Cardiovascular disease or CVD refers to many conditions relating to the heart and blood vessels and is a major problem concerning men’s health. CVD is often simply referred to as heart disease. There are various conditions associated with cardiovascular disease, with stroke and heart attack being the most common.
These two conditions are usually related to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a condition that is caused when fatty deposits or plaque form in the arteries walls causing them to narrow. These narrow blood vessels become an entrapment point for blood clots. Blockages, caused by blood clots, can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death in men in America, with 1 in 4 of every male death’s relating to the heart. In Australia, one person dies every 12 minutes from cardiovascular disease, with men being over half of that percentage.
Types of Cardiovascular Disease
Specific types of cardiovascular diseases include:
- Coronary artery disease: Narrowing of the coronary arteries leading to poor blood flow into the heart
- Stroke: Sporadic blood flow to the brain, damaging certain parts of the brain due to a limited supply of oxygen and blood
- Cardiomyopathy: Thickening of the heart muscles leading to heart failure
- Rheumatic heart disease: Damage to the valves in the heart due to recurring cases of a condition called rheumatic fever
- Congenital heart disease: Structural defects in the heart at birth
- Arrhythmia: Abnormal rhythm or beating of the heart
- Cardiac arrest: Sudden loss of heart function
- Peripheral artery disease: Narrowing of the arteries causing poor blood flow to your limbs
- Congestive heart failure: When your heart can not pump sufficient amounts of blood needed for your body to thrive
- High blood pressure: This condition puts stress on the heart by making it work harder
Many risk factors are linked to cardiovascular disease, and many of them can be attributed to living an unhealthy lifestyle. Lack of physical activity, poor diet, and smoking tobacco are some of the top risk factors related to cardiovascular disease. All of these can lead to weight gain, depression, stress, and elevated levels of blood pressure and cholesterol.
These conditions are detrimental to your health and are known to cause and exacerbate heart problems. Increasing age and being a male can also increase your risk of developing a heart condition.
Signs and Symptoms
Some of the symptoms of cardiovascular disease can be quite noticeable, although in the early stages you may not have any physical signs. The most common symptom that most people have is angina, most commonly known as chest pains.
This means you may not be getting enough oxygen or blood to your heart caused possibly by clotting or blockages in the valves.
Some other signs include:
- Pain and numbness that can usually be felt in the neck, arms, stomach and upper back
- Weakness and fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness and fainting spells
- Profound sweating
- A clenching feeling inside your chest, back, or heart
If you have any or more than one of these signs, it is important that you call an ambulance or your healthcare center for further instructions immediately.
What Can You Do?
Medical intervention will be needed in most cases although supplementary treatment or preventing the advancement of cardiovascular disease with a holistic approach is possible. Some herbs and supplements are available in most health food stores or aisles that may be of use to help your condition. Adopting a healthier lifestyle can prevent heart disease by up to 51% and sometimes even reverse the condition.
Taking The Natural Approach
Some of the more holistic treatments include using the following herbs and supplements:
- Turmeric, garlic, and ginger: These herbs may reduce your risk of heart disease. Turmeric also fights inflammation
- Coenzyme Q10: This is an antioxidant that is produced naturally in the body although if deficient, supplements can be taken
- Selenium: Selenium is vital for the body as it reduces inflammation, increases immunity and helps with metabolism
- Omega 3 fatty acids: Fish oil has essential nutrients to reduce inflammation
- Magnesium: Magnesium may help to reduce your blood pressure
- Pomegranate: This healing fruit has powerful antioxidants that can assist in lowering blood pressure and help to reverse atherosclerosis
- Green tea: Green tea is known worldwide for its health benefits with nurturing antioxidants that may help protect the heart. Up to 6 cups a day is recommended
- Essential oils: Lemongrass, frankincense, and helichrysum, to name a few can help with inflammation and other symptoms of heart disease
Adequate quality sleep is essential for heart health, 8 hours a night is considered the minimum amount required for a healthy adult.
Before starting any holistic treatments, it is important to speak to your healthcare professional as some herbs and supplements may have serious side effects if not taken correctly.