Heart Health

January 01, 2017

Your heart is a beautiful muscle about the size of your fist nestled between your lungs.  With every breath you take, it is gently massaged by the lungs and is crucial for the entire cardiovascular system. 

This system is affected by your central nervous system.  The stress (fight or flight – sympathetic nervous system) response increases blood pressure, increases LDL cholesterol, and increases blood sugar.  All three of these conditions increase the risk for developing coronary artery disease.  Also, emotions as sadness and anger contribute to the health of your heart.  Add to that the Type A intensity and you have a formula for shortness of breath.  Coronary arteries are the arteries that bring oxygenated blood to the heart muscle.  When there is an obstruction, the muscle tissue does not get the oxygen it needs creating pain and malfunction called angina.  Tissue is damaged without oxygen.

Some factors that cause plaque are inflammation, plaque instability, thrombogenicity (the ease of clotting), LDL cholesterol and high blood sugar.  However, all of these are modified by lifestyle. 

Heart disease is preventable and reversible.  Dr. Dean Ornish, is a Harvard-trained cardiologist with 25 years of researching reversibility of heart disease using yoga and is also a yogi.  His program for reversing heart disease includes these 4 components:  very low-fat vegetarian diet, aerobic exercise:  at least 180 min. per week, daily yoga and meditation one hour a day, and a weekly support group meeting (a buddy)-our bodies respond to support.  All components are necessary to get results.

In conclusion, a lifestyle that includes wholesome nutritious food, regular exercise, healthy social supports and yoga, breathing/relaxation, and meditation is the holisitic solution to both preventing and reversing heart disease.

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