Heart, one of the vital organs of the body, is located in the center of the chest, slightly pointing to the left. It pumps the blood throughout the body via the network of arteries and veins. In doing so, it supplies much-needed oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and removes carbon dioxide and other waste products of metabolism. Without this supply, the organs and tissues of the body will die. For this, the heart beats about 100,000 times a day, on an average 60-80 beats per minute in an adult and pumps 5.7 liters of blood regularly throughout the body.
FACTORS AFFECTING HEART
Coronary artery disease also called heart disease, is very common and often silent until it strikes. It is therefore, essential to know the various factors that raise the risk of heart diseases. The uncontrollable risk factors for heart diseases are:-
- Male gender
- Old age
- Family history of heart disease
- Race- African races are more prone to heart diseases than Caucasians
The controllable risk factors of heart diseases are:-
- High levels of bad cholesterol (low density lipoprotein, LDL) and low levels of HDL or good cholesterol
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
- Physical inactivity
- Obesity i.e. BMI higher than 25
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- High C- reactive protein
- Uncontrolled stress, depression or anger
- Poor diet
- Alcohol abuse
SYMPTOMS OF HEART DISEASE
Important signs of heart disease which should never be ignored especially if one is older than 60 years, is overweight or has diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol are:-
- Chest discomfort- There may be pain, tightness or pressure in the chest that is severe and does not go away after a few minutes.
- Nausea, indigestion, heartburn or stomach pain.
- Pain that radiates from the chest to left arm.
- Feeling dizzy or light headed suddenly with chest discomfort or shortness of breath.
- Throat or jaw pain i.e. pain or pressure in the centre of the chest that spreads up into the throat or jaw.
- Getting exhausted quickly than before like on climbing the stairs or carrying groceries from the car. Extreme exhaustion for days at a time, especially in women, can be a symptom of heart disease.
- Snoring- Unusually loud snoring that sounds like gasping or choking can be a sign of sleep apnoea which puts extra stress on the heart.
- Sweating- break out in a cold sweat for a non-obvious reason
- Long-lasting cough with white or pink mucus.
- Swelling of legs, feet and ankles.
- Irregular heartbeat
Heart disease is preventable 80-90 % times by simply adopting healthy lifestyle measures. Lifestyle changes are helpful to reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Such changes are as follows:-
- Quit smoking- Smokers have more than twice the risk for heart disease than non smokers. Those exposed to constant passive smoke also have an increased risk.
- Improve cholesterol levels- Take a diet low in cholesterol and saturated and trans fats and high in complex carbohydrates and good fats i.e omega 3 fatty acids.
- Control diabetes- Controlling blood sugar through healthy diet, regular exercise, healthy weight and taking medicines as prescribed is essential.
- Control high blood pressure- high blood pressure is the most common heart disease risk factor. A systolic/ diastolic blood pressure reading of over 130/80 mmHg is defined as blood pressure. Therefore controlling high blood pressure through diet, exercise, healthy weight, restricted salt intake and if needed medications is essential.
- Exercise- Exercise for 30 minutes a day at moderate intensity for most days of the week is advised.
- Right diet- healthy diet low in sodium, saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol and refined sugars and rich in vitamins and antioxidants is advised.
- Maintain Healthy weight- excess weight puts significant strain on the heart and aggravates several other risk factors for heart disease.
- Manage stress- Learning stress management techniques like time management, relaxation exercises like meditation and yoga and setting realistic goals helps to lower risk for heart disease.
HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT FOR HEART HEALTH
Homeopathy is often used in cardiac diseases without adverse effects. Even in incurable conditions, homeopathy helps significantly by improving the quality of life of the patient. Best medicine for heart disease is the one most similar to disease manifestation which includes symptoms from both mental and physical sphere. Such a medicine also acts as best tonic for heart. Cardiotonic medications in homeopathy are highly effective and safe at the same time as they don’t cause any side effects.
Medicines known to be the best heart tonics in homeopathy are:-
Digitalis- It is used in cardiac troubles with bradycardia or the abnormally slow pulse and dropsy of external and internal parts. A sudden sensation of heart stops on least attempt to move. There may be jaundice with heart disease.
Crataegus- It acts on muscles of the heart and is used in chronic heart diseases with extreme weakness and very feeble, irregular and intermittent pulse. There is extreme dyspnoea, the chilliness of skin with blueness of fingers and toes on least exertion. It acts as a sedative in the cross, irritable patients with cardiac symptoms.
Cactus Grandiflorous- It is suited for atheromatous arteries and weak heart. There is a characteristic sensation of constriction in the chest as if from iron band. There may be violent palpitations worse lying on left side and at approach of menses.
Kalmia Latifolia- It is indicated when there is tumultuous action of the heart which is rapid and visible. There is tachycardia and sharp pain that take away the breath of the person. The palpitations are worse on leaning forward.
Spigellia- It is indicated when in heart disease, there is precordial pain that aggravates on least movement. Palpitations are accompanied with foul odor from the mouth. The dyspnoea makes the person lie on the right side with head high .There craving for hot water which relieves.
Strophanthus Hispidus- It acts on the heart muscle, increases the systole, diminishes the rapidity of heart beat and runs off dropsical accumulations. It is especially useful in failing compensation dependent upon fatty heart.