Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. Heart disease leads to significant problems like heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure. While conventional cardiology plays an essential role in treating heart attacks and heart failure, it often falls short in recommending the lifestyle changes necessary to treat the underlying illness.
Integrative medicine combines both holistic treatments and conventional options so that you’re getting a fuller approach to treatment. The more well-rounded approach examines all of your body’s systems and views them as connected. It’s particularly useful in addressing the underlying illnesses that cause heart disease.
In this article, Dr. Anita Petruzzelli of BodyLogicMD, located in Glastonbury, Connecticut, explains more about how integrative medicine can help five common heart conditions.
High blood pressure
High blood pressure is often an early warning sign of heart disease. Did you know that lifestyle changes can help lower blood pressure?
Exercise, a change in diet, quitting smoking, and stress reduction are just some interventions proven to lower high blood pressure. Exercising 30 minutes five times a week lowers your blood pressure by 5-8 mm Hg.
Having high blood cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease. But the condition is also reversible with dietary changes, quitting smoking, and regular exercise. Dr. Petruzzelli can help you explore how to change your diet specifically for helping to lower cholesterol.
Foods that can lower cholesterol include those high in soluble fiber, such as oatmeal, apples, and beans. You’ll also want to avoid processed baked goods and other processed food, as many of these are high in trans fats, which is linked to high cholesterol.
You may struggle with your weight. You aren’t alone; the majority of Americans do. You may not think a few extra pounds is a big deal, but it actually increases your risk of heart disease.
Losing some weight might seem like a daunting task. But the truth is, even losing a little bit of weight has positive benefits for lowering your risk of heart disease. If you are significantly overweight, losing 10% of your body weight can improve your heart health.
Coronary artery disease
Coronary artery disease develops over many years. It is caused by damage to the lining of your blood vessels. The damage can be due to smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or not being active enough.
Dr. Petruzzelli can help you change the lifestyle factors that lead to coronary artery disease before it gets worse. In addition to getting more exercise, improving your diet, and quitting smoking, she also recommends reducing stress. Chronic stress has an oxidative effect on your body, making disease states such as heart disease worse.
Integrative medicine helps balance the “fight or flight” mode that most of us live with (often unconsciously) with a “rest and digest” mode. That includes activities such as yoga and meditation, as well as reviewing environmental factors.
If you’ve been told that you have heart failure, you’re understandably anxious. And while you shouldn’t stop seeing a cardiologist if you have heart failure, you can benefit from seeing an integrative medicine specialist, too. The above treatments can still help you even if you’re already living with heart failure.
Integrative medicine seeks to bring more balance into your life and evaluates your entire body and mind as a holistic system. If you would like to learn more about how integrative medicine can help you with your heart disease concerns, contact Dr. Anita Petruzzelli at BodyLogicMD or request an appointment online.