Ayurvedic treatment for Heart attack

Heart attack

Know More on Cardiology

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

Definition

Heart attack Ayurvedic treatment

WHAT IS HEART ATTACK?

Heart attack happens when a blood clot suddenly blocks the supply of blood to the heart muscles, leading to immense pain, heaviness and congestion in chest area. Because of this blockage, heart muscle does not get enough oxygen to function properly. When the blood supply is not restored early, the muscle begin to die.1

The terms Hridyata, Hridroga, Hridayamaya and Hridaya Sula have been used in Vedas. The earliest detailed description of Hridrogas is available in Caraka Samhita.

Ayurveda explains, in the presence of the etiological factors the doshas get vitiated and take refuge in Hridaya. Then vitiate Rasa, Hridaya being the seat of Rasa, and produce Hridroga. Heart diseases in Ayurveda are of five types, viz. Vataj Hrid Roga (angina like pain dominant), Pittaja Hrid Roga (suppurating or inflammatory condition involving heart or nearby), Kaphaja Hrid Roga (Organic disorders), Tridoshaja Hrid Roga and Krimija Hrid Roga (may be interpreted as Valvular heart disease) 

Heart attack is explained as doshabhighataja hrid roga. Abhighata to Hridya i.e. heart attack is characterized by2

  • Coughing (kasa)
  • Difficulty breathing (shvaas)
  • Extreme weakness (bala kshya)
  • Dry mouth (kantha sosha)
  • Dry palate (talu sosha)
  • Fits (apasmara – due to blockage of blood supply to brain)

Causes

Heart attack

HEART ATTACK CAUSES

The causes of heart attack are as follows:

  • Atherosclerosis – blockade of one or more of coronary arteries due to cholesterol.
  • Spasm of a coronary artery – shuts down blood flow to part of the heart muscle.
  • Spontaneous coronary artery dissection – a tear in the heart artery

Some risk factors of heart attack are as follows:

  • Increasing age - Men age 45 or older and women age 55 or older
  • Someone in family with heart disease
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Stressful lifestyle
  • High blood pressure/cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes
  • Overweight

Symptoms

Heart attack

HEART ATTACK SYMPTOMS

Symptoms can include:

  • Chest pain – Immense heaviness, tightness or squeezing pain in the center of the chest
  • Radiating pain – Feeling of moving pain from chest to arms (usually the left arm), jaw, neck, back and abdomen
  • Difficulty breathing (shortness of breath)
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting
  • Coughing or wheezing

Although the chest pain is often severe, some may experience minor discomfort like indigestion. In women, elderly and diabetic there may be no pain at all.

Diagnosis

Heart attack

HEART ATTACK DIAGNOSIS

If you suspect a pain in the cardiac region and you have a history of diabetes or hypertension, you should be admitted to hospital immediately. Your doctor will physically examine you and also send you for lab examinations that will help him quickly confirm the diagnosis and start the treatment.

The diagnostic tests for heart attack include:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Echocardiogram
  • Blood tests
  • Coronary angiography
  • Exercise stress test
  • Chest X-ray

Management

Heart attack

HEART ATTACK AYURVEDIC TREATMENT

The first goal in management of heart attack is removal of block through use of medicine or surgical method. The second goal is to protect heart through right type of diet and lifestyle maintenance.

Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

  • Eat a well-balanced nutritive food
  • Foods to avoid:
    • Foods which are high in harmful cholesterol such as animal meats, egg yolks
    • Red meats such as pork, mutton, and beef
    • Crabs and prawns
    • Cheese, butter, condensed milk, milk cream, coconut and palm oils etc
    • Trans fatty acids such as hydrogenated oils
    • Salty foods such as fries, poppadums, pickles, etc
    • Sugary foods like cakes, pastries, chocolates, icecreams, etc
    • Tea, coffee, colas
    • Alcohol
    • Canned vegetables and fruit syrups
  • Foods to consume –
    • Carbohydrate foods such as wheat, rice, maize, jowar
    • Green leafy vegetables
    • Whole and sprouted pulses
    • Egg whites and meats such as poultry and fish
    • Vegetable oils
    • Low fat milk and fermented milk products such as buttermilk
    • Fresh fruits (must be taken in excess but without sugar)

Lifestyle changes (Vihar)

  • Lead an active life with work and exercise.
  • Do not overexert yourself if you have a weak body
  • Avoid negative thoughts.
  • Think positively and bear a cheerful attitude towards life.
  • Yoga, pranayam, meditation and stress relieving techniques help in managing cardiac problems.

FAQS

Heart attack
  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

Heart attack
  1. Heart attack. NHS 2014. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/heart-attack/pages/introduction.aspx
  2. Shukla N (2012) Management of Cardiac Emergencies in Ayurveda – A Clinico-literary Approach. 1: 203. doi:10.4172/scientificreports.203
  3. Heart attack – Causes. Mayo Clinic 2014. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-attack/basics/causes/con-20019520
  4. Heart attack – Risks. Mayo Clinic 2014. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-attack/basics/risk-factors/con-20019520
  5. Symptoms of a heart attack. NHS 2014. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Heart-attack/Pages/Symptoms.aspx
  6. Heart attack – Tests and diagnosis. Mayo Clinic 2014. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-attack/basics/tests-diagnosis/con-20019520
  7. Heart attack. http://www.ayushveda.com/health/heart-attack.htm
  8. Ischemic heart disease. https://jiva.com/diseases/ischaemic-heart-disease/

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