DID you think of your heart and blood vessels last Friday? About 17million people die world-wide every year possibly because they do not pay enough attention to them. Such people may have been having chest, shoulder, back and arm pains or swellings in the foot or feet and other parts of the body. They may have been hypertensive, suffer from severe and constant headache or suffered from dizziness. At 27 in 1977, I ran into the first book on the heart for my health library at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, bookshop. I have forgotten the name of the author as that book is now in tatters. But the title is NINETY DAYS TO A BETTER HEART. I was then a young undergraduate and wished to remain young for ever, and was fascinated by the subtitle of a section of the book which read…you are as old as your arteries.
It was from the book, young as I then was, that I learned that there were two types of age…biological age and calendar age. Biological Age means you can be 40years old while your heart and other organs are 70. And you may be 70years calendrically but looking 40 inside you.
Since 1977, my health library has been blessed with more books on heart health. One of them that I would soon mention is HEALTHY HEART by Patricia Bragg and Paul Bragg, daughter and father. Paul Bragg opened the first health food store in the United States more than 100years ago, at a time conventional medicine in that country did not wish to see the link between diet and disease or diet and other lifestyles and heart health or heart disease. In the United States today, say the Braggs, more than 30million people have been diagnosed with heart disease. It isn’t any wonder, therefore that last Friday was WORLD CARDIOVASCULAR DAY.
Cardiovascular is a marriage of two words…Cardio (heart) and Vascular (blood vessels).
If you wonder why the heart and blood vessels gained the world’s attention last Friday, as they do every September 29, it is because about 17.1million people worldwide die every year of diseases which damage the heart and blood vessels. Seventeen million deaths every year from heart and blood vessels diseases are more than deaths from cancer, HIV/AIDS and malaria put together, going by world health records, and have been rattling the thoughts and work of sick care and health care givers alike.
Cardiovascular diseases are too many to mention here. According to Wikipedia:
“Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a class of diseases that involve the heart or blood vessels. Cardiovascular disease includes coronary artery diseases (CAD) such as angina and myocardial infarction (commonly known as a heart attack). Other CVDs include stroke, heart failure, hypertensive heart disease, rheumatic heart disease, cardiomyopathy, heart arrhythmia, congenital heart disease, valvular heart disease, carditis, aortic aneurysms, peripheral artery disease, thromboembolic disease, and venous thrombosis.”
FROM the outset, it is important to note that this column cannot explore all the problems faced by a heart and its distribution chain of blood vessels. That is the job of a cardiologist. Nevertheless, we can share experience on some common ailments which the heart doctor discusses with his or her patients.
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
The heart is a muscular organ which pumps blood round the body without going on a holiday from conception to the death of the body.
According to www.wonderopolis.org: “If you use an average of 80 beats per minute, your heart beats about 4,800 times per hour. That’s a whopping 115,200 times per day. Over the course of a year, your heart would beat about 42,048,000 times! If you live to be 80 years old, your heart would have beaten approximately 3,363,840,000 times! That’s over 3 billion heartbeats! What a muscle!”
Like all tissues, the heart requires oxygen-rich blood to survive and work well. When it doesn’t get enough blood and oxygen, its muscles begin to die gradually or instalmentally. Therefore, one can imagine a careless person at, say, age 40 living with a heart that is only 60 percent alive, or a man of 50 who cared for his heart which, at that age, is about 90 percent intact. The blood and oxygen needs of the heart are supplied through coronary circulation.
The heart is divided into four chambers for this and other purposes. There are two upper chambers and two lower chambers. The four are divided into two halves, the right and the left. The upper and lower chambers on each side communicate or are open to each other through non-return valves. The two half sides do not communicate. The biggest blood vessel in the body, the aorta, emerges from the upper left sides of the heart to distribute oxygenated blood round the body. As the Aorta rises from the heart, two branches emerge from it to distribute oxygenated blood within the heart itself. This branches of the aorta are called coronary arteries. One of them distributes oxygenated blood in the left side of the heart while the other distribute in the right side through their own branches. Any blockage of this micro-circulation will leave the cells without enough blood and oxygen and may cause myocardial infarction (death of the muscle cells denied blood and oxygen by the blockage). This is also known as heart attack.
Blockage of coronary circulation may be caused by atherosclerosis or homocysteine buildup. Atherosclerosis arises from a buildup of atheroma, a fatty plaque deposit in these arteries which may come from cholesterol or other sludges. Cholesterol is not bad on its own. It becomes dangerous only when it exceeds a certain bound in relation to the composition of other blood components, or when a part of it which is easily oxidised, the Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) outstrips its ratio with the good cholesterol, High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) in the total cholesterol matrix. If the blood receives enough amounts of the right antioxidants in the diet, it may be possible for these antioxidants to prevent damage to the arterial wall caused by oxidised LDL and other fats. Homocysteine is a greasy substance produced when the body uses an amino acid (protein) called Methionine. If the grease is not dissolved, it may block coronary circulation. Mercifully, it is easily dissolved by a diet which supplies the blood with Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid. This is the beauty of such greens as Spirulina, Kale, Wheatgrass, Barley grass, Chlorella, Alfalfa et.c. There are other equally problematic risk factors in coronary heart disease. These may include diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, lack of exercise and smoking. Elevated blood sugar may not only thicken the blood and slow blood circulation, oxygen delivery and waste evacuation, it may damage tissue through a process known as glycation in which blood glucose molecules damage proteins and fats in and around the cells. Lack of exercise may cause fat accumulation as may obesity. Hypertension or elevated blood pressure may cause rupturing of fragile blood vessels and lead to internal bleeding which may become chronic or prolonged if there are not enough platelet cells to seal the leaks. Ulceration caused in the burst blood vessels may lead to infections of all sorts and a weakening of the heart.
Coronary artery disease gives some warning signs before it balloons into a crisis. One of such signs is Angina Pectoris. Angina may present a confusing symptom like heartburn. In that case, the ordinary treatment for a heartburn may not suffice to rid the sufferer of the problem. A more common symptom of Angina is chest pain, dull or sharp, on exertion, such as when climbing the stairs, or during emotional upsets or exercise. A well-known symptom is a chest pain which may travel or radiate into the shoulder, shoulder blade, the back and the left arm, neck and, sometimes, even the jaw. Shortness of breadth should not be overlooked as this may not relate with low red blood count, a possible cause, but damaging events in the heart as well.
There are more signals the ailing heart may send before its troubles develop into heart attack or heart failure. One of these is Arrhythmias or irregular heart beat. It may prevent as flutterings in the chest, racing heartbeat or tachycardia or Bradycardia (slow heart beat). Chest pain and shortness of breadth may be co-passengers in the train. So may be light-headedness or dizziness, sweating, near-fainting or fainting. This condition may arise from an ongoing heart attack or a previous one, or from changes in the heart structure and scar formation in heart tissue.
We cannot exhaust the treasure trove of Mother Nature for the health of our hearts. I have a special passion for Hawthorn berries and Ubiquinol. Hawthorn improves the muscularity of the heart, its pumping power and, together with Vitamin B1 (thiamine) and Garlic, reverses enlargement of the heart. Hawthorn also dilate blood vessels to make blood flow more easily in them and, thereby, lower elevated blood pressure. Many people in Nigeria with heart problems have discovered this. Ubiquinol is the more bioactive form of Co-Enzyme Q10 (CoQ10), that fat molecule that was the MOLECULE OF THE YEAR in one international news magazine a few years ago, when it was discovered to be an invaluable energy source for not only the heart cells but all cells of the body, including, as it is now being shown, cancer cells that become healed. The heart works without resting. It needs all the energy it can get. Ubiquinol promotes formation of mitochondria in the cell. The mitochondrium is the cellular engine room where energy is made. The more Ubiquinol consumed, the more mitochondria formed and the more energy produced. Dr. Karl Folkers, who has researched CoQ10 and Ubiquinol since 1952, found that whenever Ubiquinol levels in the heart drops by about 25 percent, troubles begin in that organ. Ubiquinol levels decrease with age and the version of it available in most diets, UBIQUINONE, is not readily bio-available. People who take cholesterol-lowering pharmaceutical drugs are at risk of losing Ubiquinol in their system as these drugs, known as STATIN drugs, block the pathway of Ubiquinol supply, which is the same pathway of cholesterol synthesis. Earlier, I mentioned Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid. Omega-3 fish oil, too, is in the league. It reverses the inflammation which atherosclerosis causes in the Coronary arteries. Inflammation causes enlargement which may cause tearing if the inflammation surpasses tensile strength of muscle fibers, and tearing may cause scarring. Omega-3 Fatty Acids may be sourced from oily fish such as Titus, Salmon and Sardine. Cod Liver oil and Shark Liver oil are anti-inflammatory as well. There is a lot to say about Potassium and Magnesium. They have been found not only wonderful in the treatment of primary hypertension and diabetes, they are also good for heart problems. Magnesium in particular is relaxing. All too often, the hypertensive person may have too much calcium in the system in relation to Magnesium. Calcium combines with Magnesium in a ratio of about 2:1. Where there is free calcium, this may settle in the soft tissues of the shoulder, for example, causing frozen shoulder, in the joints, causing arthritis, and in the soft muscles of blood vessels, causing arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. This condition does not permit blood to flow freely, increases tension, may cause hypertension and, thereby, weaken or damage the heart. By increasing the Magnesium content of the diet, more Magnesium frees the calcium lodged in the soft muscles and this may reverse a dangerous condition. Antioxidants are crucial. We should begin with antioxidant Vitamins…Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E. I take the solubilized form of Vitamin A every day. This is the water-soluble version of the naturally-occurring fat soluble Vitamin A, which is difficult for some people to absorb in good quantum. It is well recommended not only in heart conditions but also for people challenged with cancer and glaucoma, for example, where high amounts of Vitamin A are needed. Water soluble Vitamin A should be excretable where an excess of fat-soluble Vitamin A may not be good for the liver. Who will ever forget Vitamin E? The Shutte brothers of Canada opened the eyes of health-care givers to it decades ago when they used it successfully in their clinic to heal many difficult heart conditions. The Vitamin E should comprise tocopherols and tocotrienols and should be the natural variant d-alpha and not the artificial and cheaper type dl-alpha sourced from petroleum residue.
We learn about these and more in JEAN CARPER’S The Miracle Heart, a New York Times best-selling book subtitled The Ultimate Guide To Preventing and Curing Heart Disease with Diet and Supplements.
I always wonder if wheatgrass cannot be a magic wand. Afterall, it saved Dr. Ann Wigmore from amputation of one leg that was troubled by gangrene. She refused amputation, watched sick cats eat a grass in her garden and get well, began to eat this grass, wheatgrass, and blood began to circulate again in her dying or dead leg tissues.
Antioxidant minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese and Selenium, to mention a few, play a crucial role as well in helping the heart ward off free radicals, especially in the coronary arteries. We cannot forget Lecithin. It is one of Mother Nature’s greatest emulsifiers. It dissolves fats and, thus, helps to prevent or reverse atheroma blockages and atherosclerosis. Cayenne pepper is another herb which guarantees thorough fare for blood circulation in the blood vessels. It is also an energizer of the heart and an antioxidant. In the cell salt or tissue salt category, Calcium fluoride would fight inflammation and Ferrum phosphate would dislodge congestions. Magnesium phosphate (Mag phos) will improve metabolism, Kali phos (potassium phosphate) supports regular heart beat, Silica improves the strength of connective tissue. Pomegranate, an antioxidant fruit with high ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbent Capacity) value, is mentioned in many coronary circulation literature as a wonderful recipe for angina pectoris and other heart troubles.
In https://healthunlockedcom/diabetesindia/posts/131055810/pomegranate-bypass-your-bypass-surgery, Dr. Syed Zair Hussain says he has used it successfully even in patients awaiting by-pass surgery. He said the sixth successor of (Iman) to Prophet Mohammed (May the Peace of Allah be upon him) prescribed two things, lukewarm water and pomegranate for human health.
“Pomegranate is a seasonal fruit in Pakistan, so I tried an experiment with dried pomegranate seeds. I prepared a decoction boiling the fistful of dried seeds in half a litre of water for 10 minutes, squeezed the seeds, strained the decoction and advised those patients suffering from painful angina to use a glass of lukewarm decoction on an empty stomach in the morning.
“An amazing result was observed, the decoction of dried pomegranate seeds worked like magic. The feeling of tightness and heaviness in the chest and the pain had gone.
“It encouraged me to try more experiments on all types of cardiac patients. So, I tried other experiments on patients who were suffering from painful angina, coronary arterial blockage, cardiac Ischemia (insufficient blood-flow to the heart muscle) etc., waiting for a bypass surgery.
“The same lukewarm decoction was used on an empty stomach in the morning. The patients experienced quick relief in all symptoms including painful condition.
“In another case of coronary arterial blockage, the patient started using half glass of fresh pomegranate juice everyday for one year.
“Although all symptoms were completely relieved within a week, he continued taking it for a whole year. It completely reversed the plaque build-up and unblocked his arteries to normal.
“The angiography report confirmed the evidence. Thus, this decoction of dried pomegranate seeds, fresh pomegranate juice or eating a whole pomegranate on empty stomach in the morning proved to be a miracle cure for cardiac patients.
“But the lukewarm ‘dried-seeds decoction’ proved to be more effective, compared to eating a whole pomegranate or fresh pomegranate juice.
“Use of pomegranate, in any way, has demonstrated even more dramatic effects as a blood thinner and as a pain killer for cardiac patients. It also lowers LDL (low-density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol) and raises the HDL (high-density lipo protein or good cholesterol).
“There are more than 50 different types of heart diseases; the most common being Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), which is the number one killer of both women and men in some countries, and there has been no medicinal cure for this disease.
“Many cardiac patients have reversed their heart diseases on my advice, using one glass of lukewarm decoction of pomegranate dried seeds, half glass of fresh pomegranate juice or eating a whole pomegranate on an empty stomach in the morning.
“It was the very first real breakthrough in the history of cardiology to successfully treat the cardiac diseases by the use of a fruit.
“More super foods to obtain even faster results for cardiac patients, (which are most promising for curative and protective agents) are fresh raisins, quince, guava, prunes (dried plums), natural vinegar, mixture of grape-fruit juice and honey in the morning (on an empty stomach), basil leaves, chicory leaves, powder of oregano leaves and rock salt in equal quantity (in case the patient is not hypertensive) and sesame oil as cooking oil for cardiac patients.
“I regret to say that treating the heart patients and bypass surgery has become a far more profitable business around the world, which has failed to help avert life-threatening heart attacks and life-time cardiac complications, resulting in an almost paralyzed life.”