Meditation & Health #5 – Three Ways to Keep Heart and Vascular Diseases at Bay


Meditation & Health #5 Contents

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

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…