CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE: OVERVIEW

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a heart condition which occurs when the coronary arteries (atherosclerosis) get damaged or diseased. The coronary arteries are the body’s major blood vessels which serve as fuel lines for the supply of blood to the heart.

Coronary artery disease is also known by some other names, including Coronary heart disease, Ischaemic heart disease, or Atherosclerotic heart disease.

The key reason behind the occurrence of Coronary artery disease is the accumulation of plaque -- which comprises fat, cholesterol, inflammatory cells, collagen, and other substances -- in the walls of the coronary arteries. This plaque build-up, hardens and calcifies over a period of time, and causes narrowing or blockage of the arteries. As a result, the supply of blood to the heart is affected, and the heart does not get the oxygen and nutrients it requires.

The symptoms of Coronary artery disease generally include chest pain due to reduced blood flow to the heart, shortness of breath, problems affecting the heart rhythm, neck or jaw pain, extreme fatigue with exertion, heart attack, or heart failure.

Coronary artery disease generally affects people as they get older in age. However, the potential risk of the disease is commonly linked to health conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, as well as obesity, high-fat diet, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, and family history of early (premature) heart disease.

CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE: AYURVEDIC PERSPECTIVE

According to Ayurveda, Coronary heart disease is a ‘Hrudyaroga’ (heart disease) which results from the hardening of arteries (Dhamani kathinaya) or thickening of arteries (Dhamani praticaya) because of improper diet and poor and unhealthy lifestyle habits. The hardening or thickening of arteries in patients suffering from Coronary artery disease leads to angio-obstruction (Vata dosha) and angina (Ruja).

Ayurvedic experts believe that the obstruction or blockage in coronary arteries is a result of ‘Medo Vruddi’ in the blood which accumulates in the coronary artery vessels, and affects the supply of blood to the heart muscles.

Ayurvedic treatment of Coronary heart disease focuses on the use of some beneficial herbs and herbal formulations -- along with some dietary and lifestyle changes -- for removing blockages in blood supply, improving metabolism, enhancing the body’s natural detoxification abilities, and strengthening the heart.

HOW CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE CAN BE MANAGED AT HOME

Coronary artery disease generally develops over decades, and hence an individual does not become aware of the condition until he/she has a significant blockage or suffers a heart attack. However, it is possible to prevent and manage Coronary artery disease at home by making changes to the diet and leading a healthy lifestyle.

Some of the ways in which Coronary artery disease can be managed at home have been listed below:

Eat A Heart-Healthy Diet Comprising Anti-Inflammatory Foods

To manage Coronary heart disease effectively at home, it is essential to follow a diet pattern which involves the consumption of foods that can check inflammation, unhealthy high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

The foods which can reduce inflammation and fight Coronary heart disease naturally include:

  • Fiber-rich foods which contain antioxidants
  • All types of vegetables, including dark leafy greens, carrots, beets, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, peas, onions, salad greens, mushrooms, etc.
  • Fruits of all kinds, especially citrus fruits and berries
  • Beans and legumes
  • Unpasteurized dairy products
  • Nuts, seeds, avocados, wild-caught fish, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and other foods that contain healthy fat
  • Spices and herbs, particularly turmeric, cinnamon, basil, ginger, garlic, etc.

Avoid inflammatory foods

People suffering from Coronary artery disease should avoid the consumption of inflammatory foods because inflammation is one of the main causes behind the occurrence of heart disease in a majority of individuals. 

The common inflammatory foods, which need to be avoided for the management of Coronary artery disease, are:

  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Conventional meat
  • Pasteurised, conventional dairy products
  • Corn and soybean oils
  • Sugars of all kinds
  • Deep-fried foods
  • Processed foods

Increase the intake of foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids

To manage Coronary heart disease at home, patients suffering from the condition should increase the consumption of foods which contain Omega-3 fatty acids. These foods commonly include fatty fish -- such as salmon, albacore tuna, and mackerel -- as well as fish oil supplements, walnuts, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, and canola oil, etc.

Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for the management of heart diseases because they have the ability to reduce blood pressure, check the progression of atherosclerosis, reduce the risk of heart arrhythmias, and lower the triglyceride levels.

Use peppers to benefit from the goodness of ‘Capsaicin’

Capsaicin -- the chemical which makes the peppers spicy -- is believed to have the capability to protect the heart, and manage Coronary artery disease in a natural manner. To benefit from the goodness of Capsaicin, people suffering from the disease can supplement their diet with spicy foods and hot sauce, if they do not have any digestive problems.

Capsaicin can be useful in managing heart problems because it can slow down the development of atherosclerosis, reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, support weight loss, reduce blood pressure, reduce the risk of thickening of heart muscles, and control blood sugar levels.

Make healthy lifestyle changes

Coronary artery disease can be managed at home with the help of some healthy lifestyle changes which need to be made by people suffering from the condition. Healthy lifestyle changes can be very effective in promoting the overall health of the arteries.

The following lifestyle changes can benefit people suffering from heart diseases by improving their cardiovascular health:

  • Exercise regularly 
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Stop smoking
  • Lose excess weight
  • Reduce stress
  • Control blood cholesterol and sugar levels

Use Essential Oils

The use of essential oils can also be very beneficial in managing Coronary heart disease at home. These oils are natural plant-derived oils which are known for the capability to reduce inflammation and manage the symptoms linked to heart diseases.

Some of the recommended essential oils for people suffering from Coronary artery disease include lemongrass oil, ginger oil, and helichrysum oil.

CONCLUSION

The above-mentioned natural treatments are extremely useful and effective for managing Coronary heart disease at home. In a nutshell, it is important to remember that a heart-healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle can ensure the overall health of the arteries and the heart. However, it is advisable to consult an Ayurveda expert to seek additional suggestions for improving heart health in a natural man.