Tag Archives: Coronary artery disease

Hawthorn

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Botanical Name : Crataegus oxyacantha
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily:Amygdaloideae
Tribe: Maleae
Subtribe: Malinae
Genus: Crataegus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales
Common Name :Hawthorn

Vernacular names: Eng:Hawthorn,May thom,May blossom
Hindi :Vanasaangli.
Local Name :Pandaakh

 Synonyms:  May. Mayblossom. Quick. Thorn. Whitethorn. Haw. Hazels. Gazels. Halves. Hagthorn. Ladies’ Meat. Bread and Che ese Tree.
(French) L’épine noble
(German) Hagedorn

Habitat:Hawthorn is available in Europe, North Africa, Western Asia

Description:
Hawthorn is a small to midium sized deciduous tree 5 to 15mtr. tall, grows as a hedge plant in Europe but found mostly in temperate regions North America ,Western Asia, India, China and northern Africa.Its flowers are umbrella shaped and clustered white or pink,leaves are glossy green toothed and the berries are bright shiny red. The white coloured flowers are borne in flat-topped  inflorescences termed corymbs  or globular in inflorescences termed umbels and usually contains 5 petals,5 and 18 stamens and have a rancid oder. the fruits are known as pomes, although the seeds and their bony ndocarps are termed pyrenes. The calyx is present. The throns are small with sharp tipped branches that arise either from other branches or from the trunk, and are typically 1-3 cm long.Hawthorn bark or stem has hardwood ,smooth and ash-grey.
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Medicinal Uses:

Part Used: Berries, young stems, leaves and flowers.

Plant Constituents of Hawthorn

Contains:
___________

*Amines
*Amyddalin
*Bioflavonoids
*Coumarin (an anti-coagulant)
*Crataegin (alkaloid contained in the bark)
*Glycosides
*Tannins
*Triterpenoid saponins

Action :
_________

*anti-arrhythmic effects (heart)
*anticoagulant [an agent that prevents the formation of clots in a liquid, as in blood]
*antispasmodic [an agent that relieves or checks spasms or cramps]
*antioxidants [contributing to the oxidation of free radicals which are believed to contribute to premature aging and dementia] that help increase the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart

*astringent [an agent that contracts organic tissue, reducing secretions or discharges]
*cardiac [an agent that stimulates or otherwise affects the heart]
*cardiotonic [an agent that has a tonic effect on the heart]
*diuretic [an agent that secretes or expels urine]
*hypotensive [an agent that lowers blood pressure]
*sedative [a soothing agent that reduces nervousness, distress or irritation]
*tonic [an agent that strengthens or invigorates organs or the entire organism]
*vasodilator [an agent that widens the blood vessels, thus lowering blood pressure]

Hawthorn is a good preventative herb for people with a family history of

*angina pectoris
*arteriosclerosis
*hardening of the arteries
*heart attacks
*high or low blood pressure
*valvular insufficiency
*inflammation of the heart muscle
*irregular pulse

Hawthorn is used for:

Blood Conditions

*inflammation of the blood vessels
*strengthens the walls of blood vessels
*varicose veins

Brain and Nervous System Conditions

*enhances poor memory by improving circulation of blood within the head and increasing the amount of oxygen to the brain, when combined with Ginkgo Biloba
*increases blood flow to the brain

Cardiovascular Conditions

*angina, a disease marked by intense chest pain
*arteriosclerosis
*cardiac curative
*enhances the strength of the heart’s contractions
*heart failure and debility
*heart muscle weakened by age
*helps prevent irregular heartbeats called arrhythmias, which can lead to heart attacks
*helps protect the heart against oxygen deprivation by inhibiting free radical formation which is beneficial in maintaining healthy heart vessels and promoting overall heart health
*improves blood supply to the heart
*improves circulation and increases tolerance for physical exertion
*increases blood flow to the heart and brain
*increases metabolism in the heart muscle
*lowers blood pressure (with extended use)
*lowers cholesterol and the amount of plaque in arteries
*myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle)
*nervous heart problems
*normalizes blood pressure by regulating the action of the heart, not only lowering high blood pressure but also raising blood pressure that is low
*normalizes cardiovascular functions
*normalizes heart action
*palpitations
*rapid heart beat
*reduces blood pressure and stress to the heart muscle
*relaxes and dilates the arteries
*restorative after a heart attack
*stabilizes and strengthens the heartbeat
*strengthens a heart muscle weakened by age
*supports the heart
*weak heart, combined with Rosemary and Rue

Hawthorn Berries are used for:

*congestive heart failure and circulatory disorders
*increasing coronary blood flow
*mild cardiac insufficiency

Gastrointestinal Conditions

*digestive problems, combined with Cactus grandiflorus

Genitourinary Conditions

*helps rid the body of excess salt and water thus supporting weight-loss and weight control programs
*urinary tract infections, combined with Agrimony, Thyme and Golden Rod

Respiratory Tract Conditions

*sore throat

Other Uses:

*an excellent liquor made from Hawthorn berries and brandy
*repels bees and is only pollinated by flies

Hawthorn is best-used long term as the active constituents do not produce rapid results. Benefits develop slowly having a direct effect on the heart itself, especially in cases of heart damage and heart problems associated with liver disease. It is gentle and safe for long-term use with no toxic side effects.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:

Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha)


http://www.apjtb.com/zz/2012s2/129.pdf
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/h/hawtho09.html

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Your Diet Could be More Important Than Your Genes

A Mediterranean-style diet promotes heart function — even in men who are normally genetically predisposed to poor heart health. This means that the autonomic system controlling your heart rate works better if you eat a Mediterranean or similar diet, no matter what your genes.

In a study, researchers showed that a Mediterranean-style diet is related to higher heart rate variability (HRV), a measure of the time interval between a person’s heart beats. Low heart rate variability is a risk factor for coronary artery disease.

WebMD reports:
“In order to conduct their analysis, the researchers administered food frequency questionnaires to 276 middle-aged male twins. Diet can influence heart rate variability, but this association can be confounded by environmental and genetic factors. Using twins enabled researchers to examine the influence of diet on heart rate variability while controlling for genetic and other familial influences.”

Resources:
WebMD June 16, 2010
Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes June 15, 2010 [Epub ahead of print]

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How to Avoid Heart Attack

Here are some simple advices to avoid diseases in the heart and blood vessels and to help you recover from such diseases if you are already under attack!

1. Kick the butt : Dr. Ashok Seth, Chairman Escort Heart Institute suggests, “Stop smoking or consumption of tobacco in any form. Smoking causes circulatory problems as it leads to cholesterol deposition and damages the inner lining of the blood vessels. It is very risky for women on oral contraceptive pills as smoking tends to increase blood clotting problems and cause blockages”.

2. Walk your way : “Exercise at least 5 days a week for 40 minutes. It helps decrease heart ailments by 20%, “adds Dr. Seth. “If you can’t take out time for jogging, cycling, playing ball, swimming or other activities, a simple technique is to indulge in a brisk 5 kilometer walk every day. Walking is the best medicine for a healthy heart. Walking increases your blood circulation,” Dr Colonel C.P. Roy VSM, Senior Consultant Max Heart Institute, adds further.

3. Sleep well : “Get enough sleep. Sleeping well reduces mental stress and stabilises one’s heart rate. Avoid stress over a long period. Manage stress by prioritising your jobs from the most important to lesser vital ones. One needs to do a proper time-management,” advices Dr. Roy.

4. Dealing with your diet : “Being careful of your diet can help you lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It also prevents obesity, heart disease and strokes,” mentions Dr. R.R. Kasliwal. A good diet should include vegetables and fruits together with each meal for vitamins, minerals, fibres and anti-oxidants. They should be raw or gently cooked so that the content of the nutrients remains intact. Dr. Roy further adds, “We must not only stick to fish to increase our level of Omega 3 that is good for our heart, but also try and balance our meal”.

5. Moderate your alcohol consumption : Alcohol has a devastating effect on your heart and raises the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and strokes. “Wine can be replaced for your regular drinks; wine increases the good cholesterol HDL level, which takes the bad cholesterol away from the blockages. But it should be consumed in limited quantity otherwise it becomes counter productive,” suggests Dr. Roy.

6. Watch your weight : Keeping a healthy weight is very important. “There is a lot of fat deposit in the Indian body; it’s the metabolic syndrome which leads to more chances of contracting diabetes and waist circumference or the waist – hip ratio. If the waist is more than the hip it leads to heart disorders, and this is very common in India. The simplest and common advice to a healthy weight is proper diet and regular physical activity, ” points out Dr. Ashok.

7. Monitor your diabetes : Keep your diabetes under control. Suffering from diabetes exposes you to heart diseases in addition to other ailments. “Blood sugar leads to hardening of the blood vessels and the deposition of cholesterol in all the arteries of the body,” says Dr Ashok. Testing for diabetes and keeping it under check is a must, blood sugar reference during fasting must ideally be 70-110 mg/dl. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and maintain a healthy weight to keep diabetes at bay.

Dr Ashok further adds, “Blockages start as early as 3-4 years of age and major blockages can occur by 15 years of age. Regular health screenings including blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar tests during childhood once in every two 2 years and once every year in case of grown ups. In case detected with any irregularities, then a regular check is important on the advice of the doctor.”

Source
: The Times Of India

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Breathless? Blame your genes

Scientists have identified a gene variant responsible for the higher incidence of coronary artery blockages in Indians.

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Researchers in Bangalore have zeroed in on a gene that may explain why an unusually high number of Indians are prone to coronary artery disease (CAD), the biggest killer among various ailments that afflict the human heart. The risk of CAD is said to be several times higher in Indians than in the others.

CAD is a condition in which plaque builds up inside the coronary artery vessels that supply the heart muscle with oxygen-rich blood.

Led by Arindam Maitra, scientists at the Thrombosis Research Institute — attached to Narayana Hrudayalaya in Bangalore — found that people who harbour a particular variant of the gene rs10757278 are over one and half times more prone to CAD than those who do not have it.

The gene in question is located on the short arm of chromosome 9 (of the 23 pairs that a human cell contains, received from each of the parents). The gene variant was earlier found to put other populations at risk too, but to a much lesser degree.

Maitra, however, was quick to add that this is not the only gene associated with CAD. More genes are suspected to contribute to the inherited risk of CAD. Yet very little is known about them. “This is only the tip of an iceberg,” said Maitra whose team, early last year, unravelled the role played by another gene (IL-6) in the early onset of CAD in Indians.

CAD is multigenic and complex. Being multigenic, no single gene, acting in isolation, will lead to the disease. As a result, people may bear two copies of the risk gene variant but lack the other relevant genetic risk factors which, in combination, might lead to CAD.

And, being complex, CAD is caused by a combination of the presence of the genetic risk factors as well as exposure to risk-conferring environmental influences like diet or lifestyle, said Maitra.

The study, scheduled to appear soon in the Journal of Genetics, looked for the presence of the gene variant in 154 CAD patients undergoing treatment in Bangalore and Mumbai. Similar studies were conducted on an equal number of healthy people.

Patients with two copies of the risk-associated variant — rs10757278G — were found to be far more vulnerable than those with one copy or none at all. Nearly one-third of the patients with three or more diseased artery vessels had two copies of rs10757278G, whereas the frequency was one in eight in the patients who lacked them.

It was also found that CAD sets in two years earlier in those who bear the risk gene variants than those who don’t.

The risk of CAD in Indians is about 3-4 times higher than in the Caucasians, six times higher than in the Chinese and 20 times higher than in the Japanese.

Independent experts, however, dismiss the study because of the small sample size. “Genomic studies are generally conducted with thousands of volunteers, as there is always a chance of getting false positive results otherwise,” said Dorairaj Prabharakan, who heads the non-profit Centre for Chronic Disease Control in New Delhi .

While gene studies may help understand the mechanisms of the disease better, it is quite irrelevant from a clinician’s point of view. Only 10 per cent of CAD could be solely the result of genetic factors, Prabhakaran stressed. The risk factors associated with nearly two-third of CAD patients are smoking and elevated blood fat levels. Another 20 per cent of cases are due to diabetes and hypertension.

Like Prabhakaran, Prashant Joshi, a doctor at the Government Medical College, Nagpur, too feels that the sample size is too low. But, he added, it is very important to know which genes make Indians more vulnerable to CAD. “The threshold of the risk factors in Indians is very low compared with their counterparts in the West,” Joshi said. In other words, Indians with lower cholesterol, diabetes and BP levels, or who smoke less than their counterparts abroad, are more prone to CAD. “Genes are certainly playing a role here,” Joshi said.

Maitra justified the small sample size, saying it was only a pilot study. But, he added, a larger study is already planned.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

Echocardiogram

Definition
An echocardiogram uses sound waves to produce images of your heart. This common test allows your doctor to see how your heart is beating and pumping blood. Your doctor can use the images from an echocardiogram to identify various abnormalities in the heart muscle and valves.

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It determines the size of your heart, and assess how well it is functioning. The test can estimate how forcefully your heart is pumping blood, and can spot areas of the heart wall that have been injured by a previous heart attack or some other cause.

Depending on what information your doctor needs, you may have one of several types of echocardiograms. Each type of echocardiogram has very few risks involved.

Why it’s done
Your doctor may suggest an echocardiogram if he or she suspects problems with the valves or chambers of your heart or your heart’s ability to pump. An echocardiogram can also be used to detect congenital heart defects in unborn babies.

Depending on what information your doctor needs, you may have one of the following kinds of echocardiograms:

*Transthoracic echocardiogram. This is a standard, noninvasive echocardiogram. A technician (sonographer) spreads gel on your chest and then presses a device known as a transducer firmly against your skin, aiming an ultrasound beam through your chest to your heart. The transducer records the sound wave echoes your heart produces. A computer converts the echoes into moving images on a monitor. If your lungs or ribs obscure the view, a small amount of intravenous dye may be used to improve the images.

*Transesophageal echocardiogram. If it’s difficult to get a clear picture of your heart with a standard echocardiogram, your doctor may recommend a transesophageal echocardiogram. In this procedure, a flexible tube containing a transducer is guided down your throat and into your esophagus, which connects your mouth to your stomach. From there, the transducer can obtain more detailed images of your heart.

*Doppler echocardiogram. When sound waves bounce off blood cells moving through your heart and blood vessels, they change pitch. These changes (Doppler signals) can help your doctor measure the speed and direction of the blood flow in your heart. Doppler techniques are used in most transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiograms.

*Stress echocardiogram. Some heart problems — particularly those involving the coronary arteries that feed your heart muscle — occur only during physical activity. For a stress echocardiogram, ultrasound images of your heart are taken before and immediately after walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike. If you’re unable to exercise, you may get an injection of a medication to make your heart work as hard as if you were exercising.

Risk Factors:
There are minimal risks associated with a standard transthoracic echocardiogram. You may feel some discomfort similar to pulling off an adhesive bandage when the technician removes the electrodes placed on your chest during the procedure.

If you have a transesophageal echocardiogram, your throat may be sore for a few hours afterward. Rarely, the tube may scrape the inside of your throat. Your oxygen level will be monitored during the exam to check for any breathing problems caused by the sedation medication.

During a stress echocardiogram, exercise or medication — not the echocardiogram itself — may temporarily cause an irregular heartbeat. Serious complications, such as a heart attack, are rare.

How do you prepare for the test?
No special preparations are necessary for a standard transthoracic echocardiogram. Your doctor will ask you not to eat for a few hours beforehand if you’re having a transesophageal or stress echocardiogram. If you’ll be walking on a treadmill during a stress echocardiogram, wear comfortable shoes. If you’re having a transesophageal echocardiogram, you won’t be able to drive afterward because of the sedating medication you’ll receive. Be sure to make arrangements to get home before you have your test.

What happens when the test is performed?

During the procedure
An echocardiogram can be done in the doctor’s office or a hospital. After undressing from the waist up, you’ll lie on an examining table or bed. The technician will attach sticky patches (electrodes) to your body to help detect and conduct the electrical currents of your heart.

If you’ll have a transesophageal echocardiogram, your throat will be numbed with a numbing spray or gel. You’ll likely be given a sedative to help you relax.

During the echocardiogram, the technician will dim the lights to better view the image on the monitor. You may hear a pulsing “whoosh” sound, which is the machine recording the blood flowing through your heart.

Most echocardiograms take less than an hour, but the timing may vary depending on your condition. During a transthoracic echocardiogram, you may be asked to breathe in a certain way or to roll onto your left side. Sometimes the transducer must be held very firmly against your chest. This can be uncomfortable – but it helps the technician produce the best images of your heart.

After the procedure
If your echocardiogram is normal, no further testing may be needed. If the results are concerning, you may be referred to a heart specialist (cardiologist) for further assessment. Treatment depends on what’s found during the exam and your specific signs and symptoms. You may need a repeat echocardiogram in several months or other diagnostic tests, such as a cardiac computerized tomography (CT) scan or coronary angiogram.

How long is it before the result of the test is known?
If a doctor does the test, you might get some results immediately. If a technician performs the test, he or she records the echocardiogram on a videotape for a cardiologist to review later on. In this case, you’ll probably receive results in several days.

Results:
Your doctor will look for healthy heart valves and chambers, as well as normal heartbeats. Information from the echocardiogram can reveal many aspects of your heart health, including:

*Heart size. Weakened or damaged heart valves, high blood pressure or other diseases can cause the chambers of your heart to enlarge. Your doctor can use an echocardiogram to evaluate the need for treatment or monitor treatment effectiveness.

*Pumping strength. An echocardiogram can help your doctor determine your heart’s pumping strength. Specific measurements may include the percentage of blood that’s pumped out of a filled ventricle with each heartbeat (ejection fraction) or the volume of blood pumped by the heart in one minute (cardiac output). If your heart isn’t pumping enough blood to meet your body’s needs, heart failure may be a concern.

*Damage to the heart muscle. During an echocardiogram, your doctor can determine whether all parts of the heart wall are contributing equally to your heart’s pumping activity. Parts that move weakly may have been damaged during a heart attack or be receiving too little oxygen. This may indicate coronary artery disease or various other conditions.

*Valve problems. An echocardiogram shows how your heart valves move as your heart beats. Your doctor can determine if the valves open wide enough for adequate blood flow or close fully to prevent blood leakage. Abnormal blood flow patterns and conditions such as aortic valve stenosis — when the heart’s aortic valve is narrowed — can be detected as well.

*Heart defects. Many heart defects can be detected with an echocardiogram, including problems with the heart chambers, abnormal connections between the heart and major blood vessels, and complex heart defects that are present at birth. Echocardiograms can even be used to monitor a baby’s heart development before birth.

Resources:
https://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/diagnostics/echocardiogram.shtml
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/echocardiogram/MY00095

http://www.sads.org.uk/cardiac_tests.htm

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