Heart Health
2 Research

What is heart health?

The heart can be considered to be one of the most essential organs of the human body. It beats effortlessly 60-100 times in just one minute for your lifetime, forcing millions of gallons of blood to every organ of the body. This constant flow carries with it oxygen, hormones, gas, and other compounds essential to sustain life. It drains away from the waste products of metabolism as well. It is a miracle it performs so well, for so long, for so many men and women. When the heart stops beating, many essential functions come to a grinding halt. It is crucial to take care of this vital organ.

It may fail because of bad diet, lack of exercise, smoking, disease, unlucky genes, and many other factors. A vital problem is the accumulation of pockets of cholesterol-rich gunk in the arteries, called atherosclerosis. These pockets, or plaque, can restrict the flow of blood through arteries that nourish the heart. If a plaque breaks apart, it can cause a heart attack or stroke (brain damage).

Although many people can develop various forms of cardiovascular disease (diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels) as they age, it is not inevitable. A holistic way of life starting at a young age goes a long way to preventing cardiovascular disease. Lifestyle changes and medications can nip heart-harming tendencies, like hypertension or high cholesterol, in the bud before they cause harm. Advances in medications, surgeries, and medical devices can also treat critical heart diseases.

See: Ayurveda for heart health

How Age Affects Heart Health

How Does Your Heart Changes with Age?

Individuals age 65 and older are far more likely than younger people to have a heart attack, stroke, or develop heart disease and heart failure. Heart disease is also a significant cause of disability, limiting the action, and eroding the quality of life of countless elderly people.

Aging can bring changes in the heart and blood vessels. For instance, as you get older, your heart can not beat as fast through physical action or times of stress as it did when you were younger. However, the amount of heartbeats per minute (heart rate) at rest doesn't change significantly with healthy aging.

Changes that occur with age can increase a person's risk of heart disease. A significant cause of heart disease is the buildup of fatty deposits in the walls of arteries over several years. The encouraging fact is that there are things you can do to reduce, delay, or perhaps prevent or reverse your risk.

The most common aging effect is the increased stiffness of the large arteries, known as arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. This induces hypertension or high blood pressure as we age.

High blood pressure and several other risk factors increase the chance of developing atherosclerosis. Because there are lots of modifiable risk factors for atherosclerosis, it's not necessarily a normal part of aging. Plaque can build up within the arteries walls to harden and narrow your arteries.  This restricts the blood flow to your organs and other parts of your body. Heart disease can develop when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries and reduces blood flow to your heart muscle. The heart muscle can become weak or damaged over time, leading to heart failure. Heart damage can be due to heart attacks, long-standing hypertension and diabetes, and chronic heavy alcohol usage.

See: Heart healthy diet plan to prevent heart disease

Heart Health Checkups

Check Your Blood Pressure

As you age, you need to have your blood pressure checked regularly, even when you're healthy. Changes in your arteries may result in hypertension. You might feel fine, but if not treated, elevated blood pressure could result in stroke and issues with your heart, eyes, mind, and kidneys. To handle high blood pressure, have a healthy diet, exercise, and lower your salt intake. 

Age can cause different changes to the heart. Some examples are:

- Long-standing hypertension is the most important source of increased depth of the heart wall. This change may increase the risk of atrial fibrillation, a common heart rhythm problem in the elderly.

- With increasing age, individuals become more sensitive to salt, which might lead to a rise in blood pressure and/or foot or ankle swelling (edema).

- There are age-related changes in the nervous system, which can result in arrhythmias (a fast, slowed, or irregular heartbeat). Heart valves may become thicker and stiffer. Stiffer valves can restrict the flow of blood from the heart and become leaky, causing fluid in other organs.

Other aspects, such as thyroid disease or chemotherapy, may also weaken the heart muscle. Things you can not control, like your family history, might raise your chance of heart disease. But, resulting in a heart-healthy lifestyle might help you prevent or delay critical illness.

See: Heart healthy diet plan to prevent heart disease

Heart health warning signs

Everyone should be aware of the symptoms of an unhealthy heart and heart attack. The signals of poor heart health and a heart attack may be different for women vs. men.

- Heavy chest pain

- Sharp pain in your upper body

- Feeling dizzy or light-headed

- Feeling sick to your stomach

- Shortness of breath

- Breaking out in a cold perspiration

- Unusual or unexplained tiredness

The most common symptom is chest discomfort, but you might have a heart attack without experiencing chest pain. Women may experience other symptoms such as back pain, jaw pain, shortness of breath, indigestion, and nausea or vomiting.

See: Functional medicine for Heart Disease

Heart health natural remedies

Diet and lifestyle tips to improve your heart health

Apply these general guidelines to your own diet and lifestyle for a healthy heart:

- Healthy diet

Trans fats such as hydrogenated oil increase the amount of bad cholesterol in the body and increase inflammation. Overconsumption of saturated fats can lead to plaque accumulation in the bloodstream. Eliminating trans fats entirely, and reducing saturated fat can help your cardiovascular system.

- Lower salt

Too much salt can make it challenging for your kidneys to remove fluid in your system and can increase your blood pressure. High blood pressure may weaken and damage blood vessels' walls. This also makes your heart work harder to pump blood throughout the body. The dietary guideline from The American Heart Association is no more than 1,500 mg/day of sodium for adults. The majority of the salt that Americans eat comes not from the salt added in your kitchen but from packaged foods or restaurant foods.

- Quit smoking

Smoking and secondhand smoke cause strain on the body and particularly the center. Stopping smoking can be incredibly hard for many at first, but the benefits are well worth it. Positive changes, like a lower heart rate, happen just 20 minutes after smoking. The risk of a heart attack drops over the first 24 hours, and plaque buildup reduces over time.

- Exercise

Physical activity helps to lower your risks for cardiovascular disease by reducing blood pressure, weight loss, and increasing the good cholesterol.

- Lower stress

Tension and anger are physical, in addition to the psychological burden. These factors can increase your probability of getting a stroke. Manage stress by meditating, building a strong support network, and seeing a mental health provider, if necessary.

Individuals most at risk of heart disease include the obese, people with a family history of this disease, and smokers, but nearly everyone can do something to strengthen their own heart. Consult your physician or take an online diet and lifestyle evaluation to comprehend that supplements and lifestyle changes are the ideal ones for you.

See: Herbs to lower high blood pressure

Herbs for heart health

Herbs for heart health

An assortment of herbs has been proven to provide your heart with an extra health boost. Consider some of the options below for heart health, but only after consulting with your doctor and health care team:

- Arjuna: The bark and leaves of Terminalia Arjuna include phytosterols, lactones, flavonoids, phenolic compounds and tannins, and glycosides, in addition to many crucial minerals required for cardiac health. Traditionally arjuna was used to boost the potency of the coronary artery and improve cardiac function and rhythm. Terminalia arjuna was demonstrated to modulate the effects of acetylcholine, epinephrine, and isoproterenol by acting as a pure antagonist at cardiac sites. The cooling energetics of the herb, together with its astringent properties, fight the warmth of stress within the center, a Pitta tissue. Furthermore, Arjuna protects the heart from cardiotoxic molecules. 

Garlic

If you are dedicated to heart health, you can not go wrong with garlic. In a 2016 review, garlic has been shown to significantly lower blood pressure. And yet another review study between 2300 individuals showed it lowered total and LDL cholesterol by up to 10 percent in people who had high cholesterol levels, to begin with.

Curcumin

This material is found in turmeric and gives the spice its vibrant, yellow shade. It provides a bonanza of heart benefits such as preventing harmful blood clots, lowering cholesterol, and reducing inflammation that results in heart attacks and strokes. 

- Ginger

Eating this hot root may lower your risk for high blood pressure, study shows. Individuals who ate more of it had the lowest risk. 

Cinnamon

Cinnamon helps the heart by decreasing levels of total cholesterol, "bad" LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, a harmful kind of blood fat. 

Cardamom

One study discovered that cardamom, an extreme spice frequently found in Indian dishes, may lower blood pressure. Research also reveals that it helps reduce the risk of blood clots.

Berberine

A chemical that comes from several crops, berberine, is used to create a supplement. Research reveals it helps the heart in many ways, such as lowering LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and raising HDL cholesterol. Additionally, it improves blood sugar.

- Tribulus Terrestris comprises phytosterols, saponins, flavonoids, and lignans. Tribulus is considered a power diuretic without powerful downward energy. It's been demonstrated to have ACE inhibiting properties, reducing the quantity of ACE in the serum of rats. Tribulus Terrestris improved nitric oxide in myocardial cells, relaxing the heart muscle in addition to the smooth muscle of blood vessels. Studies have demonstrated an improvement in serum and vascular lipid profiles in both humans and rodent models.

- Inula Racemosa is an herb which returns cardiovascular and respiratory systems to wellness. Inula racemosa was proven to create adrenergic beta-blocking effects that operate directly on the cardiac muscle and blood vessels. This herb contains sesquiterpene  lactones, and lignans that have been analyzed for their own blood vessel relaxing properties.

- Boerhaavia diffusa is a digestive, and hepatoprotective herb. It's used in Ayurveda to improve renal function and to protect the liver and kidney. It contains flavonoids, sterols, potassium nitrate, lignans, xanthones, and other alkaloids. Boerhaavia diffusa was shown to improve renal function and has antimicrobial properties that provide for balanced fluid metabolism.  Boerhaavia diffusa behaves like an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, reducing the force of contraction of the blood vessels. 

- Pillar coral (Dendrogyra cylindricus). The properties of this coral cool down the body, help with detoxification, and, most of all, provide the essential calcium for cardiac muscle usage. The cooling effects and the nutrient profile assist the cardiovascular system by soothing it and providing adequate nutrition to the blood vessels and heart.

Each herb has unique properties and works with others to decrease the cardiac burden. Ayurveda offers a natural choice to tackle hypertension and improve overall cardiovascular health.

See: Yoga for heart disease prevention

Vitamins & supplements for heart health

A nutritious diet is the first step toward a healthy heart. Eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats such as olive oil, beans, whole grains, and lean protein such as fish and chicken can not be beaten for preventing heart attacks and strokes. But research suggests some dietary supplements may help with heart health. Always consult your doctor before taking any dietary supplements. These three nutritional supplements can assist heart health.

Coenzyme Q10

Multiple studies have looked at using coenzyme Q10, chiefly for two conditions: statin-associated myopathy syndrome (SAMS), and congestive heart failure. Individuals who have SAMS might have symptoms like muscle aches, cramps, muscle fatigue, and, rarely, rhabdomyolysis (injury and death of muscle tissue). Clinical trials addressing the use of coenzyme Q10 for SAMS have given conflicting results. However, the greatest and most recent research dealing with this subject does imply it's effective in treating and preventing SAMS. Individuals with heart failure often have a deficiency in coenzyme Q10 in their own blood and heart muscle tissue. Since coenzyme Q10 increases ATP production and cellular energy, it ought to help heart health. 

- Omega-3 fatty acids

According to the writers of this 2019 review, there is persuasive research supporting the use of omega-3 fatty acids.

Researchers found that it led to a 28 percent decreased risk of heart attacks, and a 50 percent lower risk of dying from a heart attack.

- Red rice yeast

High total cholesterol and higher LDL (bad) cholesterol are thought of as the most important in the development of heart disease. There is also an OTC supplement that may lower high cholesterol, red rice yeast. Red rice yeast comprises a chemical called monacolin K. When monacolin K is used daily, it can decrease LDL cholesterol by 15 to 25 percent over 6 to 8 weeks. In addition, it can lower total cholesterol with a similar amount. It's regarded as a safe and effective supplement for people with mild to moderate elevation of the cholesterol levels and no other cardiovascular disease risk factors.

See: Beginning Meditation to Reduce Stress

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See: Ayurvedic Natural Treatment Atrial Fibrillation AFib

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