Heart disease is the term used to describe heart conditions that include diseased vessels, structural problems and blood clots. Hypertension, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, and stroke are among the most common heart diseases in India. Heart disease is often referred to as a ‘silent killer’ as most people do not experience any symptoms during the early stages of heart disease. Today, heart disease is the leading cause of death in our country and studies show that it is becoming increasingly common among young adults and middle-aged people. Conventional treatments for heart disease are expensive and cause serious side effects, which is why cardiologists advise people to take adequate steps to prevent heart disease. Ayurvedic therapies are a safe and economical way to prevent heart disease, even in high-risk individuals.
Ayurveda: A Holistic and Effective Way to Prevent Heart Disease
Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine, but it has a lot to offer for most modern health problems, including heart disease. This holistic discipline focuses on regaining the balance of all bodily systems through natural therapies, diet, herbal remedies, and yoga. Ayurvedic heart disease prevention programs focus on controlling and eliminating the causative factors of heart disease such as hypertension, high cholesterol levels, and high glucose levels.
Ayurvedic treatments such as Hrid Basti are used to improve heart health. This therapy involves the topical application of a warm oil decoction to increase local blood supply through vasodilatation, while also reducing spasms of the intercostal muscles. Ayurveda for preventing heart disease generally involves formulations containing Terminalia Arjuna, which improves circulation by strengthening the force of contractions of the heart muscles.
Therapeutic massages with Ayurvedic oils also promote healthy blood circulation. These oils contain natural compounds that also help to lower high LDL cholesterol levels and can even reverse atherosclerosis and cure heart disease. The yoga asanas and pranayama techniques improve oxygen uptake while reducing high blood pressure. There are several yoga asanas such as Tadasana (Mountain pose) and Veerabhadrasana (Warrior pose) that are especially beneficial to people with existing heart ailments or those who wish to prevent heart disease.
Lifestyle Changes that Reduce Heart Disease Risk
Stress is the most pervasive risk factor for heart disease today, as it affects all of us. Prolonged exposure to stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol cause an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and blood glucose levels. Relaxation exercises or meditation and physical activity itself can help lower stress levels by raising endorphin levels. Yoga is perhaps the best activity to take up, because of its multi-faceted approach to health with both meditative and physical activities.
In addition to getting physically active and cutting back on stress, it is imperative to quit smoking as it raises the risk of heart disease by two to four times. Breaking an addiction is never easy, which is why it is a good idea to seek help or counselling to support your efforts. Meditation and stress reduction will both help make the task easier.
The maintenance of healthy body weight is also important as being overweight raises the risk of heart disease because of its adverse effects on blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels. Low to moderate intensity exercises or aerobic activities like walking, jogging, and cycling can improve cardiovascular health and lower heart disease risk, while also helping with weight loss. Of course, eating healthy is the most important factor in sustainable weight loss and this requires avoidance of junk foods and refined foods that are loaded with saturated fats and trans fats, while increasing intake of dietary fibre.
Ayurvedic therapies work synergistically to eliminate imbalances within the body and prevent heart disease.