Heart Disease, Part Two – What Happens, Treatment and Herbs

Knowing what's happening to your body is important. Knowing what could happen might give you cause to prevent it in the first place or prevent a recurrence if it's already experienced it.

Coronary Artery Disease: You've probably heard this explanation before. Plaque can build up in your arteries, which constricts the blood flow. The more plaque the more restriction. Because of this, blood pressure goes up, which can increase damage. The coronary arteries provide the blood to the actual heart muscle, keeping it healthy. When the blood flow lessons, the heart begins to have problems. When an artery is completely blocked, a heart attack occurs.

Plaque is made of cholesterol. Some cholesterol is made by your body, but more can be found in foods you eat. The combination can cause to much in the blood stream, which sticks to the arteries.

CAD is usually diagnosed via an angiogram. If there is blockage, your doctor might install a stent, a small mesh tube designed to keep the artery open. Angioplasty is also likely. After this treatment, you will probably be put on a lot of medications, including blood thinners, medications to lower cholesterol and control blood pressure. You will also find yourself with a brand new diet, restricting fat, sodium and cholesterol. Expect an exercise program, as well.

Heart Attack: This means part of your heart is seriously damaged or killed. Healing can happen under some conditions, but scar tissue will form, and it does not do the job of pumping blood as well as the undamaged parts. If enough of the heart is damaged, death can occur.

Many of the treatments for coronary artery disease will be used to deal with a heart attack. Nitroglycerin may be given to help the heart, decreasing the work load and increasing the blood supply. If the arteries are to blocked, bypass surgery may need to be done. Medications, diet and exercise will be necessary to prevent more problems.

Strokes: This is caused by lack of blood flow to your brain. There are two ways it can happen, one is a clot forming and blocking blood flow. The other is the vessel can rupture and start bleeding into your brain. Within four minutes, brain tissue starved of oxygen dies. The faster blood flow is restored, the less permanent damage. Where in the brain the stroke occurs will also be important. Unless the brain can transfer function to another, undamaged area, permanent damage is likely.

A lot of tests will have to be done to determine what type of stroke, where it is and how much damage has been done. If the type of stroke can be discovered in the first three hours, medications can be given that could make the damage much less. Medications for swelling of the brain may also be needed. Several types of surgery, including some similar to an angiogram, may also be performed.

There are some herbs that can be used both to help prevent and to help heal these problems. They have to be part of a balanced diet and exercise program. There are no magic bullets in preventing heart disease.

Garlic: This herb can help lower blood pressure and acts as a natural blood thinner. It may help with cholesterol, though recent studies are mixed.

Flax Seed Oil: Flax seeds contain omega -3 fatty acids, which can help decrease your risk factors. It is very perishable and should be stored in the fridge.

Fish Oil: While technically not an herb , it does have a place in preventing cardiovascular diseases. Like flax seed oil, it is high in omega-3 acids, and like garlic it is a natural blood thinner.