous monitoring of the heart function, defibrillation etc, are to be utilized while administering homeopathic medicines.
Cardiopulmonary rescue measures should be immediately taken up in the case of cardiac arrest, (where patient can't be shifted to) the hospital like
- Cardiac massage and
- Mouth to mouth resuscitation
What are long term measures to be taken in order to prevent coronary heart disease, to avoid recurrence, (also for control of hypertension)?
Once a person is out of the crisis (heart attack), he must take all the necessary measures to prevent recurrence otherwise another lethal heart attack can follow at any time.
1. Avoid all the causative and contributing factors of heart diseases.
a) control your body weight
b) regular exercises like yoga, or walking.
c) adopt healthy dietary habits.(See CVS guidelines for diet)
d) reduce salt intake in your diet. It is the number one culprit of various health hazards like hypertension, heart diseases, obesity etc.
e) stop tobacco smoking.
f) stop drinking alcohol.
g) Don't take drugs like painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, hormones and herbal medicines without physician's guidance.
h) adopt principles of Mental Hygiene:
- Inculcate positive attitudes and positive thinking right from the childhood.
- Inculcate positive emotions like happiness (Ananda), contentedness, sympathy, bravery, kindness, and self-confidence.
- Avoid negative emotions like anger, fear, timidity, greediness, short-temperedness, too much pride, jealousies, enmity, hostility, sadness, etc.
- Unbalanced emotions can lead to various health problems. (Psychosomatic disorders) including hypertension and heart attacks.
- Practice yoga, pranayama and meditation for peace and happiness. One can find peace and happiness within rather than in external things like luxuries, properties, or people.
- Develop the capacity for attachment and detachment (equanimity). Adopt the attitude of "do your duty and forget about the result". Contrary to this, most of the time we worry about the result, and never do our duty properly.
Homoeopathic Treatment for prevention of recurrence of heart attacks:
a) Follow treatment with a well qualified Homoeopathic physician for a period of 3-4 years. In order to prevent further heart attacks and other complications.
b) Give all the information regarding your health problems, desires, aversions, habits, your weather adaptability, family history, past illness, etc in order to treat you constitutionally and plan treatment properly.
c) Homoeopathic system of medicine adopts wholistic approach in the treatment method is "Treat the patient and not the disease".
d) Homoeopathic system of medicine has got good remedial agents for treatment and prevention of Hypertension and coronary heart diseases.
Medicines reduce emotional disturbances and its effects on body, reduces cholesterol and helps in dissolving the clot and reducing thickness of blood vessels, and strengthens heart musculature. Homoeo medicines also help in revascularization of myocardium.
e) 90% of Bypass surgeries can be avoided, if treatment is planned and implemented properly. All the investigative procedures like ECG, Echocardiogram, perfusion tests, Angiograms can be utilized to the advantage of the patients.
*Some information regarding Surgical procedures like Bypass-surgery, Angioplasty, and stent.
1. All these methods are concentrated on the 'block' which is already compensated by nature adequately through collateral vessels.
2. All these procedures are ad-hoc and palliative, with temporary benefit.
3. By themselves without the aid of drugs, change in habits, lifestyle, attitudes, they are not beneficial, and if these lifestyles and attitudinal changes etc. were adopted earlier the patient would not have the need for any surgical procedure at all.
4. They do not prevent recurrence of the disease in the same vessel.
5. All these procedures do not prevent occurrence of disease in other vessels.
1. Latro Ductus Mactans – 30 can be taken for instant relief of chest pain (angina), this medicine can be utilized like sorbitrate.
2. Arnica – 200 can be repeated to dissolve the clot and improve the coronary blood supply during the attack.