Supportive Therapy for Cardiac Conditions

Today the most commonly encountered cardiac condition is coronary artery disease which is a major cause of disability and mortality worldwide. Coronary blockages take years to develop and although genetic predisposition does play a role, following factors are implicated in its origin

Diabetes Mellitus
Lifestyle factors

These serve as precipitating factors for the occurrence of major events listed below which describe the aetiopathogenesis of coronary artery disease,

Arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis
Platelate aggregation and clot formation
Arteriolar spasm and constriction

Thus an understanding of cardiac conditions encompasses a comprehensive birds eye view of the factors favoring, initiating and ultimately evolving into a full blown picture of cardiac disease.

The risk scale based on the famous Framingham study in the United States suggests the following risk factors for the development of cardiac disease,

Age and sex
Family history
Lack of exercise
Lifestyle criterias
Openness about emotions
Attitude towards life

Dietary habits
Birth weight
Body mass index
Waist-hip ratio, < 0.85 is beneficial
Total cholesterol and its ratio with HDL
ECG changes

Thus as an adjunct to conventional therapy, a consideration of auxiliary line of treatment proves beneficial in the control of cardiac diseases.

A pioneering scientific study in the field of preventive cardiology and reversal of heart disease was carried out by Dr.Dean Ornish. After 19 years of research he propagated a lifestyle program and carried out a 1 year study in an experimental group. Clinical improvement was corroborated by coronary angiograms and PET scans and the findings were published in various journals and authenticated by experimenters in subsequent trials.
Dr Ornish’s study and an overview of the risk factors pinpoints to certain traits(apart from physical factors) being imperative in the development of CHD generally

Perceived isolation
Lack of social support
Low self esteem

The supportive treatment can thus be enumerated as follows

1 ) Dietary changes

Cut down on saturated fats like fried foods, ghee, animal fats etc
Reduce intake of simple carbohydrates like sugar, cakes and increase intake of complex carbs like wholegrain cereals, legumes, vegetables and fruits<
Reduce salt intake if hypertensive
Increase intake of fibre eg carrots, oats, barley which is known to bind to cholesterol and eliminate it from the body
Omega 3 fatty acids found in walnuts, flax seed and some fish can be extremely beneficial for the heart
Antioxidants help in reducing overall free radical damage. Found amply in black beans, amala, some herbs like oregano, rosemary etc
Red wine and extra virgin olive oil are heart friendly when consumed in moderation

2 ) Reducing and eventually refraining from smoking.

Nicotine is a potent stimulus which injures the coronary lining and increases clot formation and arteriolar constriction. Hence damage to the heart can be considerably controlled if this risk factor is obliterated.

3 ) Reduce intake of stimulants like caffeine and alcohol which are directly toxic to the endothelium and the heart.

4 ) Exercise

Moderate exercises done regularly over years can be beneficial. A walk for half an hour 3 times a week and stretching can be especially useful

5 ) Adequate rest and relaxation to initiate processes of repair

6 ) Stress Management

Stress is created primarily from isolation, isolation from our inner self, isolation from others and isolation from a higher force

To combat stress effectively and thus address the fundamental issues that predispose us to illness, following techniques can prove useful


Yogic posture
Breathing exercises
Progressive relaxation
Self analysis


Identify what you are feeling
Express what you are feeling
Listen actively with empathy and compassion
Acknowledge what the other person is saying


To heal the isolation that leads to stress, suffering and illness


Sharing and thus connecting is an important facet of healing. As said by Einstein,

“ A human body is part of a whole called by us the ‘universe’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest- a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

In summary then, our mind, body and spirit are all intimately interconnected, so heart disease occurs on emotional and spiritual levels as well as physical ones. The supportive line of treatment is designed to address all of these levels, not just the physical ones.

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