By Ingri Cassel

Coronary heart disease and related circulatory diseases account for over half of all deaths nationwide with over 1.2 million Americans experiencing heart attacks annually.  The Standard American Diet (SAD) is clearly the reason for this ongoing epidemic and is compounded by the proliferation of deadly toxins in our environment.  Since most of us have a family member who suffers from some form of hypertension and/or heart disease, it is important to know exactly what we can do to nourish our heart and circulatory system.

Heart disease can be in an advanced stage before symptoms even arise.  Cardiovascular problems occur when the heart's blood vessels narrow and limit the amount of blood supply to the heart.  This oxygen limitation deprives the blood supply to the heart and can cause chest pains known as angina pectoris.

Hardening of the arteries, or arteriosclerosis, is an abnormal thickening and loss of elasticity of the arterial walls.  When the coronary arteries that supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle close up, the flow of blood is cut off completely, and a heart attack, or myocardial infarction, occurs, causing damage to the heart muscle.

Pressure in the chest, which can extend to the shoulders, arm, neck or jaw, can be a symptom of a heart attack.  Other symptoms are shortness of breath, dizziness, anxiety, fainting, nausea, or loss of speech.  Hypertension can lead to heart disorders.

A poor diet is the main cause of cardiovascular disease.  Eating too much meat, processed oils, fried foods, coffee, tobacco, alcohol and not enough raw, fiber-rich foods are contributing factors.

A lack of exercise contributes to the problem by depriving the heart of oxygen and enzymes causing fatty deposits in the arteries.  A poor diet causes putrefaction in the digestive tract providing a perfect breeding ground for pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and parasites.  Many cardiovascular problems arise from parasites invading the heart muscle itself.

Anxiety, nervousness and stress can also lead to heart problems, especially when a healthy lifestyle is neglected.  Living in the fast lane without proper rest and relaxation can put stress on the cardiovascular system.

Primary causes of congestive heart failure are hypertension, thyroid problems, coronary, valvular or congenital heart disease, diabetes and emphysema.

Understanding our emotional needs is vital in resolving heart and circulatory problems.  We have known for some time that certain personalities are more prone to heart disease.  If you are a perfectionist, intolerant and impatient, you will have more of a tendency to have arteriosclerosis and heart problems than those with easier-going personalities.

Typically prescribed pharma drugs

Drugs used to treat heart failure are digitalis, diuretics, vasodilators, calcium channel blocking drugs, beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors.  Digoxin [TM] is a stimulant used in the treatment of congestive heart failure.  Possible side effects are headaches, drowsiness, lethargy, confusion, changes in vision, loss of appetite, nausea, hallucinations, disorientation, and heart rhythm disturbances. Captopril [TM] is often prescribed for high blood pressure.  Side effects include dizziness, fainting, light-headedness, bone marrow depression, fatigue, weakness, abnormal bleeding and bruising.

Diuretics can also increase the risk of heart attack since they promote the excretion of calcium and magnesium.  These two minerals are absolutely vital in maintaining proper blood pressure and a healthy heart.

*Ingri Cassel is the author of the Idaho Observer's Back to Basics column



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