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Optimal Health Newsletter, Issue #106 – Angina: A Warning Signal
July 20, 2007

Keeping your heart healthy the natural way

Issue #106

July 20, 2007

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New Section

I have added a new section to Optimal Heart Health. It is concerned with coronary heart disease. The featured article comes from that new section

Coronary heart disease (CHD) kills more men and women in developed countries than anything else. Yet, for the most part, we do it to ourselves. We are not born with CHD. It develops over time… largely because of the choices we make. We need to start making the right choices.

Featured Article:

Angina: A Warning
Sign To Be Heeded.

Why Angina Is Good

I once read an account of a doctor living in a leprosy colony. He made a statement I don’t think about most of the time. He said, "Pain is good."

This doctor spent his life with people afflicted with a disease that, among other things, kills the nerves in the extremities. His patients would do all sorts of damage to themselves because they could not feel pain.
Pain is a warning that something is wrong.
It is like that with angina. In short angina is chest pain caused by another underlying condition. Most of the time that underlying condition is coronary heart disease.

Coronary heart disease is the #1 killer in many countries. It may develop for years without giving any sign that anything is wrong. When it finally does make itself known it is often with a loud announcement like a heart attack or stroke.

Sometimes as coronary heart disease worsens it gives you a hint that something is wrong.
That hint is angina.
If you have angina you may not think it a very nice thing at all. And it isn’t. But it is a wakeup call that something very serious is wrong.

What Causes Angina?

Sometimes angina is caused by something like valvular heart disease or an enlarged heart. But these causes are rather rare. As mentioned above, angina is usually caused by coronary heart disease.

Most commonly the arteries that feed the heart become blocked by atherosclerosis buildup. It is not something that happens overnight. It can take many years. As the arteries narrow the heart is deprived of nutrients and oxygen. The heart continues to work, even overwork, in its oxygen deprived environment. It strains to get the job done often causing pain in the process.

The most common type of angina occurs during exertion. As the heart pumps harder to compensate for the increased workload the oxygen demands can not be met resulting in chest pain. When the patient rests the pain usually goes away rather quickly.

What Can Be Done?

Your doctor can prescribe medicines to accomplish a number of things. For instance medications called coronary vasodilators cause the arteries to relax allowing more blood, and therefore oxygen, to pass through to the heart. Higher blood flow reduces the strain on the heart.

If your blood pressure is high it can make your angina worse. Hypertension increases your heart’s workload. Lowering the blood pressure then reduces the workload and therefore the strain on the heart.

Certain surgical options are also available to open up the clogged arteries. These would include a variety of angioplasty techniques.

What Can You Do?

Well of course listen to your doctor. But there is more.
Coronary heart disease is most often promoted by lifestyle choices we make. In other words, we do it to ourselves. So the responsibility for undoing the problem falls on us as well.

Remember, we are not really focusing on the angina. Coronary heart disease (particularly atherosclerosis) is our focus. Undoing years of damage takes time and commitment. Build good habits and stick with them. For example…
  • If you smoke please stop.
  • If you don’t exercise then start. Moderate exercise can actually retard the development of atherosclerosis.
  • Keep your cholesterol and triglycerides low. Both contribute to coronary heart disease.
  • Keep your blood pressure within an acceptable range. High blood pressure causes the heart to overwork.
  • If you are carrying too much weight then work to get it off.
Diet is a key component in promoting and reversing atherosclerosis. There are a number of foods you should avoid. You probably can guess many of them. You can read about a heart healthy diet using some of the links that follow.

There are also some foods you should eat in abundance. In particular you should eat lots of food rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. It is well known that people who consume high amounts of Omega-3 have a much lower incidence of heart disease.
Which foods are high in Omega-3?
The highest vegetative source is flax seeds. Flax seeds are very high in ALA. Several studies suggest, however, that marine sourced Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) are much more potent in reversing coronary heart disease. These come from cold-water fatty fish like…
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Blue fin tuna
  • Herring
Getting high amounts of Omega-3 is one of the best things you can do for reversing coronary heart disease. How much do you need?

Some studies demonstrate great results in people who consume in excess of 5 grams of Omega-3 per day. The American Heart Association recommends 2-4 grams per day for lowering triglycerides and at least 1 gram per day for anyone with coronary heart disease.

Even with these conservative numbers it requires a lot of fish eating. To get what you need take a good Omega-3 supplement. You can find out more using the links below.

Whether or not you suffer from angina, coronary heart disease is a serious threat to your health. Take your heart health seriously. Do what it takes to maintain your optimal heart health.

Links for further research:

Omega-3 and Coronary Heart Disease:


Heart Healthy Diet:

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