Naturopathic Treatment and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease
Heart disease is a major health problem in the United States. Despite being preventable in many cases, heart disease continues to kill both men and women. The CDC describes just how staggering the problem is, “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. More than half of the deaths due to heart disease in 2009 were in men…About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.” Some of the risk factors that increase the odds of developing heart disease include diabetes, obesity or being overweight, poor diet, physical inactivity, excessive alcohol use. Most of these risk factors can be corrected with diet and lifestyle changes and thus heart disease is a highly preventable disease.
Naturopathy is Ideal for Treating and Preventing Heart Disease
There are many ways to treat heart disease and while there are frequently prescriptions or other more invasive options, naturopathy aims to treat and prevent heart disease in a holistic way – dealing with the root of the problem and the body’s overall health. The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians describes how naturopathy is so well-suited for treating and preventing heart disease, “Heart disease, the leading killer for both men and women in the U.S., is largely preventable if caught and treated early. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) excel at preventing and treating cardiovascular disease because they focus on identifying the underlying causes of disease and empowering patients to make enduring lifestyle changes to restore and maintain their health. A study investigating the effects of lifestyle changes in patients with atherosclerosis (the buildup of fatty, cholesterol-rich plaque in the arteries) found that after only one year of following lifestyle recommendations, about 80 percent of participants were able to bring about plaque regression and avoid surgery without the use of lipid lowering agents.Trained to treat the whole person, naturopathic doctors address the genetic, environmental, and behavioral/lifestyle factors that lead to cardiovascular disease.”
In What Ways Does Naturopathy Treat and Prevent Heart Disease?
Any appointment with a naturopath begins with a comprehensive intake of health and well-being information. It is important to have a complete picture of overall health so that a unique and holistic approach to cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment can be developed. next, lab work will be completed to get a picture of general health and see if there are any concerning lab results that may need to be addressed. The lab results also help determine the cause of certain symptoms. Another important aspect that is often overlooked by western medicine that naturopathy addresses is gastrointestinal health. Naturopathic Doctor News and Review addresses the importance of gastrointestinal health and its relation to cardiovascular disease, “Repair the GI tract from mouth to anus, including restoring the proper pH, balancing flora, and, if needed, correcting constipation and leaky gut. While addressing pH in the stomach and gut may be based more on a naturopathic model, there is little doubt that imbalanced flora and constipation contribute to cardiovascular risk. It is accepted that obesity is a risk factor for atherosclerosis,6 but how about also recognizing that obese patients don’t just have additional weight but often also gut dysbiosis? In terms of specific links between gut flora and cardiovascular disease, Lactobacillus plantarum species has been shown to have a direct protective effect on atherosclerosis in cell-line studies,8 and even in smokers.9 A large study that followed 45 000 Japanese adults over 13 years revealed a higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, especially stroke, among participants with infrequent bowel movements, ie, constipation.” Next, it is important to manage vitals and discuss what medications or supplements may be beneficial in the treatment or prevention of heart disease for the individual patient. If you have a family history of heart disease or are concerned about your health and the prevention or treatment of cardiovascular disease, speak to a naturopath to discuss the best way to address your health holistically and naturally.