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Heart Disease

Types, Causes, Symptoms, Natural ways to prevent heart disease

What is heart disease?

Heart disease refers to the problems associated with the heart, coronery arteries and blood vessels

Heart disease can be of several types:

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

- The heart receives its own supply of blood from a network of arteries, called the coronary arteries. Coronary artery disease develops when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, they get narrowed and blood cannot easily flow through them. Coronary artery disease is also known as ischaemic heart disease and is the leading cause of death in the US. When the heart does not receive an adequate supply of oxygen-rich blood, it can lead to angina which manifests as chest pain or pain in the shoulders, arms and back. It can also cause discomfort similar to an upset stomach. Getting angina implies the risk of getting a heart attack. When an artery is completely blocked by plaque and the heart cannot get adequate blood for more than 20 minutes, a heart attack results.

Heart failure

- When the heart muscles get weak and are unable to pump enough blood, heart failure occurs. As a result of heart failure, other organs in the body are unable to get an adequate blood supply.

Heart arrythmias

- When heart beats become irregular it is known as heart arrythmias. While an occasional racing of the heart is normal, if you have heart flutters as well as dizziness or shortness of breath, you should get emergency medical attention.

Rheumatic Heart Disease

- This is a condition in which rheumatic fever causes permanent damage to heart valves. The damaged heart valve either does not completely close or completely open.

What are the symptoms of heart disease?

The symptoms of heart disease can come and go and symptoms can develop slowly over time. It is therefore important to recognize some symptoms of heart disease
  • Sudden discomfort or pain in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
  • Pain in the neck, jaws, shoulder, arms or back
  • Pain that may feel like burning, squeezing, heaviness, tightness or pressure
  • Discomfort that feels like a stomach upset
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness and light headedness

Warning signs of heart disease


  • Call 911 or your local emergency number for help, or have someone call for you (It's a good idea to keep a list of emergency numbers near the phone at all times).
  • Stop all activity and sit or lie down, in whatever position is most comfortable.
  • If you take nitroglycerin, take your normal dosage.
  • If you are experiencing chest pain, chew and swallow one (1) adult 325 mg ASA tablet (e.g., Aspirin®) or two (2) 80 mg tablets. Do not use pain medicines like acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenolâ ) or ibuprofen (e.g. Advil®).
  • Rest comfortably and wait for emergency medical services (EMS) (e.g., ambulance) to arrive.

If you are with someone who is experiencing the warning signals of a heart attack:

  • Help the person with all the activities listed above.
  • Expect denial. You must take charge and call 911 or your local emergency number.
  • If the person becomes unresponsive (no normal breathing, coughing, or movement), start CPR.

In the event of cardiopulmonary arrest (no normal breathing, coughing or movement), call 911 or your local emergency number, attach an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) or begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately and continue until emergency help has arrived.

  • Check the scene for safety.
  • Determine unresponsiveness (no normal breathing, coughing or movement).
  • Call 911 or your local emergency number.
  • Get the AED or ask someone to get an AED if there is one close by, and attach it to the person immediately.

Early intervention in the case of a cardiac emergency can mean the difference between life and death. The flow of oxygen to the brain can be sustained and the amount of permanent damage can be reduced. A survival rate as high as 90% has been reported when defibrillation is achieved within the first minute of collapse. Every minute that passes reduces the chances of survival by 7- 10%.

What are the causes of heart disease?

It is an interesting fact that heart disease is not known among mammals and is most predominant in western countries. It has therefore often been said that heart disease is due to our modern lifestyle. Some of the causes of heart disease are:
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Age
  • Gender - Men are more likely to get heart disease than women
  • Heredity - Genetic factors play a role in increasing the risk of the disease
  • Obesity - Since overweight people tend to have high cholesterol and blood pressure levels, they are more likely to suffer from heart disease.
  • Lack of exercise plays an important part in contributing to heart disease.
  • Lack of vitamin C and antioxidants have also been shown to cause heart disease
  • Some cholesterol medications tend to weaken the heart muscles
  • Excessive exposure to free radicals originating from toxic chemicals such as pesticides, chlorinated water and air pollutants is a strong risk factor for cardiovascular disease
  • High levels of the amino acid, homocysteine, in the blood increases the risk of cardiovascular disease very significantly.
  • It has also been shown that mercury is a potent initiator of heart disease and risk increases with the number of amalgam tooth fillings.

    How can heart disease be prevented, stopped or reversed?

  • A heart healthy diet is the best way to prevent and reverse heart disease. Less than 10% of the daily energy intake should be in the form of saturated fat and the daily cholesterol intake should not exceed 300 mg. However the fat content of the average American diet is 40-50% of calories consumed and is mostly saturated fats It is important to cut down on meat products and switch to a largely vegetable based diet. A study in Germany showed that the death rate among male vegetarians due to cardiovascular disease was only 39% of that of the general population while the death rate of female vegetarians was only 46%.

  • Herbal remedies - Arjuna herb is considered very heart healthy owing to its content of COQ10. Arjuna is considered beneficial in conditions of arterial plaque build-up, strengthening heart muscles and improving blood flow. Abana - an ayurvedic blend of over 40 herbs and minerals is also recommended as a daily heart tonic.

  • Reduce cholesterol by changing your diet and with herbs like Guggul that maintain healthy LDL-HDL levels

  • Reduce blood pressure and hypertension - Hypertension can be reduced by reducing salt intake, reducing weight, and lifestyle changes. Arjuna herb helps to maintain normal blood pressure levels. More on natural ways to reduce hypertension

  • Start an exercise regimen such as yoga. It has been shown that brisk walking at the rate of 3mph for at least 3 hours a week significantly reduces the risk of heart disease for women

  • Give up smoking - Smoking causes arteries to narrow and damages them, obstructing blood flow. Smokers who quit lower their risk of stroke by 27% two years after stopping. Their risk reaches the level of non-smokers after about four years.

  • Reduce stress and anxiety : Take up stress reducing activities such as yoga and fun hobbies. Herbs such as Ashwagandha help to rejuvenate and relax.

    You may also be interested in the following articles

  • Prevent and reverse heart disease with natural remedies

  • Herbs for Blood circulation

  • Blood Circulation Problems and Herbal Remedies

  • Build heart muscle - strengthen and tone your heart

  • Hypertension may show no symptoms. Lifestyle changes can control it


    National Heart Lung and Blood Institute

    Center for Medical Consumers article by Dr. Paul Rosch, MD and Dr. Gravelins

    Ref:Cardiovasc Drug Rev. 2007 Winter;25(4):375-90


    The Medical Advisor - The complete guide to Alternative & Conventional Treatments

    Himalaya Herbals Company

    Other Heart Healthy Products

  • Abana
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    Himalaya Herbals Abana for blood circulation, heart health
    Helps maintain normal cholesterol levels
    Himalaya Herbals Guggul
    Cardioprotective, Maintains normal blood circulation and blood pressure
    Himalaya Herbals Arjuna for heart health


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