Heart Disease – the term could spark apprehension in even the most health-conscious and fit person. Not surprising as cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the US. Many different condition fall under the “umbrella” of heart disease, so we’d like to clarify a bit.
What is heart disease?
Heart Disease, also known as cardiovascular disease (CVD), is actually a group of diseases involving the heart or related blood vessels. These conditions include angina, heart attack (myocardial infarction), stroke, arterial fibrillation, congenital heart disease, and many others.
The causes for heart disorders are, of course, all the “usual suspects”, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, limited or no exercise, obesity, high cholesterol, poor diet, and excessive alcohol intake. High blood pressure accounts for approximately 13% of deaths related to heart disease, while smoking, lack of exercise, excessive weight and diabetes account for 5% to 9% of heart-related deaths.
Other factors that determine a person’s risk of heart disease are age, gender, and family history. Nonetheless, it is estimated that 90% of cardiovascular disease is preventable.
Naturally, regular exercise and a good, healthy diet top the list of things you can do to keep your heart healthy. But there are many other lifestyle choices and therapies that can help as well. We’ll address those in a few paragraphs, but first let’s learn how you can discover it you’re at risk.
Determining your risk for heart disease
Most tests for heart disease are non-invasive or require only a small sample of blood. Generally speaking and depending upon what type of condition your doctor believes you might have, a simple physical exam and information about your personal and family history will be all that is required. However, as we age, other tests may become necessary.
Aside from chest x-rays and electrocardiograms (ECG or EKG), other such tests available are…
• Holter Monitoring – A Holter monitor is a portable device that is worn for 24 to 72 hours. It is designed to detect heart rhythm irregularities that are not found during a normal EKG.
• Echocardiogram – This noninvasive exam is basically an ultrasound of your chest which provides detailed images of your heart’s structure and function.
• Cardiac Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan – A CT scan is commonly used to check for heart problems. When you have a cardiac CT scan, an X-ray tube inside a donut-shaped machine will rotate all around your body and collect images of your heart and chest.
• Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – For this type of test, you lie on a table inside a long tube-like machine that produces a magnetic field which, in turn, produces images that helps your doctor evaluate the condition of your heart.
A variety of blood tests can also be used to detect the risk of heart disease. They include the following…
• A cholesterol test, which measures the fats (lipids) in your blood.
• A CRP (C-reactive protein) test, which indicates a sign of inflammation somewhere in the body as a result of injury or infection. A CRP test, along with other blood test results and risk factors can help paint a picture of your overall heart health.
• A fibrinogen test, which measures the protein in your body that helps blood clot. However, too much fibrinogen can increase your risk for heart disease because it can lead to clots forming in your arteries, leading to a heart attack or stroke.
Although cardiovascular diseases are prevalent, there are steps you can take to prevent and reduce your risk. Along with improving your eating habits, getting regular exercise, and stop smoking and drinking, you can also benefit from chiropractic treatment.
The benefits of chiropractic treatment in preventing or reducing heart disease
1. Chiropractic treatment can lower blood pressure – When the 1st vertebra (the Atlas) is properly aligned, many people show a marked improvement in blood pressure.
2. Improves the heart’s nerve function– this is called the autonomic tone, and it impacts almost every part of the body including the heart, gastrointestinal tract, lung kidneys, bladder and sex organs.
3. Decreases chest pain – If the vertebrae in the upper neck, the middle (thoracic) part of the spine, or the ribs are misaligned, it may affect the nerves causing the chest wall to tighten. Dr. Martin Gallagher who is both a D.C. and an M.D. states it this way, “The chest muscles, ribs, heart, lungs, and stomach are controlled directly and indirectly by spinal nerves. Misalignments can interfere with these nerves and cause chest pain similar to cardiovascular angina. We call this spinal angina. Sometimes it may even produce tachycardia and other arrhythmias. Few people know about spinal angina and it is rarely diagnosed by medical doctors.” Chiropractic adjustments are a very effective treatment for this condition.
4. Improves lung function – Evidence indication that chiropractic care can positively impact patients with asthma and emphysema. As reduced lung function is linked to heart failure. improved breathing reducing stress on the cardiovascular system.
Dietary supplements to improve cardiovascular health
Although pharmaceutical companies would like you to believe that statins are the only way to reduce cholesterol levels, this simply is not the case. As we’ve discussed in other articles, there are many foods and supplements that can aid in cholesterol reduction without the use of statins. Today we’d like to introduce you to two more favorites: Standard Process’ Cyruta Plus and Cardio – C
Cyruta Plus – This powerful whole food complex can help cholesterol transport and supports healthy healthy peripheral circulation. Some people liken it to a rotor rooter for the arteries..
Cardio-C – This nutritional supplement was formulated based upon chemical and nutritional findings of Linus Pauling. It’s a fine-powder dietary supplement that you take 1-3 times per day
Linus Pauling, an eminent American chemist, biochemist, and the world’s only two-time unshared Nobel Prize laureate believed that too little vitamin C in the body can elevate cholesterol levels, including the Lp(a) variant which causes narrowing of the blood vessels. Upon learning that Lp(a) binds to strands of lysine protruding from weak and damaged blood vessels, Pauling invented a high-lysine / high-vitamin C unified therapy
Cardio-C is a tasty drink mix, and has no fillers. It’s easy to dissolve and is very easy to take.
We stock these two supplements along with many other professional grade supplements in our clinic.
Lastly we need to consider our hectic lifestyles and the ways they may contribute to heart disease. Rarely do we find time to rest and relax, but such downtime is essential for our nervous systems. Take time to play by indulging in a favorite hobby, such as knitting, crochet, coloring in an adult coloring book. Recently Dr. Mixon began playing the ukulele! If music from the Hawaiian islands isn’t your style, guitar might be.
Meditation has also been shown to lower stress levels. You don’t have to take a class, you don’t have to be a pro. The key is consistency and to take time to still the mind. Don’t let your harried lifestyle push aside much needed relaxation.
If you’d like to schedule a chiropractic appointment with our clinic you can contact us through our website, or call us at at 972.840.2520. We are an integrated medical clinic and offer the services of two chiropractors a nurse practitioner, massage therapy and exercise rehab. We can help you bring your life back into balance!