Celiac disease is a malabsorption syndrome and chronic digestive disorder. The intestine is not able to absorb vital dietary nutrients from foods containing gliadin, an alcohol-soluble portion of gluten. This condition which is often hereditary means the sufferer has a serious intolerance to wheat (including durum, semolina and spelt), rye, oats, barley, and related grain hybrids such as tritaclae and kamut.
Arthritis refers to inflammation of the joint. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis which is characterised by joint degeneration and loss of cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis which is also an autoimmune disorder. In this case the body's immune system attacks its own cartilage and tissue surrounding the joints.
Some detoxification experts advocate fasting, while others do not. It is known that the components of any well-designed detox program will stimulate the body to cleanse itself, but people who are underweight, are undernourished, have weak hearts, have blood sugar issues or are ill should avoid fasting. Some studies have shown that restricting food intake can actually lead to bingeing.
Hemorrhoids are extremely common in industrialised countries and it is estimated that fifty percent of persons over fifty years of age have symptoms of hemorrhoidal disease. Although most people may begin to develop hemorrhoids in the twenties, the symptoms do not become evident normally until in ones thirties!
HEART and CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH
- What is cardiovascular disease?
- What is atherosclerosis?
- Causes of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease
- Risk factors of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease
- How can I treat atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease naturally?
- Atherosclerosis and cardiovascular health- natural treatment and remedies
- Diet for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular health
- Supplements and Vitamins for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular health
- Herbs for atherosoclerosis and cardiovascular health
- Homeopathy for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular health
- Lifestyle for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular health
Atherosclerosis is a slow, complex disease in which fatty substances, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium, and other substances build up in the inner lining of an artery. This buildup is called plaque. The process of hardening of the arteries, can be stopped and even reversed through dietary and lifestyle measures.
Reducing the risk of heart disease and strokes involves eliminating as many risk factors as possible. The effects of atherosclerosis differ depending upon which arteries in the body narrow and become clogged with plaque. For example, plaque buildup in the vessels that supply the heart with oxygen-rich blood may cause chest pain and lead to a heart attack while plaque buildup in the arteries that supply blood to the brain may result in a stroke.
Atherosclerosis shows no symptoms until a significant percentage (40%) of a vessel becomes obstructed with plaque and a complication occurs. Symptoms vary depending upon which arteries in the body narrow and become clogged with plaque. Because atherosclerosis is highly preventable and the risk factors are well-documented, preventive measures such as lowering blood pressure and LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels, smoking cessation, losing weight, and increasing physical activity should be followed.
There is no doubt that, in most cases, atherosclerosis is a disease is a disease directly related to diet and lifestyle.It is believed that atherosclerosis is caused by damage to the innermost layer of the artery known as the endothelium. High blood pressure, elevated LDL ("bad") cholesterol, an abnormal accumulation of homocysteine (an amino acid produced by the human body), tobacco smoke, diabetes, hormonal changes following menopause, and infection are all thought to contribute to endothelial damage. Once the endothelium is damaged, it becomes easier for fats, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium, and other substances to become deposited in the artery wall. This buildup thickens the endothelium significantly. As a result, the diameter of the artery shrinks, blood flow decreases, and oxygen supply is dramatically reduced. Blood clots may also form on top of the plaque or damaged endothelium, thereby blocking the artery, and completely cutting off blood supply.
- Male gender
- Lowered levels of the hormone estrogen following menopause
- Older age
- High blood pressure
- High LDL ("bad") cholesterol and/or high triglycerides
- Elevated homocysteine levels
- Low HDL ("good") cholesterol
- Family history of atherosclerosis (which may be related to learned behaviour rather than genetic factors)
- Cigarette smoking and regular exposure to second-hand smoke
- Diabetes mellitus
- Insulin resistance
- Obesity, particularly in the abdominal region
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Diets high in saturated fat and trans fatty acids
Note: The presence of a diagonal earlobe crease has been recognised as a sign of cardiovascular disease since 1973. It appears via studies at the earlobe crease is a better predictor of heart disease than any other known risk factor, including age, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, lyperlipidemia and others.
Atherosclerosis can lead to the following conditions:
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
CAD is caused by plaque buildup in the vessels that supply the heart with oxygen-rich blood. When the tissues of the heart begin to become deprived of oxygen (ischemia), chest pain (angina) occurs. If the artery becomes completely blocked, cells in the heart begin to die and a heart attack may occur. Symptoms of CAD are usually triggered by physical exercise, sexual activity, exposure to cold weather, anger, or stress. Some of the common symptoms of CAD include chest pain, abdominal, neck, back, jaw, or shoulder/arm pain, nausea and vomiting, unexplainable fatigue and/or extreme fatigue after physical activity, weakness and anxiety
Cerebrovascular Disease (T.I. A or stroke)
Cerebrovascular disease is caused by plaque buildup in the arteries that supply the brain with oxygen-rich blood. Cerebrovascular disease causes transient ischemic attack (a sudden loss of brain function with complete recovery within 24 hours) and stroke. Some of the common symptoms may include; weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, garbled speech and/or inability to comprehend speech, loss of vision in one eye, paralysis of facial muscles, muscle weakness, impaired senses, poor coordination and involuntary, jerky movements on one side of the body
Peripheral Artery Disease
Peripheral artery disease is caused by plaque buildup in the arteries that supply the extremities of the body (such as the hands and feet) with oxygen-rich blood. Some of the common symptoms may include: Pain, aching, cramps, numbness or sense of fatigue in the muscles of the lower extremities, diminished pulses in the extremities, decreased muscle mass, hair loss, thickened nails, smooth, shiny skin surface skin that is cold to the touch and gangrene.
Making careful lifestyle choices is an important first step in preventing atherosclerosis. Some healthy habits include:
- Achieving and maintaining normal weight
- Controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and other disorders that may contribute to the buildup of plaque in arteries
- Avoiding cigarette smoking and second-hand smoke
- Eating a diet low in saturated and hydrogenated fats and cholesterol, and high in starches, fiber, fruits, and vegetables
- Exercising 3 hours per week or more (such as 30 minutes per day, 6 days per week)
- Reducing stress
For many patients to treat and prevent cardiovascular disease a major change of diet and lifestyle is required. However, there are so many factors that are involved in atherosclerosis, so an individual treatment plan must be prepared to assure optimal results. A complete cardiovascular assessment provides valuable information to differentiate which natural treatments are most important and appropriate. Herbs, supplements, lifestyle changes and dietary changes will be very helpful for most contributing factors such as high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. If a complication occurs or is identified however, surgery and other procedures may be required to remove plaque from clogged arteries or to create a detour around a blocked artery.
Healthy eating habits can help reduce high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, and excess body weight -- three of the major risk factors for heart disease. Diets designed to lower these three are essential in the treatment of atherosclerosis and therefore important to integrate into your eating habits long term. The dietary guidelines below are aimed at promoting an overall healthy eating pattern, helping to maintain an appropriate body weight, and also assist in reaching desirable cholesterol and blood pressure levels
Don't worry, you can still eat delicious and appealing food. In fact a healthy cardiovascular diet relies on natural, whole foods that will not only protect your heart and arteries but leave you with more energy, feeling younger and fitter and basically a happier person.
(This is a suitable diet for those that have high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels as well)
- A variety of fruits and vegetables (5 to 9 servings/day of different colours). Vegetable juices are great for you and blueberries are one of the best foods you can eat.
- A variety of grain products, with an emphasis on whole grains (6 or more servings/day). Lecithin is a good food for you, as is oat bran. Also linseed: try the LSA recipe for breakfast or the linseed breakfast cereal.
- At least 2 servings of fish per week, but 3- 4 is better. Eat cold water oily dark fish preferbaly
- Limit total fat intake to <30% and saturated fat to <10% of energy. Replace dietary saturated fats and trans fatty acids with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (including good helpings of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids). Food sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish (such as salmon), flaxseed and flaxseed oil, soybean oil, canola oil, and nuts.
- Limit dairy products to low-fat items (2 to 4 servings/day)
- Limit sodium (salt) intake to 6 grams per day (remember a lot of processed foods are very high in sodium)
- Limit alcohol intake to 2 drinks/day for men and 1 drink/day for women. Remember red wine is generally better for the arteries than any other alcohols
- Maintain a healthy body weight by matching calorie intake to energy needs; this includes a moderate level of regular physical activity (30 to 60 minutes within target heart range most days per week)
- Eat garlic and onions liberally as they are such good antioxidants.Other good antioxidant foods that will help stop damage to the arteries wheat grass, chlorella and seaweed. Also asparagus, the cabbage family, papaya, soy beans and brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds (but only if eaten uncooked and unsalted).
- Drink at least 8 glasses of pure water a day
- Decrease coffee and tea unless its green tea or herb tea, which you can generally drink in liberal doses. Don't drink much liquorice tea however if you have high blood pressure.
- Grapefruit can be a great addition to your diet as it can assist the break up of calcification on the arteries, however please check that it contraindicated not contrindicated with any medication as it can change somemedications metabolism in the liver.
- If you have high blood pressure eat more pottasium rich foods including bananas.
You may wish to consider supplementation with one or some of the following supplements; or you may wish to ask your natural practitioner care practioner to assist you in choosing the right products for you.
Folic Acid, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Betaine
Many studies indicate that patients with elevated levels of the amino acid homocysteine are roughly 1.7 times more likely to develop coronary artery disease and 2.5 times more likely to suffer from a stroke than those with normal levels. Homocysteine levels are strongly influenced by dietary factors, particularly vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and betaine. These substances help break down homocysteine in the body. Individuals at high risk for developing atherosclerosis, should be screened for blood levels of homocysteine. If elevated levels are detected, health care healthcare practitioner may recommend supplementation.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
There is strong evidence that omega-3 fatty acids (namely EPA and DHA) found in fish oil can help prevent and treat atherosclerosis by inhibiting the development of plaques and blood clots. In one study of 223 patients with coronary artery disease, those who received fish oil supplements daily for 2 years demonstrated a significant improvement in symptoms compared to those who did not receive the supplements. A second study of heart attack survivors found that daily supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids dramatically reduced the rate of death, subsequent heart attacks, and stroke.
Studies suggest that patients who take L-carnitine supplementation soon after suffering a heart attack may be less likely to suffer a subsequent heart attack, die of heart disease, and experience chest pain and abnormal heart rhythms. In addition, people with coronary artery disease who use L-carnitine along with standard medication may be able to sustain physical activity for longer periods of time.
Evidence suggests that antioxidants may play a role in the prevention of atherosclerosis. Antioxidants are believed to prevent fatty buildup in the arteries by suppressing the oxidation of LDL ("bad") cholesterol. They may also reduce the likelihood of blood clot formation and may help relax blood vessels thereby improving blood flow.
Population-based studies suggest that vitamin E supplements may help prevent the development and progression of heart disease.
A few studies suggest that consuming high levels of vitamin C may protect against heart disease, but not all studies confirm this relationship. It is recommended that people who have low levels of this nutrient should take vitamin C (either through diet or supplements) to prevent atherosclerosis and its complications.
Low blood levels of this antioxidant may worsen atherosclerosis. Cigarette smoking and alcohol ingestion are believed to contribute to selenium deficiency. Co enzyme
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10
Researchers believe that CoQ10 inhibits blood clot formation and boosts levels of antioxidants. One study found that people who received daily CoQ10 supplements within 3 days of a heart attack were significantly less likely to experience subsequent heart attacks and chest pain and were also less likely to die of the condition than those who did not receive the supplements.
Studies suggest that the flavonoids quercetin, resveritrol, and catechins (all found in high concentration in red wine) may help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. By acting as antioxidants, there nutrients appear to protect against the damage caused by LDL cholesterol.
Low levels of vitamin D may increase the risk of calcium build-up in the arteries, a atherosclerosis component of atherosclerotic plaque. Atherosclerotic plaque build up in blood vessels can lead to a heart attack or stroke. More research is needed to understand the practical implications of this possible relationship between low vitamin D levels and atherosclerosis.
Herbs effectively been centuries efftively for maintenance in the maintanence of a healthy heart and arteries. A herbalist or naturopath will assist able to assisit you in your choice. Some of the herbs best known for heart and cardiovascular health are:
- Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna): Used traditionally as a remedy for cardiovascular diseases. This herb has antioxidant properties that help protect against the formation of plaques and may help control high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
- Garlic (Allium sativum): Fresh garlic, garlic herbal tinctures and garlic supplements may lower cholesterol levels, prevent blood clots, and destroy plaque.
- Green Tea (Camellia sinensis): The antioxidant properties of green tea may help prevent atherosclerosis, particularly coronary artery disease.
- Gugulipid (Commiphora mukul): Used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat high cholesterol levels. Certain ingredients in this herbal remedy may have antioxidant properties and may therefore convey health benefits similar to hawthorn, garlic, and green tea.
- Pseudo ginseng root/notoginseng root (Panax notoginseng): Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat chest pain and coronary artery disease. Studies suggest this herb may help prevent blood clots and protect against the formation of plaques.
Other widely used herbs by herbalists depending on your specific condition include bilberry, bugleweed, butchers broom, coleus, dan shen, lime blossom, horse chestnut, horsechestnut, mistletoe, motherwort and yarrow amongst others.
Proffesional homeopaths would recommend appropriate treatments to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis based on their knowledge and experience. Homeopathic prescriptions for atherosclerosis would include remedies to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol. Before prescribing a remedy, homeopaths take into account a person's constitutional type. In homeopathic terms, a person's constitution is his or her physical, emotional, and intellectual makeup. An experienced homeopath would assess all of these factors when determining the most appropriate remedy for each individual
Massage and body therapies: The effectiveness of massage atherosclerosis on atheroslerosis is possibly based on the fact that massage has a relaxing effect and it has been shown to reduce stress-related hormone levels. Lowering stress positively levels postively influences cholesterol and blood pressure and may therefore reduce the risk of heart disease. In addition, relaxation techniques may help individuals comply with habits necessary to reduce risk of atherosclerosis, such as dieting, quitting smoking, and exercising. Also, at least one study has found that massage can lower blood pressure.
Decrease stress: Once again, stress has been found to be a risk factor in developing cardiovascular disease. Use relaxation technique (yoga, breathing exercisevisualisations and visualistaions are recommended) to lower stress levels. Worry is bad for your heart.
Exercise: Exercise significantly lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and also lowers stress levels. Exercise for at least 5-6 times a week for 30 minutes.
Stop Smoking: All smokers know the risk associated with smoking by now. Best to stop if you want to give your arteries a good chance of staying healthy