Ayurvedic treatment for Heart failure

Heart failure

Know More on Cardiology

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

Definition

Heart failure Ayurvedic treatment

WHAT IS HEART FAILURE?

Heart failure is caused when the heart is unable to pump blood as the heart is become too weak or stiff. Heart does not stop working in heart – it just needs some support to help it work better. It is more common in older people. It is a chronic condition that tends to get gradually worse over time. It can't usually be cured, but the symptoms can often be controlled for many years.1

Ayurveda says improper diet and stressful life styles lead to thickening of arteries (dhamani praticaya) or hardening of arteries (dhamani kathinaya) resulting in obstruction in channels due to vitiated vata dosa. These manifestations may later give rise to number of different cardiac problems. According to Ayurveda, heart failure can be considered as a tridoshaja vyadhi. An imbalance of tridoshas in the heart muscle results in the impairment of the cardiac function whereas high disturbance in the balanced state of tridoshas in the heart muscle give rise to severe heart failure.2

Causes

Heart failure

HEART FAILURE CAUSES

The causes of heart failure include:

  • Coronary heart disease – the arteries get clogged up with fatty substances causing angina or a heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Arrhythmias
  • Damage to the heart valves
  • Congenital heart disease

Symptoms

Heart failure

HEART FAILURE SYMPTOMS

The most common symptoms of heart failure are:

  • Breathlessness– occurring at during activity or rest
  • Tiredness
  • Build-up of fluid causing swelling in ankles and legs
  • Persistent cough, which may be worse at night
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Bloated tummy
  • Wheezing
  • Appetite loss
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Confusion
  • A fast heart rate or irregular heartbeat 

Diagnosis

Heart failure

HEART FAILURE DIAGNOSIS

Tests you may have to diagnose heart failure include:

  • Blood tests
  • Echocardiogram
  • Chest X-ray
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Breathing tests such as Spirometry & Peak Flow Test

Management

Heart failure

HEART FAILURE AYURVEDIC TREATMENT

As heart is a special organ which takes care of blood circulation, Ayurveda gives special focus to protect the heart from various factors that may later be responsible for developing various heart diseases. It talks about avoiding stress causing factors and promote eating diet that is protects heart and promotes heart health. There are few effective herbs which are proven as heart protective. Ayurveda suggests combination of dietary and lifestyle changes and herbs that may be beneficial for the management of heart failure. Charaka has mentioned ten drugs under Hridya Mahakashaya or the group of herbs that are specific for cardiac health.

A carefully designed and customized shodhana (bio purification) is also recommended for heart disease.

Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

  • Being physically active, avoid smoking, keeping a healthy weight, and maintaining your blood cholesterol and blood pressure at proper levels.
  • Avoid animal fat, meat, pork, beef, cream butter, ghee to keep cholesterol levels in check
  • Foods rich in carbohydrate should be avoided.
  • Reduce intake of calories
  • Avoid smoking & alcohol
  • Avoid excess use of salt

Lifestyle changes (Vihar)

  • Light exercises like morning walk or yoga are good for heart health
  • Meditation and yogic practices like shavasana help restore the tranquility, peace and manage stress
  • Avoid stress

FAQS

Heart failure
  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 failure
  1. Heart failure. NHS 2016. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Heart-failure/Pages/Introduction.aspx
  2. Hegde G and Bhat P. CONCEPT OF DOSHAS AND DUSHYAS IN DIFFERENT CARDIAC DISORDERS. International Ayurvedic Medical Journal 2013; 1:6 (91 – 97)
  3. Charak samhita trimarmiya chikista. Chaukhambha bharati academy. Varanasi 221001. Reprint 2011.
  4. Charak samhita sutrasthana chapter29-30. Chaukhambha bharati academy. Varanasi 221001. Reprint 2011.
  5. Lokhande at al. Natural remedies for heart diseases. IJTK 5(3)2006.
  6. Symptoms of heart failure. NHS 2016. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Heart-failure/Pages/Symptoms.aspx
  7. Diagnosing heart failure. NHS 2016. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Heart-failure/Pages/Diagnosis.aspx
  8. Ayurveda For Heart diseases. http://ayurveda-foryou.com/treat/heartcare.html

Disclaimer: The information on this page is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or ayurvedic treatment of cardiology and/or heart failure without consulting the doctor. Consult your physician before beginning an exercise regime. "While we have products /ayurvedic medicines for cardiology and/or heart failure, you must consult an authorized physician before taking any of the products. For more information on products, visit www.dabur.com or call 1800-103-1644"