Heart Disease


Describes a range of diseases that affect the heart. This includes blood vessel disease as coronary artery disease; heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias); and heart defects that manifest with birth (congenital heart defects), among others.

The term “heart disease” is often used interchangeably with “cardiovascular disease.” Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke. Other heart conditions that are also considered part of heart disease include those that affect the heart’s muscle, valves, or rhythm.

Many forms of heart disease can be prevented or treated with healthy lifestyle choices.

Heart disease symptoms will vary based on the type of heart disease you have.

Symptoms associated with blood vessels (atherosclerotic disease):
These may vary from men to women, as men are more likely to have chest pain; women are more likely to have other symptoms along with chest discomfort as shortness of breath, nausea and extreme fatigue.

Symptoms can include:
– Chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure and chest discomfort (angina)
– Shortness of breath
– Pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in your legs or arms if the blood vessels in these areas are narrowed
– Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back

Diagnoses of cardiovascular disease may not occur until you have a heart attach, angina, stroke or heart failure. Therefore, it is important to watch for these symptoms and discuss the concerns with your doctor. Cardiovascular disease can sometimes be found early with regular evaluations.

Symptoms caused by heart defects:
Defects you are born with that usually become evident soon after birth. Defects may include –
– Pale, gray/blue skin color (cyanosis)
– Swelling in legs, abdomen or areas around eyes
– Infants may experience shortness of breath during feedings, leading to poor weight gain
Less serious defects are often not diagnosed until later in childhood or adulthood, with symptoms that are not usually immediately life-threatening include –
– Easily getting short of breath during exercise or activity
– Easily tiring during exercise or activity
– Swelling in hands, ankles or feet

Symptoms caused by weak heart muscle (dilated cardiomyopathy)
In early stages you may not have symptoms, but as the condition worsens, symptoms may include –
– Breathlessness with exertions or at rest
– Swelling of legs, ankles, feet
– Fatigue
– Irregular heartbeats that feel rapid, pounding or fluttering
– Dizziness, lightheadedness and fainting

Symptoms caused by heart infection
One infection includes endocarditis, affecting the inner membrane that separates the chambers and valves of the heart 9endocardium). Symptoms include –
– Fever
– Shortness of breath
– Weakness or fatigue
– Swelling in legs or abdomen
– Changes in heart rhythm
– Dry or persistent cough
– Skin rash or unusual spots

Causes of heart infection
– Bacteria
– Viruses
– Parasites

Symptoms caused by valvular heart disease –
The heart has four heart valves – the aortic, mitral, pulmonary and tricuspid valves – that open and close to direct blood flow through the heart. Valves may be damaged by a variety of conditions leading to narrowing (stenosis), leaking (regurgitations or insufficiency) or improper closing (prolapse).

Depending on the dysfunctional valve, symptoms generally involve –
– Fatigue
– Shortness of breath
– Irregular heartbeat
– Swollen feet or ankles
– Chest pain
– Fainting (syncope)

Causes of valvular heart disease
– Rheumatic fever
– Infections (infectious endocarditis)
– Connective tissue disorder

Causes of heart arrhythmias
– Heart defects born with
– Coronary artery disease
– High blood pressure
– Diabetes
– Smoking
– Excessive use of alcohol or caffeine
– Drug abuse
– Stress
– Some over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, dietary supplements and herbal remedies
– Valvular heart disease


RISK FACTORS

– Age – risk of damaged/ narrowed/ weakened arteries or thickened heart muscle increases with age
– Sex – men are generally at greater risk of heart disease; however, women’s risk increases after menopause
– Family history – especially if a parent developed it at an earlier age (before age 55 for male relative as a brother or father and 65 for a female relative as mother or sister)
– Smoking – nicotine restricts blood vessels and carbon monoxide can damage their inner lining, making them more susceptible to atherosclerosis. Heart attacks are more common in smokers than in nonsmokers.
– Poor diet – a diet high in bad fats as trans fats, refined salt, sugar, increased cholesterol and lack of proper nutrients can contribute to the development of heart disease.
– High blood pressure – uncontrolled blood pressure can result in hardening and thickening of your arteries, narrowing of the vessels through which blood flows.
– High cholesterol levels – increases the formation of plaques and atherosclerosis.
– Diabetes – increases your risk of heart disease as related to diabetes and high blood pressure.
– Obesity – excess weight generally worsens risk factors.
– Physical inactivity – lack of exercise is also associated with many forms of heart disease.
– Stress – unrelieved stress may damage your arteries and worsen other risk factors for heart disease.
– Poor hygiene – not regularly washing hands or establishing other habits that can help prevent viral or bacterial infections can put you at risk of heart infections, especially with underlying heart conditions. Poor dental health (as related to poor diet) may also contribute to heart disease.

WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR

If you experience any of the following, seek emergency medical care.
– Chest pain
– Shortness of breath
– Fainting

Heart disease is easier to treat when detected early, so talk with your doctor about your concerns regarding your heart health.

How we treat heart disease naturally:

Heart disease is one of those conditions that involves many facets of the body. For this reason, we will take a thorough history, assess lifestyle habits that include diet, exercise, sleep, detoxification of the body, medications/supplements, mental/emotional state, stress and lab work to determine what is contributing to the risk factors as well as the overall development of heart disease.

Based on the information gathered we will address the concerns with lifestyle changes/modification; address emotional concerns, implement an exercise routine as well as methods as acupuncture, herbs, homeopathy, Emotion Code or others to help restore proper and optimal function.

Where possible, we will incorporate a cleansing plan prior to initiating any long-term treatment to rid the body of any physical obstacles (i.e. toxins) that impede greater function as well as improve the assimilation of changes once the plan begins. The treatment plan will be tailored to the individual, with alterations based on how the body responds. It is important that the individual make constant contact with the doctor through follow-up appointments to ensure the progression of the treatment plan as well as address any concerns during this process.

Keep in mind that with any treatment option chosen to best fit your individual concerns, it will take time, constant effort and much dedication to helping reverse, regenerate and improve overall health. This will require a lifestyle shift. We cannot expect different results by continuing in the habits that led to increased risks and development of the disease in the first place.
At the same time, together with Dr. Leah, you will achieve improved health and quality of life if it is what you desire.


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