February is heart month. Cardiovascular disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada, only outnumbered by cancer. What can we do to help decrease our risks? We need to take control and manage our risk factors. First, a surprising number of us smoke—this needs to stop. Second, get active. Everyone needs at least 150 minutes per week of physical activity. Start slow and easy working up to your goals. Third, manage dietary choices. Eat at least five servings of fruit and veggies per day, focusing on healthy fats and proteins. The Mediterranean diet works well as a balanced, maintainable choice for the long-term. Fourth, closely manage current conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, peripheral artery disease and cardiac diseases.
Our Naturopathic Doctors can help to manage these conditions to prevent further cardiac damage. Drs. Haggarty and Nardella can suggest nutritional supplements, help manage dietary issues and physical activity. Clinic naturopaths can also suggest intravenous treatments such as chelation to help “clean” the arteries, or curcumin to help decrease inflammation in the cardiovascular system that may lead to severe cardiovascular disease. Enhanced External Counter Pulsation (EECP) therapy, a “natural bypass”, significantly helps to decrease the risks of cardiovascular complications. EECP therapy improves vascular function, increases coronary perfusion, improves exercise tolerance and decreases angina symptoms. Hyperbaric Oxygen treatments help patients with peripheral artery disease by decreasing pain, inflammation and swelling while improving local circulation.
Interventions range from simple daily lifestyle changes to more comprehensive programs that reverse severe symptoms of cardiovascular disease. Overall, prevention and promotion of a healthier cardiovascular system is the goal. A longer healthier higher quality life is the result.