Healing Path, Inc.

Finding Balance
Chapter 2.11 - Coronary Artery Disease

In this chapter, Dr. Donache presents Complementary/Alternative Medical (C.A.M.) Therapies for the prevention and treatment of coronary artery disease and heart attacks.

The chapter includes an overview of the disease's symptoms, conventional treatment methods, and alternative therapies, including Bio-Energetic therapies, Bodywork and Movement therapies, and Mental / Emotional treatments.

This chapter is taken from Dr. Donache's upcoming book, Finding Balance - Integrating Complementary/Alternative Medical (C.A.M.) Therapies for the Prevention of the Top 30 Diseases in America. Each section of chapter 2, which describes alternative treatments for each of the top diseases, is available for download on this website.

Table of Contents
Chapter Excerpt
Glossary of Terms Used in this Chapter
Additional Disease Descriptions and Treatments Available for Download

Table of Contents

    1. Heart Function Self-Test
      • Medications
      • Balloon Angioplasty
      • Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
      • Lifestyle
      • Monitoring Blood Cholesterol
      • Issues and Answers
      • Eating Right
      • Exercising
      • *How To Find Your Neutral Position
      • Nutrition and Supplements
        • Nutrition
        • Supplements
        • Enzymatic Therapies
      • Rainforest and Western Herbs
        • Rainforest Herbs
        • Western Herbs
      • Homeopathic Remedies
      • Essential Oils
      • Therapeutic Bodywork and Massage
      • Traditional Chinese Medicine
      • Hatha Yoga Postures
      • Meditation
      • Visualization
      • Affirmation

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Chapter Excerpt

Coronary artery disease is a condition in which the coronary arteries become clogged with a fatty substance called plaque. It is the leading health problem in the Western world, and the number one cause of death in the United States. It claims more than 1 million lives annually. An estimated 50 million Americans are afflicted with heart and blood vessel disease, although many do not know it because they have no symptoms.

Atherosclerosis is another term doctors use. Experts are not yet certain why coronary artery disease develops, but risk factors include: a family history of the disease; elevated blood cholesterol levels; smoking cigarettes (linked to 30%-40% of heart attack deaths); high blood pressure; a sedentary lifestyle; being overweight; and diabetes. Chest pain, or pain in the shoulder or even the jaw, for example, can signal angina pectoris or a heart attack (myocardial infarction, or MI). The pain is often described as a heavy, squeezing ache. The heart is made of muscle called myocardium. It pumps blood with oxygen and nutrients throughout the entire body. The coronary arteries encircle the heart and provide it with its blood supply. The coronary arteries deliver oxygen and nutrients to the heart. Oxygen is primarily carried within the red blood cells. Without your being aware of it, the arteries can slowly fill with deposits of fatty cholesterol which form first as streaks and then as plaque. The buildup of plaque can constrict the flow of blood, preventing enough oxygen from reaching the heart. This is called ischemia. Ischemia can cause chest tightness of pain, a symptom called angina pectoris. A blood clot, called a thrombus, can form on the surface of the plaque. A heart attack occurs if the thrombus suddenly interrupts the flow of blood to the heart.

If the coronary arteries that carry oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle become obstructed, the flow of blood is cut off completely, and a heart attack or myocardial infarction, can occur, resulting in damage to the heart muscle. Arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, and the presence of a thrombus, or clot, in a blood vessel are the most common causes of abstraction. Arteriosclerosis is responsible for most of the deaths resulting from heart attacks. Spasms of the coronary arteries can also result in a heart attack. A heart attack may feel as if someone is applying intense pressure to the chest. This pain may last for several minutes, often extending to the shoulder, arm, neck, or jaw. Other signs of heart attack include sweating, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, feelings of anxiety, difficulty swallowing, sudden ringing in the ears, and loss of speech. The amount and type of chest pain vary from one person to another. Some people have intense pain, while others feel only mild discomfort. Many mistake the signs of a heart attack for indigestion. Some have no symptoms at all, a situation referred to as a "silent" heart attack.

Depending on your doctor's suspicions about the extent of your coronary artery disease, certain procedures or tests may be performed to evaluate the health of your heart and arteries. Some tests may be postponed if a lifestyle change--with or without the use of medications--could improve your condition. You may hear about or undergo one or several of the following procedures: An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) records electrical changes in the heart; a stress test monitors the electrocardiogram during exercise. Sometimes substances such as thallium may be given to "light up" the healthy heart muscle during the test. An echocardiogram uses sound waves to show the thickness of heart muscle and how it changes when it beats. An angiogram or coronary arteriography allows the doctor to see the coronary arteries and locate blockages, or narrowing, if present. Medication, procedures to open arteries, surgery or a combination of these approaches may also be indicated. Balloon angioplasty involves inserting a tiny balloon through a catheter. For people who are not candidates for angioplasty, coronary artery bypass surgery may be required. It is believed by some experts that coronary artery disease can be slowed down or perhaps even reversed. Lifestyle changes can help: eat foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol--lose extra weight; stop smoking; keep blood pressure normal; exercise; control diabetes; avoid stress and practice relaxation techniques such as meditation and massage.

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Glossary of Terms

A spot in a blood vessel where the wall becomes thin and bulges outward as blood presses against it. If it ruptures, circulation is disrupted. Depending on the location of the aneurysm, the consequences of this can be grave. If detected in time, aneurysms can be repaired surgically in many cases.
Angina Pectoris
Refers to pain or heavy pressure in the chest that is caused by an insufficient supply of oxygen to the heart tissue. This chest pain may be severe or mild and is usually associated with physical exertion and relieved by rest. It can be a warning sign of impending heart attack.
A diagnostic picture produced by injecting into the heart and/or blood vessels a type of dye that is visible on x-ray. It may be done to diagnose valvular disease, blood vessel blockage, and other conditions.
Disruptions in the natural rhythm of the heartbeat that are caused by improper functioning of electrical system cells in the heart. There are different kinds of arrhythmias. Palpitations is a term that refers to the feeling of a pounding heartbeat, whether regular or irregular. Tachycardia is an abnormal increase in the resting heart rate; Bradycardia is the opposite, an abnormally slow heart rate. Ectopic beats are premature beats (often felt as "skipped" beats). Fluttter and fibrillation are situations in which the normal steady beating of the heart is converted by electrical error into a rapid twitching of the heart muscle. This ineffective functioning results in an insufficient supply of blood being carried to the body's tissues.
Balloon Angioplasty
A procedure in which plaque in the coronary arteries is compressed by a balloon that is inserted through a thin tube called a catheter and then inflated.
Cardiac Arrest
Occurs when the heart stops beating. When this happens, the blood supply to the brain is cut off and the person loses consciousness. A Person in apparent good health who experiences cardiac arrest usually has unsuspected coronary artery disease.
The medical term for enlargement of the heart. If the heart is unable to function effectively, as in heart failure, or if there is too much resistance to the normal pumping of blood through the blood vessels, as in high blood pressure, the body attempts to increases the strength of the heart by increasing its size. Cardiomegaly is characteristic of a number of different heart disorders. It is also known as cardiac hypertrophy.
Any of a group of diseases of the heart muscle that result in impaired heart function and, ultimately, heart failure. Cardiomyopathies are classified according to characteristic physical changes in the heart, such as enlargement of the heart, dilation of one or more of the heart's chambers, or rigidity of the heart muscle. These disorders may be related to inherited defects or may be caused by any of a number of different diseases. Often, the cause in unknown.
An inflammation of the heart muscle. This can result from infection or from an inflammatory response, as in rheumatic fever, and it can lead to permanent heart damage if not treated.
A procedure sometimes used to diagnose the condition of the heart and/or circulatory system and, in some cases, to treat cardiovascular disease. A hollow, flexible tube called a catheter is inserted by means of a very fine flexible wire into a blood vessel somewhere in the body (usually the arm, neck, or leg), and from there is threaded through the blood vessel to the heart or other location being investigated. Catheterization can be used to detect (and in some cases to treat) arterial blockage, to discover malformations of the heart, and to study electrical conduction in the hear, among other things.
A fatty material found only in foods of animal origin; buildup in coronary arteries leads to coronary artery disease; cholesterol increases when saturated fat is eaten.
Congestive Heart Failure
A condition of chronic heart failure that results in fluid accumulation in the lungs, labored breathing after even mild exertion, and edema (swelling) in the ankles and feet.
Coronary Arteries
The blood vessels that encircle the heart and bring it necessary nutrients and oxygen. Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery An operation in which a blood vessel from the chest or the leg is reattached above and below the area of blockage in a coronary artery.
Coronary Artery Disease
A condition in which the interior of the arteries of the heart become narrowed, usually by being clogged with plaque.
ECG or EKG (Electrocardiogram)
A recording of the electrical impulses of the heart.
A procedure in which ultrasound technology is used to form an image of the heart. It is used to detect structural and functional abnormalities, enlargement or inflammation of the heart, and other conditions.
An inflammation of the endocardium, the membrane surrounding the heart muscle, usually as a result of bacterial infection. Endocarditis is not uncommon in persons with compromised immune systems, such as those with HIV and AIDS. It also can occur as a complication of surgery to replace defective heart valves. This disorder can result in permanent heart damage.
HDL or High Density Lipoprotein
Called the "good cholesterol"; carries cholesterol away from the arteries and to the liver, where it is broken down.
Heart Attack
The medical term for a heart attack is myocardial infarction (MI). This refers to the formation of infarcts (areas of local tissue death or decay) in the myocardium (heart muscle). Infarction occurs when the blood supply to an area of the heart is cut off, usually as result of a blood clot that blocks a narrowed coronary artery. Depending on the size and location of the areas affected, a heart attack may be described as mild or severe, but it always involves some irreparable damage to the heart.
Heart Failure
This disorder occurs when a damaged heart becomes unable to pump effectively, depriving the body's tissues of adequate oxygen and nutrients to function properly. Heart failure can be either acute (short-term) or chronic, and has a variety of different causes.
Ischemic Heart Disease
Is caused by obstruction of the blood flow to the heart, usually as a result of atherosclerosis. Ischemia (lack of sufficient oxygen) can lead to angina, cardiac arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, or a heart attack.
LDL or Low Density Lipoprotein
Called the "bad cholesterol"; carries cholesterol through the bloodstream and deposits it in the blood vessel walls where it builds up.
Areas of fatty and/or fibrous material in the arteries; characteristic of coronary artery disease.
Stress Tests
A recording of the heart's electrical impulses during treadmill exercise; determines heart function and ability of coronary arteries to carry blood to the heart.
A blood clot that forms inside a blood vessel.

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