The circulation consists of the heart and the connected blood vessels. The heart is a pumping muscle the size of a fist located in the middle of the chest between the lungs.
The deoxidized blood from the body enters the right side of the heart where it is pumped into the lungs to be oxidized. The left side of the heart gets the oxidized blood back from the lungs and pumps it out into the body in increasingly small blood vessels (arteries) where the blood performs all of its essential tasks: Oxygen and nutrients are liberated to the cells and waste products from metabolism are liberated to the blood. The deoxidized blood returns to the heart through the veins.
The blood vessels from the heart are called arteries and the blood vessels leading to the heart are called veins.
Blood consists of red blood corpuscles carrying oxygen and carbon dioxide, white blood corpuscles which are part of our immune system, blood platelets assisting in the coagulation process, and plasma consisting of water, proteins, and salts. Furthermore, the blood carries hormones, enzymes, antibodies, cholesterol etc.
Symptoms from a cardiovascular disease can be very anxiety-provoking.
Here meaning atherosclerosis starting with damage of the blood vessel wall. Blood platelets will fill in and result in white blood cells, LDL cholesterol, calcium, and fat being deposited in the vessel wall.
Depending on the amount of protective antioxidants and other factors, the calcification process of the vessels can either be reversed or deteriorate. If the depositing, however, finally has reached a point where it completely clogs up the vessel, a blood clot has formed. The symptoms depend on which kind of tissue the dead tissue is that was supplied with oxygen and nutrients by the blood vessel.
Angina pectoris (AP)
The meaning of the word is heart cramp. It is often accompanied by oppressive, attack-like chest pains most often radiating out into the left arm but radiation into other places have also known to take place. An acute attack is often triggered by stress, exertion, a large meal, or cold. AP is a sign of disease in and lack of oxygen supply to the heart. Most often it is caused by calcification of the coronary arteries of the heart. The risk of having these attacks which usually last for a couple of minutes increases with age.
Acute myocardial infarction - AMI
A suddenly occuring blood clot in the heart. The pumping function of the heart requires that the heart muscle itself is being supplied with blood filled with oxygen and nutrition. A blocking of a blood vessel that supplies the heart with blood will cause part of the cardiac tissue to die. The symptoms of a cardiac blood clot are pains behind the sternum which particularly often radiate out into the left arm (radiation into other places has, however, also known to take place).
Preceding indications may be chest pains lasting more than a few minutes. The person may have some or all of the following symptoms: Shortness of breath, paleness, nausea, dizziness and sweating.
In women, however, such a heart attack more often causes dizziness and breathlessness instead of chest pains. In severe cases, loss of consciousness can occur in relation to an attack. Sequelae of a myocardial infarction can be tiredness and depression.
Apoplexy - stroke
The condition is ordinarily called a stroke. It is a generic term for suddenly occuring interrupted blood supply to the brain resulting from a blood clot occuring in the brain, a blood clot breaking free from somewhere in the body and getting stuck in the brain, or a cerebral haemorrhage in which a cerebral artery bursts. In this case, as well as in the case of calcification, the surrounding area of the brain dies.
The symptoms of a stroke relate to the extent of the damage. At worst, loss of consciousness and finally death occurs. In relation to smaller damages, the symptoms come gradually but after an acute attack paralyzation of arms, legs, or the a whole side of the body might occur which often can be brought to function again through sustained rehabilitation.
A precondition for rehabilitation after a stroke is that there are intact brain cells to take over the function of the damaged ones. A diet with a high content of potassium also reduces the risk of severe sequelae after strokes.
Teeth and heart problems
In recent years researchers have become aware of the relationship between mouth bacteria and cardiac disease. Bacteria from cavities and gum disease can move into the blood stream and cause, for example, blood clots and damage the heart valves.
General advice on disease prevention and a healthy lifestyle can be found in the library article "General Advice - for healthy as well as for ill ones" in the VitaHealth section under Focus Articles. You can also test your health by taking our "Health Check".
Maintain good oral hygiene throughout life.
In the cases of atherosclerosis and concomitant diseases, the wisest thing to go for is prevention. Eat food that is rich in potassium, i.e. fresh fruit and lots of vegetables and get daily exercise; adults should exercise for at least ½ hour a day. Quit smoking; smoking - actively as well as passively - is the largest single cause of atherosclerosis.
One study has shown that working men can reduce their risk of dying of heart problems by 64% if they take an afternoon nap of at least 3o minutes at least three times weekly. Retirees can reduce their risk by about 36%. The reason for this is not yet understood.
Scientific research has shown that too large depots of iron is the highest risk factor - after smoking - for developing a blood clot in the heart. This risk is small in menstruating women, but men who eat too much meat might have too much deposited iron. A good and fast way of relieving this is to become a blood donor.
Have your blood pressure checked and lower it if necessary.
Be examined for diabetes and reduced insulin sensitivity as there seems to be a connection between these sufferings and the risk of developing blood clots.
A medical examination showing the blood levels of homocystein and C-reactive protein will be a good indication of the acute risk of having a heart attack.
- Antioxidants: Take a daily supplement of anti-oxidants which protect the blod vessel wall against calcification. Cholesterol is essential and not in itself dangerous - as long as it is not attacked by free radicals.
- Vitamin E: Adequate intake of vitamin E counteracts the development of cardiovascular diseases but supplementation is not sufficient for curing the disease.
- Q10: People suffering from angina pectoris can benefit from Q10.
- Magnesium - in combination with vitamin B6 - can lower too high blood pressure and is particularly beneficial in all cases of heart problems.
- Zinc: Should be taken with 1/10 of copper to prevent the zinc from driving out copper from the body.
- Garlic (Allium sativum): Prevents the blood platelets from clogging and lowers blood pressure.
- Ginger (Zingiber officinalis): Improves circulation in the legs.
- Ginkgo biloba:
- Lysine: The amino acid lysine - in combination with vitamin C - counteracts vessel damage and thereby prevents atherosclerosis from occuring.
- Lecithin: Normalized the cholesterol balance between LDL and HDL cholesterol and should be taken in combination with a vitamin B complex.
Ginger for poor circulation of the foot
- Poor boiling water in a basin
- Add a cup of fresh grated ginger when the water is no longer boiling hot
- When the water reaches an acceptable temperature, put your feet in the water
- When you feet become warm and red, take them out of the basin
Some people suffer from a hereditary predisposition to atherosclerosis. They should be particularly careful as to keeping with a preventive lifestyle. Have the vessel wall, however, already been clogged with atherosclerosis, intravenous EDTA injections by a specialist might be a necessity. There are a lot of examples of procedures such as amputation of a leg or by-pass operations having been avoided through this procedure.
Acute myocardial infarction - AMI
It is important to get immediate medical assistance in case of AMI. If you are alone and feel an oncoming attack, you might only have a few seconds to react before losing consciousness. Take a deep breath and cough as violently as at all possible. Then take another deep breath followed by yet another violent cough. Repeat this every other second until getting help or the symptoms have passed.
These conditions should be attended to by a doctor before starting self treatment.
In case of a too high blood pressure, vitamin E should only be taken in small doses that are slowly being stepped up. The combination of too high blood pressure and consumption of vitamin E requires regular visits to your doctor for having your blood pressure measured.