Integrative cardiology is a newer field in the larger scope of integrative medicine. It specializes in treating the heart from a body, mind and emotions perspective and in doing so; decreases the reliance upon using medication alone to help the function of the heart. Since most medications have an average of 70 side effects and some up to 525, it makes good sense to treat the whole person instead of relying on medication to temporarily help the heart function when in the long run it can harm multiple systems, organs and glands. To heal the heart, people should focus on diet, supplementation, lifestyle and stress reduction. If these areas are balanced then working with an integrative cardiologist to analyze heart function and fine tune it with low dose medication if necessary is the best of both worlds.
Cardiology is the field of diagnosing and treating conditions of the heart. Cardiologists’ primary avenue of treatment is medications and surgery. Now, add the word “integrative” and a whole new field is produced. Integrative cardiology is the treatment of the physical, mental and emotional aspects of imbalances affecting the heart. The treatment is not primarily with medication or surgery but instead with diet, supplementation and lifestyle changes. The field of integrative cardiology combines the best of both worlds: standard medical diagnosis and treatment with an alternative medicine mindset whose desire is to bring the heart function back into balance by treating the cause and not the effect.
Diet, supplementation and lifestyle changes
Research has proved that by consuming a 10 percent fat, whole foods, vegetarian diet, along with aerobic exercise, stress management training, smoking cessation and group psychosocial support produces regression of coronary atherosclerosis progressively over a five year period. In contrast, in the Standard American Diet control group, coronary atherosclerosis continued to progress and more than twice as many cardiac events occur.
Research has also supported incorporating supplementation of D-ribose, L-carnitine and coenzyme Q10 with cardiac risk patients. The researcher states that “the integration of these metabolic supports provides the missing link in congestive heart failure treatment that has been eluding physicians for decades.”
Take an example of a person that has palpitations of the heart. This person thinks they have something wrong with their heart but the fact is most all of these symptoms are caused by some type of stress to the system. The most common stressors are diet, lack of sleep or emotional stress. When these are naturally balanced the palpitations leave. Always remember what people do to the mind, they do to the body and vice versa. So if a person is under extreme mental distress, the heart will be affected. On the other hand, if a person is eating a lot of sugar, caffeine or food that they are reactive to like casein, gluten and eggs, the heart might also palpitate. Integrative cardiology always sees the heart as a part of the big picture which is complete wellness.
An integrative cardiologist finds the underlying causes of health issues instead of trying to just make the symptoms go away. This doctor understands how the body and mind work together so their last resort would be medication and if medication were needed it would be the smallest dosage for the least amount of time with the fewest possible side effects. The goal would be to first seek to balance a person’s diet, supplementation and lifestyle along with mental and emotional stress factors and produce a whole person in every respect instead of only trying to alleviate symptoms.
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