Meditation & Health #5 – Three Ways to Keep Heart and Vascular Diseases at Bay
Three Ways to Keep Heart and Vascular Diseases at Bay
Heart and vascular diseases are mankind’s biggest killers. They are known as the rich man’s illness and commonly accompanied by three main ailments: high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. Three ways to combat these dangerous diseases are to cultivate a healthy lifestyle and diet, have a peaceful mindset and exercise regularly.
In June 2003, in the 72nd minute of the FIFA Confederations Cup semi-finals game, footballer Mare Vivien Foe was killed by a coronary heart attack. One year later, tragedy struck again, Sixto Rojas, a young footballer from Paraguay, collapsed suddenly during one of his training sessions and was reported to have subsequently died of stroke.
With heart and vascular diseases accounting for countless sudden deaths amongst the young and old, it is no wonder that these diseases have become a subject of great concern in the medical world. Heart and vascular diseases are mankind’s biggest killers. Frequent attacks on elderly folks aged 50 and older have resulted in many premature deaths. Even the luckier ones who escape death may be dogged by after-effects such as semi-paralysis, speech incoherence, mental retardation and even total paralysis, for the rest of their lives.
Clinical research has indicated that the chances of heart and vascular diseases recurring in these survivors within five years are as high as 20-40%. The World Health Organisation has pointed out that every year, some 17,000,000 people worldwide die from heart disease or other vascular diseases, accounting for one-third of all deaths around the globe.
In this issue, we want to understand more about heart and vascular diseases in terms of their prevention and treatment.
What Causes Heart and Vascular Diseases
Cardiovascular diseases are known as the rich man’s illnesses, and have three accompanying ailments, namely high blood pressure, high blood sugar or diabetes, and high cholesterol. About 40 -45% of those aged 60 and above who have high blood pressure will also suffer from diabetes or high cholesterol.
From a medical perspective, heart and vascular diseases comprise both heart diseases and cerebrovascular diseases. They refer to illnesses caused by high cholesterol, blood thickening, arteriosclerosis and high blood pressure, which lead to a lack of blood within the heart, the vascular and throughout the body.
Medical science refers to heart and vascular diseases as illnesses of the circulatory system (the circulatory system refers to the transport of blood to all the organs within the human body). Usually, the hardening of the arteries leads to most of such illnesses, which affect the heart and blood stream (aorta, veins and capillaries) as well.
It is clear that malfunctioning vascular systems trigger heart and vascular diseases. Simply put, the vascular system can be compared to the expressway. Its key function is to carry all the nutrients required by the body to every organ continuously. Concurrently, it transports by-products and waste generated as part of the metabolic processes, including toxins, from each organ, to the corresponding organ to be expelled. Such a circulatory system helps maintain normal biological functions. Once the arteries are damaged, the entire circulatory system will be adversely affected, and its transport function will be disrupted.
But how does the vascular system get damaged?
The vascular system (comprising main aortas, arteries, veins and capillaries) is made up of tubes with smooth inner walls. The combined length of these tubes is enough to stretch round the Earth two and a half times. Surely, a fine, long, intertwined and complicated system such as this cannot avoid running into problems from time to time?
Neglecting to take care of the vascular system can easily lead to blood coagulation or thickening, causing blood flow to slow down and leaving the organs with an inadequate and almost stagnant blood supply. The outcome is a chain reaction of multi-organ weaknesses. With prolonged damage, the normal functioning of the entire blood circulation system will be affected.
The clinical symptoms of heart and vascular illnesses are quite pronounced: An enlarged heart, heart murmurs, ups and downs in energy level, laboured breathing after exercise, coughing, nervousness, dizziness, stiffness in the neck area, bloating and pain in the upper abdominal area, nausea, vomiting, cracking voice, purplish-redness in the cheek bone area, blue-black patches on the skin, swollen spleen, clubbed finger, etc. If any of these symptoms are manifested in our bodies, it is important to make a trip to the hospital for a check-up.
Dangers of Heart and Vascular Diseases
Research statistics have indicated that heart and vascular diseases have become the worst killer diseases accounting for about one-third of all deaths worldwide every year. Besides their four salient features – high incidence, high probability of causing disability, high probability of death and high risk of complications – these diseases present four main dangers described below:
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure not only causes dizziness, fear, blurred vision and other discomforts, but it can harm the heart, the vascular, the kidney and other vital organs, resulting in ischemic stroke, weakening of heart functions, stroke and side paralysis, kidney failure and other complications.
Coronary Heart Disease
Once coronary heart disease erupts, it can lead to sudden death: An uneven heartbeat can cause heart pain, leading to a heart attack; the heart functions cannot be fulfilled, and there will be sudden stoppage of the heart resulting in death.
Stroke can lead to multiple negative consequences: crooked mouth, slow speech, limited body mobility, unstable movement, paralysis resulting in being bedridden, loss of control over urination and bowel movements, and more seriously, death.
High Medical Bills
Heart and vascular diseases occur to different age groups, and have a recurrence incidence of up to 85.3%. Huge costs are required for post-treatment home care and medical maintenance, which can amount to astronomical medical expenses.
Three Great Strategies for Preventing Heart and Vascular Diseases
Now that you have a basic knowledge of cardiovascular diseases, here are three great ways to stay far away from these illnesses.
Cultivate a Healthy Lifestyle and Dietary Habits
As part of good dietary habits, you may wish to…
- Drink one glass of water every morning to help hydrate the blood;
- Eat a balanced meal, based on unprocessed, vegetarian food and plant proteins while controlling the intake of sugar, proteins, cholesterol and salt;
- Pay attention to seasoning, with a preference for plant-based oil. Try to use less, or avoid consuming, animal-based oil;
- Eat more fresh vegetables and fruits: The Vitamin C, potassium and magnesium in such foods can reduce cholesterol, and have a certain protective effect on the heart;
- Replace animal protein with soybean protein, and eat more foods containing iodine such as seaweed (kelp);
- Eat more foods rich in arginine such as sesame, Chinese yam, gingko and sunflower seeds, to balance out the tension of the blood vessels, curb the coagulation of the blood platelets and reduce damage to the blood vessels;
- Avoid smoking and drinking.
Maintain a Relaxed Attitude
It is natural for us to have negative moods and feelings, but it is possible to control them. Upon waking each morning, tell yourself: “Today I will be compassionate and forgiving”. Open your heart, and offer love freely to others. This will allow your body to gain positive energy and release negative energy, causing the area around your heart to become warmer and your heart itself to become stronger, thus leading to a healthier body and faster recovery from illnesses.
In addition, sit down quietly and listen to meditation music once a week, letting the entire body relax from the top of your head to the tips of your toes – let the body dissolve…. While listening, become one with the music. When thoughts do not swirl in your mind, the soul will calm down. After half an hour, you will feel energised, rejuvenated and extremely comfortable.
Be the master of your own moods, cultivate a loving and compassionate heart, and be generous towards others – this will effectively prevent the onset of cardiovascular diseases.
Exercise Suitably and Consider Prostration
Suitable sports training can effectively improve the functionality of the cardiovascular system. Regular long-distance running, basketball, mountain-climbing, ice-skating or swimming, etc., will render the heart muscles thicker and lower the blood pressure, while stabilising motor movements.
In addition, we especially recommend a panacea that can prevent cardiovascular diseases – prostration.
Prostration is a holistic exercise that will help cultivate good health and is suitable for everyone, regardless of gender or age. It is easy to learn, and combines both kinetic and static movements, tension and relaxation elements, and its speed can be calibrated to suit individual condition.
Each complete prostration is designed to mobilise every cell within the body, and allow all your meridians and blood vessels, bones and muscles, and joints and organs, perhaps even the skin, to be exercised and improved through every rising, stretching and relaxing movement.
Prostration is a gentle exercise which increases oxygen intake and flow to the heart, the vascular and through the entire body, leaving one refreshed and invigorated, lighter and happier. Thus, perseverance in doing prostration will increase blood circulation, enhance metabolism, stabilise blood pressure and enhance physical strength, thus alleviating the threat of cardiovascular disease. While doing prostration, you may derive that sense of being at ease and the joy of inner peace and tranquility.
A healthy body and quality life – it’s all within our grasp. So what are you waiting for? Start your prostration exercise today!