According to the mayo clinic, heart disease is the No. 1 worldwide killer of men and women in the United States. It is responsible for more deaths than all forms of cancer combined. In fact, in 2006, 631,636 people died of heart disease, making heart disease responsible for 1 in 4 deaths overall in the United States. It has been estimated that heart disease will cost the United States $304.6 billion in 2009. (This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity).
For these reasons, the CDC has labeled cardiovascular disease as “America’s Heart Disease Burden”. Due to the fact that many forms of heart disease can be prevented or treated with healthy lifestyle choices, the above statistics exemplify that the common approach and theories related to cardiovascular health could be lacking.
Many now believe that the current theory of the high fat, cholesterol diet is outdated. Cholesterol may actually be your bodies defense mechanism against an underlying, unseen, chronic etiology. (There is more information on cholesterol available in previous blogs, including the many important roles of cholesterol and the sugar connection to heart health).
In fact, it may be that the other risk factors associated with heart disease- inactivity, obesity, smoking, and diabetes, are more likely contributing to the real cause of heart disease. The common link with all of the above is chronic inflammation.
Another important area in heart health that was recently highlighted in conventional medicine is stress reduction. As I’ve stated in previous postings, high stress raises cortisol, contributing to inflammation.
A report in the American Journal of Hypertension looked at the effects of practicing transcendental mediation on blood pressure readings. The authors concluded the following:
Changes in psychological distress and coping correlated with changes in SBP (P values < 0.05) and DBP (P values < 0.08). CONCLUSIONS: This is the first RCT to demonstrate that a selected mind-body intervention, the TM program, decreased BP in association with decreased psychological distress, and increased coping in young adults at risk for hypertension. This mind-body program may reduce the risk for future development of hypertension in young adults
As a Naturopathic Physician and Integrative Practitioner, my goal is to get to the cause of issue. Once the reason for the inflammation is addressed, natural approaches such as nutritional supplements, herbal medicine, essential oils, and dietary, and lifestyle factors, can be implemented.
CDC. Heart Disease Facts. http://www.cdc.gov/heartDisease/facts.htm. Updated December 2009. Accessed January 2010.
Mayo Clinic Staff. Heart Disease. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heart-disease/DS01120. Updated January 2010. Accessed January 2010.