Cardiovascular diseases refer to the diseases of the heart and blood vessel. It is also simply referred to as heart disease and includes several heart problems, majority of which are associated with atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis refers to the buildup of plaque substances in the artery walls, making the arteries narrow. The flow of blood in these arteries becomes restricted from the buildup of plaque. Blood clot can form and stop the flow of the blood. This can lead to a stroke or heart attack.
A heart attack happens when there is a clog in the artery that supplies blood to the heart from clotting. The portion of the heart muscle where the blood flow has stopped completely begins to deteriorate and die. Most heart attack patients will survive the first attack and are able to live for more productive years. It does not necessarily mean that you have to make some lifestyle changes. The doctor will give advice on the medications and the adjustments to your lifestyle based on the severity of the damage to the heart and the degree of the heart disease responsible for the heart attack. Medications called clotbusters are usually administered immediately after certain types of heart attacks. Coronary angioplasty and coronary artery bypass graft surgery are done when medications cannot fully treat the heart attack.
An ischemic stroke, usually considered the most common type of stroke, occurs when a blood vessel supplying the brain gets obstructed, often from a clotting of the blood. When the blood flows to a part of the brain is cut off, the brain cells will deteriorate and die. This will result in the patient’s inability to perform normal functions such as talking and walking. Another type of stroke, hemorrhagic stroke results from the bursting of a blood vessel in the brain. Uncontrolled hypertension is the most common cause for this type of stroke.
Stroke may lead to permanent disability especially when there are a lot of brain cells that die resulting from the lack of supply of oxygen and blood to the brain. Some brain cells though, do not die but only fail to function normally for a certain period of time. These injured cells are capable of repairing themselves. As time passes by, they can regain their normal functions after the repair process and allow improvements to the body functions. Another good news is that other brain cells may take charge over the areas in the brain that were damaged. Improvements in the patient’s strength, speech and memory may be gained. In this case, the process of recovery or rehabilitation of the stroke patient is a success. Medications, specifically clotbusters, must be given the stroke patient within three hours of the onset of the stroke symptom. Carotid endarterectomy, a surgical procedure to correct the narrowing of the arteries is another common treatment method for stroke.
Other Cardiovascular Diseases
Heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure is a condition wherein the heart is not pumping blood efficiently. While the heart continues to perform its work of pumping blood, the body’s need for oxygen and blood is not being supplied. Heart failure should be treated with dispatch to prevent the deterioration of the condition and lead to more serious consequences.
Arrhythmia is an abnormal or unusual l rhythm of the heart. Abnormal beating of the heart can mean either beating too fast, too slow, or not the same as regular heartbeats. It is called bradycardia when its rate is slow – less than 60 beats per minute. When the heart rate is more than 100 beats per minute, it is called tachycardia. Arrhythmia has an effect on the efficiency of the heart in being able to pump blood to supply the body’s needs. Prescription medications, the use of pacemaker and cardiac defibrillation are the methods to treat arrhythmia.
There a few heart valve disorders. Stenosis is when the heart valves do not fully open to allow the normal flow of blood. The problem where the valves do not close properly and cause leak in the blood flow is called regurgitation. Doctors usually prescribe medications or heart valve surgery to address these problems with the heart valves.
You can be proactive and prevent cardiovascular diseases from adversely affecting your life. Have a regular heart check-up and follow your health care provider’s advice on lifestyle changes to boost your heart’s health and overall well-being.
The Role of Chiropractic Treatment
Chiropractic care has been proven effective in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases in the following ways:
- It lowers blood pressure. Studies have shown that blood pressure is improved with the chiropractic adjustments in the first vertebra called the Atlas.
- It improves nerve function of the heart. This is the autonomic tone, which impacts practically all parts of your body.
- It improves the variability of heart rate. Your life span is directly related to the variability in your heart rate.
- It decreases blood markers of inflammation. The risk of cardiovascular symptoms is directly related to the amount of inflammation.
- It decreases chest pain. Chest pain is mostly musculoskeletal in nature.
- It improves lung function. Patients with asthma and emphysema have benefitted from chiropractic care. Poor lung function has a strong link to heart failure.