Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women. Unfortunately, few people ever realize they have a problem until the symptoms appear. By then it's too late, and permanent damage has already occurred.
While standard medical practices include drugs, surgery or chemotherapy, there are several natural and less invasive methods that can help most anyone stay healthy and avoid the symptoms of heart disease. Even for those who've suffered their first heart attack, these methods can help prevent the onset of a second - and final - heart attack.
LDL and HDL Cholesterol
Doctors focus on cholesterol levels exclusively, though C-reactive protein and homocysteine levels are better markers for a future heart attack. Natural ways to lower LDL and raise HDL include taking supplements with niacin and vitamin B3. The best way is to start with 500 mg twice daily and work up to 1500 to 2000 mg daily. However, high doses of niacin can impact blood sugar control, so it's best to be under a doctor's care.
Homocysteine Levels and Heart Disease
High homocysteine and high C-reactive protein levels increase heart attack risks. While they're not checked as much as cholesterol levels, they should be. Sixty percent of all heart attacks occur in people with normal cholesterol levels. Niacin helps to normalize homocysteine, as does trimethylglycine. For optimum results, a dose of 1,000 mg a day of TMG is recommended with regular exercise.
A Low-Fat Diet
The diets of most Americans are loaded with fats and high carbohydrates. Such a diet promotes obesity and leads to heart disease, diabetes and cancer. A low-fat diet helps prevent heart disease and can reverse the effects. A healthy diet should include plenty of fruits and vegetables. Lean protein from beef, chicken and fish help as long as they come free of antibiotics that are found in meats on store shelves today.
Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
Today's food lacks the nutrient value that was common in foods fifty years ago. Many Americans are deficient in many essential nutrients that make them vulnerable to disease. Mineral and vitamin deficiencies compromise the immune system and lead to inflammation, a leading factor to many diseases. Supplementing is necessary to bring up the nutrient balance to the body.
The Heart and Free Radical Damage
Poor diet, the lack of exercise, a stressed lifestyle and a polluted environment all increase the growth of free radicals. Free radicals affect the arteries and speed up the aging process. Vitamin E is essential as it prevents the damage caused by free radicals. A good dose should be between 400 to 800 IU.
Stress Effects on the Heart
Everyone copes with stress. Stress can be beneficial. Unfortunately for many, stress is chronic. It leads to high blood pressure and many common mental disorders. The mineral, magnesium is lacking in many diets today. It helps to counter the effects of sodium that is all too readily consumed. It holds many functions, but one of the most important is in its ability to relax the muscles of artery walls to improve blood flow. That helps reduce stress on the heart. A good dosage of magnesium should be between 500 to 1,000 mg every day.
These natural methods can help avoid the deadly effects of heart disease. Naturally, before resorting to any of these methods, a health checkup and consultation with a naturopath can help prevent the symptoms that so many suffer today.