Ayurvedic treatment for Rheumatic heart disease

Rheumatic heart disease

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

Definition

Rheumatic heart disease Ayurvedic treatment

WHAT IS RHEUMATIC HEART DISEASE?

Rheumatic heart disease is a serious complication of rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever itself is a rare complication of sore throat caused by bacteria group A Streptococcus. In rheumatic fever body attacks its own tissue. Around 30% patients with rheumatic fever develop rheumatic heart disease. The inflammation in rheumatic heart disease causes valves of heart get stiffened and disrupt the normal functioning of heart.1

Rheumatic heart disease can be viewed as a Kapha dosha predominated disease (kaphapradhanatridoshajavyadhi) where all the three dosha are involved in developing the disease. The symptoms of Amavata such as: weakness (dourbalayata), stiffness in body/muscles (gatrastabdata), low apetite (aruchi), laziness (allasya), fever (jwara), swelling in joints (shoonangata).2

Causes

Rheumatic heart disease

RHEUMATIC HEART DISEASE CAUSES

Rheumatic fever is caused due to untreated infection. It may affect many connective tissues, especially in the heart, joints, brain or skin. It usually occurs in children between the ages of 5 and 15 years. Approximately 60% of people with rheumatic fever develop comorbid heart disease.

Symptoms

Rheumatic heart disease

RHEUMATIC HEART DISEASE SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of rheumatic heart disease include:

  • Breathlessness
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Tiredness
  • Chest pain 
  • Sydenham’s chorea
  • Nose bleeds

Diagnosis

Rheumatic heart disease

RHEUMATIC HEART DISEASE DIAGNOSIS

The following tests are conducted to diagnose rheumatic heart disease:

  • Physical examination to check for signs of rheumatic fever, presence of inflammation and joint pain
  • Echocardiogram
  • Chest X-ray

Management

Rheumatic heart disease

RHEUMATIC HEART DISEASE AYURVEDIC TREATMENT

As heart is a special organ which takes care of blood circulation, Ayurveda gives special focus to save 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.

Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

  • Use of ginger helps in rheumatism
  • Warm and soft foods should be consumed
  • Foods containing acrid components like bitter gourd are recommended.
  • Avoid fried foods and sour items

Lifestyle changes (Vihar)

  • Patient should be adviced complete bed rest

FAQS

Rheumatic heart disease
  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

Rheumatic heart disease

1. Rheumatic fever – Complications. NHS 2015. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Rheumatic-fever/Pages/Complications.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. Rheumatic fever. NHS 2015. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Rheumatic-fever/Pages/Introduction.aspx
4. What is rheumatic heart disease? Heart and stroke foundation 2011. http://www.heartandstroke.com/site/c.ikIQLcMWJtE/b.3484081/k.5BE1/Heart_disease__What_is_rheumatic_heart_disease.htm
5. Rheumatic Heart Disease Diagnosis. https://www.ucsfbenioffchildrens.org/conditions/rheumatic_heart_disease/diagnosis.html
6. Ayurvedic Cure for Rheumatic Fever.http://home-cure.net/ayurveda-rheumatic-fever/

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