Conditions Treated with EECP
Angina is chest pain caused by reduced flow to the heart. Angina also causes shortness of breath and can cause arm pain, pressure or fatigue. Stable angina occurs during exercise when the heart requires more blood. Unstable angina can occur even at rest, is more severe and can be difficult to differentiate from a heart attack. Prinzmetal’s angina can also happen at rest, but is caused by a spasm of the artery that feeds that heart.
EECP is proven to treat angina by promoting blood flow through collateral arteries to oxygen delivery to the heart. EECP can reduce symptoms of angina, increase exercise tolerance, decrease the need for angina medication and help to prevent a heart attack. Clinic Naturopathic Doctors may recommend concurrent naturopathic therapies to enhance and maximize the results of EECP therapy.
Over 80% of all strokes are ischemic strokes. Ischemic stroke involves a lack of blood flow to the area of the brain. This occurs due to narrowed or blocked vessels, most commonly caused by a blood clot. Patients with atherosclerosis or arrhythmia are at increased risk for stroke. EECP can help with improving the blood flow through narrowed vessels and also help to develop new blood vessels, a process called angiogenesis.
EECP therapy can help to increase blood flow to the brain in patients after a stroke, increasing oxygen delivery to brain tissue. Research has shown EECP significantly improves the clinical outcome in stroke patients and improves blood flow in the carotid artery. Clinic Naturopathic Doctors may recommend concurrent naturopathic therapies to enhance and maximize the results of EECP therapy.
High blood pressure
Hypertension, or high blood pressure is a common condition. Although blood pressure may not have symptoms it can lead to a number of more serious cardiovascular conditions such as heart attacks or stroke. Blood pressure measurement involves two numbers. The top number is called the systolic blood pressure, and represents the pressure in the vessels when the heart is pumping. The bottom number is the diastolic blood pressure and represents the pressure when the heart is relaxed. Risks for blood pressure include age, smoking, stress, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Campbell (2008) showed that EECP improved systolic blood pressure. EECP can improve endothelial function and blood vessel elasticity, which can naturally lower blood pressure. Clinic Naturopathic Doctors may recommend concurrent naturopathic therapies to enhance and maximize the results of EECP therapy.
Diabetes is an insulin disorder that results in elevated blood sugar. Diabetes can either be caused by a pancreas that produces little/no insulin, or cells that are resistant to insulin. When insulin is not able to get sugar into the cells, it stays in the blood stream and increases blood sugar levels. Overtime, elevated blood sugar damages blood vessels and can lead to cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, wounds and blindness.
EECP is beneficial for patients with diabetes, not only because it improves circulation but also improves glucose control. 35 one-hour sessions of EECP lowered fasting glucose on oral glucose tolerance tests in patients with diabetes (Sardina, 2015). It also helps to decrease inflammation, oxidative stress and advanced glycation end products in diabetic patients (Sardina, 2016). Clinic Naturopathic Doctors may recommend concurrent naturopathic therapies to enhance and maximize the results of EECP therapy.
Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure is when the heart becomes too weak to effectively pump blood through the body. Causes of heart failure can be valve problems, cardiomyopathy, narrowing of the arteries or years of high blood pressure. Acute heart failure can also develop from infection, or clots. Congestive heart failure can cause shortness of breath, fatigue, edema in the legs, water retention, chest pain and unexplained cough.
When the heart muscle weakens, blood can’t adequately profuse tissues that require oxygenation to stay healthy. EECP is an effective treatment for helping the body to return blood to the heart via compression of the lower limbs. EECP can help to strengthen the heart, and improve quality of life in patients with congestive heart failure. A 1999 study by Soran et al showed an increased systolic and decreased diastolic blood pressure, and a decreased afterload on the heart. The patients in the study had an increased exercise tolerance of 34% after a series of EECP treatments. Clinic Naturopathic Doctors may recommend concurrent naturopathic therapies to enhance and maximize the results of EECP therapy.
Peripheral Artery Disease
Peripheral Artery Disease, also known as peripheral vascular disease is a condition that results in decreased blood flow to the limbs, most often the legs. The narrowing of the arteries is due to the buildup and hardening of plaque, called atherosclerosis, reducing the space for blood to flow through. This can lead to pain and swelling. The pain will typically get worse during exercise that requires leg muscles. Patients with peripheral artery disease will also result in cold feet, and weak feet pulses.
EECP promotes blood flow in the lower limbs, and can help to increase the volume of blood delivered to the legs. Werner in 2007 showed that EECP improved blood velocity 4-fold in the legs via shear stress on the endothelial tissue in the vessels. Shear stress can also promote the growth of new blood vessels. Due to the diminished blood flow capacity in peripheral artery disease, patients with peripheral artery disease typically require more EECP treatments to achieve desired results. Clinic Naturopathic Doctors may recommend concurrent naturopathic therapies to enhance and maximize the results of EECP therapy.
Anti-Aging and Quality of Life
Effective blood flow is necessary for staying healthy and having a good quality of life. Blood provides oxygen to tissues and helps to remove toxins. Impaired blood flow increases the risk of many chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and diabetes. Blood flow also affects a persons energy levels, and the immune system.
EECP can increase the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to all organs in the body. EECP especially can be useful in patients who have a decreased ability to exercise on a regular basis. Clinic Naturopathic Doctors may recommend concurrent naturopathic therapies to enhance and maximize the results of EECP therapy.
Erectile dysfunction rates are higher in men with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and incidence increases with age. One of the primary physical causes of erectile dysfunction is lack of blood flow to the penis, typically from atherosclerosis. Many patients with heart disease are unable to take medications for erectile dysfunction due to interactions with common cardiac medications.
EECP helps to treat the underlying cause of erectile dysfunction by improving blood flow, and also addressed the systemic effects of peripheral artery disease. Froschermaier studied the effects of EECP on men with erectile dysfunction as early as 1998 and showed that the therapy increased blood flow as measured by Doppler ultrasound. Lawson (2007) also studied the effect of EECP on erectile dysfunction in men with angina, and proved a significant improvement in erectile function after 35 EECP treatments. Clinic Naturopathic Doctors may recommend concurrent naturopathic therapies to enhance and maximize the results of EECP therapy.