Ayurvedic treatment for Angina

Angina

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  • Definition
  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Management
  • FAQS
  • References

Definition

Angina Ayurvedic treatment

Angina is a chest pain that occurs when the blood supply to the heart muscles is restricted. Plaques are fatty substance which build-up in the arteries causing it to become hard and narrow, thus restricting the blood supply to the heart and triggering the symptoms of angina. Angina attack is the pain triggered by physical activity or stress and typically only lasts for a few minutes. There are two main types of angina. Instable angina the attacks occur due to obvious trigger (such as exercise) and improve with medication and rest, while in unstable angina, the attacks are unpredictable, occurring with no obvious trigger and continuing despite resting. Angina is more common in older adults, affecting men more than women.1

In Sanskrit, angina is derived from two words – hrit meaning ‘heart’ and shool meaning ‘thorn’. So hritshula means ‘a thorn like pain in the heart’. In angina, Ama accumulates in Hirdayvahi channels and cause blockage. Due to the blockage of heart channels Vata dosha is aggravated. Vata symbolizes air or wind of external environment. It is dry, mobile, cool in nature and it causes pain in heart.2 In Ayurveda, Hritshula is also described to occur as a complication of other diseases.

Causes

Angina

The causes and risk factors of angina are following:3

  • Age
  • Family history
  • High blood pressure
  • Lack of exercise
  • Intake of food with high saturated fat and cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes

 According to Ayurveda, the major causes which trigger hritshula are:4

  • Ativyaam – overexertion of the body
  • Ativyavaya – overindulgence in sex
  • Abhighaat – mental trauma
  • Bhojana – diet
  • Patan – sudden fall or physical shock

The conditions may lead to Dhamnipratichaya (atherosclerosis) and Dhamnikathinya (hardening of arteries) and lead to hritshula

Symptoms

Angina

Symptoms associated with angina include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort – feeling of pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of the chest
  • Pain in your arms, neck, jaw, shoulder or back along with chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue

Diagnosis

Angina

There are several tests to confirm the diagnosis of angina:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
  • Coronary angiography
  • Cardiac computerized tomography scan
  • Nuclear stress test
  • Stress test
  • Echocardiogram
  • Chest X-ray
  • Blood tests

Management

Angina

Ayurveda suggests combination of dietary and lifestyle changes and herbs that may be beneficial for the management of Hritshula. Charaka has mentioned ten drugs under Hridya Mahakashaya or the group of herbs that are specific for cardiac health.

Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

  • Include greens like spinach and vegetables like onion, red or green pepper, ridged and bitter gourds and, whole grains,whole wheat, whole rice, barley, corn, rye, oats, millet, sorghumin diet
  • Avoid fatty and fried foods, milk products such as clarified butter and cheese, full cream milk, oils, junk foods, etc.
  • Including fermented milk products like skimmed milk curds in diet can be a good choice for heart patient.
  • Using vegetable oils for cooking like mustard, sunflower, olive, groundnut and rapeseed oils may be beneficial
  • Avoid red meats such as mutton, beef and pork.
  • Poultry and fish are beneficial. Fishes with high body oil content must be preferred. Avoid canned fish.

Lifestyle changes (Vihar)

  • A healthy lifestyle includes being physically active, quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and keeping your blood cholesterol and blood pressure at healthy levels.
  • Avoid physical and mental exertion and stress
  • Mild exercise such as walking can be practiced.
  • Meditation and yogic practices like shavasana help restore the tranquility, peace and manage stress
  • Pranayam (breathing exercise) should be practiced

FAQS

Angina
  1. What is angina?

Angina is a chest pain that occurs when the blood supply to the heart muscles is restricted. It happens when the arteries supplying the heart become hardened and narrowed due to build-up of fatty substances known as plaques. This restricts the blood supply to the heart and triggers the symptoms of angina. Angina attack is the pain mostly triggered by physical activity or stress and typically only lasts for a few minutes. There are two main types of angina. During stable angina, the attacks occur due to obvious trigger (such as exercise) and improve with medication and rest, while in unstable angina, the attacks are unpredictable, occurring with no obvious trigger and continuing despite resting. Angina is more common in older adults, affecting men more than women.

In Sanskrit, angina is derived from two words – hriday meaning ‘heart’ and shool meaning ‘thorn’. So hritshoola means ‘a thorn in the heart’. In angina, Ama accumulates in Hirdayvahi channels and cause blockage. Due to the blockage of heart channels Vata dosha is aggravated. Vata symbolizes air or wind. It is dry, mobile, and cool in nature and it causes pain in heart.

  1. What can I do to prevent/manage angina?

Ayurveda gives following tips to prevent/manage angina:

  • Avoid fatty foods like fried food, milk products such as butter and cheese, full cream milk, oils, etc.
  • Include fermented milk products like curds in diet
  • Use only vegetable oils for cooking like sunflower, olive, groundnut and rapeseed oils.
  • Avoid red meats such as mutton, beef and pork.
  • Poultry and fish are beneficial. Fishes with high body oil content must be preferred. Avoid canned fish.
  • Mild exercise such as walking, is recommended in patients which good exertion tolerance and stable angina.
  • Avoid competitive exercising.
  • Meditation and shavasana help restore the tranquility, peace and manage stress
  • Pranayam (breathing exercise) should be practiced.
  1. What are the causes of high cholesterol?

Many different factors can contribute to high blood cholesterol. They include:

  • Unhealthy diet
  • Lack of exercise or physical activity
  • Obesity
  • Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and smoking
  • Underlying conditions like kidney disease, liver disease, hypothyroidism
  • Family history of early coronary heart disease, stroke or cholesterol-related condition
  1. What physical activities can help better my cholesterol?

Ayurveda recommends following activities to keep your cholesterol in check:

  • Yoga asanas and surya namaskara should be performed twice daily for ten minutes each.
  • Pranayama, or yogic breathing exercises, helps digestion and cleans the srotas, or channels.
  • Sleeping during the day, causes the metabolism to slow and the srotas or channels to fill with Ama. Wake up before six o'clock, and avoid daytime naps.
  • Eat meals at the same time every day, and plan to eat the largest meal at lunchtime, when digestion is strong.
  • Eat light to avoid indigestion at night
  • Transcendental Meditation technique reduces stress and improves mental clarity, making it easier to follow a healthy diet and make healthy lifestyle.
  1. What is atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis is a serious condition wherein arteries become clogged with fatty substances called plaques, or atheroma. It causes the arteries to harden and narrow, restricting the blood flow and oxygen supply to vital organs, and increasing the risk of blood clots that could potentially block the flow of blood to the heart or brain. Atherosclerosis may lead to life-threatening problems such as heart attacks and strokes.

According to Ayurveda, in atherosclerosis there is an increased Vata in blood vessels causing its degeneration thus making it hard, thin, and rough. Deposits of lipids and calcium represent increase in Kapha (water & earth element) in the degenerated vessels resulting in irregular thickening of blood vessels.

  1. What are the causes of atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis is a slow, progressive disease. The exact cause is unknown but the damage may be caused by:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • High triglycerides, a type of fat (lipid) in your blood
  • Smoking and other sources of tobacco
  • Insulin resistance, obesity or diabetes
  • Inflammation from diseases, such as arthritis, lupus or infections, or inflammation of unknown cause
  1. What is coronary artery disease?

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease. In India, over one fifth deaths occur due to CAD. There are an estimated 45 million CAD patients in India. An increasing number of young Indians are falling prey to it.

CAD occurs when the arteries that supply blood to heart muscle become hardened and narrowed due to buildup of cholesterol and other material, on their inner walls. As these deposits continue to grow, less blood can flow through the arteries causing less blood and oxygen reaching the heart muscles. This can lead to chest pain or heart attack. Over a period of time, CAD weaken heart muscles and contribute to heart failure or arrhythmias (abnormal beating of heart).

Ayurved scholars have mentioned that diet, anger and emotion are causative agents of CAD and patients who are diagnosed or wants to prevent coronary artery disease should keep a check on all these factors.

  1. What puts me at risk of coronary artery disease?

CAD begins with injury to the inner layer of a coronary artery, which may occur sometimes as early as childhood. The damage may be caused by various factors, including:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes or insulin resistance
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  1. What kind of exercises I can do to reduce blood pressure?

Ayurveda recommends the following exercises to manage and help reduce blood pressure:

  • Weight reduction and regular aerobic exercises such as brisk walking, jogging running etc.
  • Sarvanga Abhangya (Massage) with specially formulated oils helps to increase elasticity and flexibility. It correct and enhance the blood flow in healthy manners
  • Upvasa (fasting), Yoga, Meditation and Gayatri or Omkara uchhara have significant role in management of hypertension
  1. How can one identify if one has stroke/brain attack?

The signs and symptoms of a stroke vary from person to person. Main stroke symptoms can be remembered with the word FAST: Face-Arms-Speech-Time.

  • Face – the face may have dropped on one side; the person may not be able to smile or their mouth or eye may have drooped.
  • Arms – the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there.
  • Speech – their speech may be slurred or the person may not be able to talk at all.
  • Time – dial the hospital immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms

References

Angina
  1. NHS 2015. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/angina/Pages/Introduction.aspx
  2. Lokhande at al. Natural remedies for heart diseases. IJTK 5(3)2006.
  3. Angina pectoris. http://www.planetayurveda.com/library/angina-pectoris/
  4. Angina – Causes. NHS 2016. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Angina/Pages/Causes.aspx
  5. Hrichool (Angina pectoris). http://www.ayushveda.com/health/hrichool.htm
  6. Angina – Symptoms. Mayo Clinic 2016. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/angina/basics/symptoms/con-20031194
  7. Angina – Tests and diagnosis. Mayo Clinic 2016. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/angina/basics/tests-diagnosis/con-20031194
  8. ANGINA-PECTORIS: THE PIERCING PAIN IN HEART. http://ayurvedic-healings.com/?p=671
  9. Charak samhita trimarmiya chikista. Chaukhambha bharati academy. Varanasi 221001. Reprint 2011.

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