Heart Attack (Hridaya Roga)
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Introduction

 

Today, myocardial infarction, or heart attack as it is commonly called, is a leading cause for deaths all around the world. Everybody knows at least somebody who is suffering from a major heart ailment and is at potential risk of getting a heart attack. The importance of getting armed against heart attacks by getting properly educated about it can never be stressed enough.

   

Definition of Heart Attack (Hridaya Roga)

 

In simple terms, myocardial infarction or heart attack is a situation when the blood supply to the heart is interrupted, due to which there is serious malfunctioning of the heart. The heart attack is felt initially as a sharp pain in the chest cavity, and it may lead to the death of the heart muscle and even the person in a few moments. Heart attacks are classified as a medical emergency all over the world.

The medical term of heart attack, i.e. myocardial infarction, is derived from two separate terms. Myocardium is the biological name for the heart muscle. Infarction means death of a tissue due to depletion of oxygen supply. Hence myocardial infarction means stoppage of the heart muscle due to interruption in the oxygen supply.

The Ayurvedic term for myocardial infarction is hridaya roga, where hridaya means ‘heart’ and roga means ‘disease’. Heart attack is the most leading and most serious heart ailment in all living organisms.

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Types of Heart Attack (Hridaya Roga)

The heart is a muscular organ made of four chambers – two upper chambers known as the auricles or atria and two lower chambers known as ventricles. These four chambers are divided by muscular walls. Heart attacks are classified depending on which heart wall they attack. The following is a list of different zones of heart attacks and the arteries that are primarily the cause:-

Zone of Heart Attack

Affected Artery

Anterior wall of the heart

Left coronary artery

Left anterior descending artery

Antero-lateral wall of the heart

Left anterior descending artery and its diagonal, circumflex and marginal branches

Antero-septal wall of the heart

Left anterior descending artery

Inferior wall of the heart

Right coronary artery

Lateral wall of the heart

Left coronary artery

Circumflex artery

Posterior wall of the heart

Right coronary artery

Circumflex artery

Right ventricular wall of the heart

Right coronary artery

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Causes of Heart Attack (Hridaya Roga)

The cause of a heart attack is the blockage of a coronary artery. The following are the leading causes of effectuating this blockage:-

(i) Atherosclerosis – Atherosclerosis is the leading cause of heart attacks. It is the medical term for the hardening of the arteries providing the blood supply to the heart. When a person has a diet that is rich in harmful cholesterol, i.e. LDL, then it could lead to deposits of this cholesterol within the inner lumen of the arteries. As a result there is narrowing of the heart arteries which can precipitate a violent malfunctioning of the heart.

(ii) Low oxygen supply to the heart – This goes hand in hand with atherosclerosis. When the heart gets an inadequate blood supply, the oxygen supply to the heart is also obstructed. In the absence of oxygen, the heart does not get enough energy to perform its pumping action. Hence a heart attack is caused.

(iii) Wrong diet – A diet that is rich in harmful cholesterol (LDL) and deficient in good cholesterol (HDL) can cause atherosclerosis. This cholesterol accumulation in the arteries does not take place overnight; it is a very gradual process and the buildup takes place over decades. Continuous dietary patterns lead to atherosclerosis and hence heart attacks later on in life.

(iv) Weak heart – The human heart is a machine that relentlessly pumps 2000 gallons of blood through the body in a single day. Obviously there is going to wear and tear of the heart muscle over time. The most major of these ailments is angina pectoris, which makes its appearance in late middle age. People with such weakened hearts are very susceptible to heart attacks.

(iv) Sedentary lifestyle – A reclusive lifestyle is often a precipitating factor for getting heart attacks. The medical reason for this cause is not studied well enough, but it known that people who live alone (like in the urban areas) are more vulnerable to heart attacks.

(v) Emotional stresses and tensions – When people have mental worries, there is increased circulation of blood in the brain. The heart has to perform additional effort in order to circulate more blood in the brain. As a result the heart becomes weak and susceptible to a heart attack in the near future.

People who are at Risk of Heart Attack (Hridaya Roga)

There are very specific patterns observed among people who suffer from myocardial infarctions in their lifetimes. The following types of people are at much higher risk at getting heart attacks than others:-

People who live on a LDL cholesterol rich diet

People who live alone, especially elderly people

People who have diabetes and hypertension

People who are excessively overweight (obese)

People who do not indulge in physical activity

People who take undue stress and get easily emotionally excited

People who are addicted to smoking

People who have a family history of heart problems

People who are suffering from angina pectoris

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Symptoms of Heart Attack (Hridaya Roga)

Though there are different types of heart attack regions in the chest, the symptoms of heart attack that are commonly observed are more or less the same. The following are some of the symptoms of heart attack that are observed normally in people suffering from a heart attack:-

Pain in the chest, which is felt like a pressing, squeezing, throbbing or a burning sensation

Pain that radiates to the back, neck, jaws, chest and abdominal regions

Inability of breathing; breathing in short gasps

Congestion in the chest, i.e. a feeling of suffocation

Stifling feeling in the throat

Giddiness and lightheadedness; inability to keep standing

A feeling of unnecessary panic

Excessive perspiration

Loss of urinary control

Nausea and vomiting

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Complications due to Heart Attack (Hridaya Roga)

Heart attack is the most serious of all human ailments. It is often the final stage of heart complaints, and results into death.

Most people get mild heart attacks in the initial stages. This is when immediate medical attention should be obtained. The initial medicine would be in the form of oxygen suppliers and pain killers. As the treatment advances, the doctor would diagnose the actual cause of the infarction and provide remedies for the same. In extreme cases, heart bypass operations might be performed.

However, if the initial mild heart attacks are ignored, then the subsequent attacks are usually fatal. Most people who suffer heart attacks do not live beyond their third attack.

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Transmission of Heart Attack (Hridaya Roga)

Heart attack is a metabolic disorder. It is non communicable and cannot be passed on from one person to another. Thus, a person with a history of heart attack can be safely given all the care that is needed in order to help him or her combat the problem.

Genetic traits have been observed among people suffering from heart attacks. Therefore, if you have a family history of heart attacks, then you must take due precautions right from an early age.

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Prevention of Heart Attack (Hridaya Roga)

The following steps must be followed in order to minimize the chances of a heart disease:-

Eat a well-balanced nutritive food. For more elaborate dietary guidelines, refer to the next section.

Lead an active life with work and exercise. However, do not overexert yourself if you have a weak bodily constitution.

If you have a family history of either diabetes or hypertension, then you would need to seek medical advice about heart problems also.

Do not infest your mind with negative thoughts. Think positively and bear a cheerful attitude towards life.

Do not fall prey to vices such as smoking and excessive alcoholism.

Seek remedial measures to lose weight in case you are overweight.

You might even shift to a quieter area of residence, especially one that abounds in greenery. Avoid living in busy and polluted urban areas.

Never be alone. Always keep some company of people around you. Many heart attacks have been protected from becoming fatal by employing timely first aid methods, such as the ABC (Airway-Breathing-Circulation) method of resuscitation. Instruct your family members to get trained in such resuscitation methods.

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Diet for Preventing Heart Attack (Hridaya Roga)

Diet has a very important role in both, precipitating and preventing heart attacks. The wrong kind of diet can hasten a heart attack, while the right kind of diet can keep it away. The following is a list of foods to avoid and foods to consume if you are prone to heart attacks:-

Foods to avoid

Foods which are high in harmful cholesterol (LDL) such as animal meats

Egg yolks

Red meats such as mutton, pork and beef

Sea foods such as prawns and crabs

Dairy products such as butter, cheese, condensed milk, milk cream, etc

Saturated fats, including coconut and palm oils

Trans fatty acids such as hydrogenated oils

Salt and salty foods like French fries, crispies, poppadums, pickles, etc

Sugar and sugary foods like cakes, pastries, chocolates, ice-creams, etc

Tea, coffee, colas and alcohol

Canned vegetables

Canned fruit syrups

Foods to consume

Carbohydrate foods such as wheat, rice, maize, jowar

Whole and sprouted pulses

Green leafy vegetables

Fresh fruits (must be taken in excess but without sugar)

Low fat milk

Fermented milk products such as buttermilk

Egg whites

White meats such as poultry and fish

Vegetable oils

In addition, it must be remembered that a person with a heart problem must never have a full meal, as this exertion on the digestive system can accelerate the chances of a heart attack. Smoking and alcoholism must be avoided, though alcohol in small amounts is known to be beneficial in heart ailments.

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Ayurvedic Treatment for Heart Attack (Hridaya Roga)

Several herbs have been used by Ayurvedic doctors since age-old times to reduce heart attacks among people. The following is just a tiny list of some of the most effective herbs:-

Ayurvedic Name of the Herb

Biological Name of the Herb

Common English Name of the Herb

Action on the Human Body

Guggul

Commiphora mukul

Guggul

Recently guggul has earned much merit as a cure for heart attack patients. Guggul contains guggulsterone which has been proved to keep atherosclerosis under check.

Haldi

Curcuma longa

Turmeric

Due to the presence of curcumin in it, turmeric is an efficient agent in reducing the level of serum cholesterol in humans.

Lahsoona

Allium sativa

Garlic

Garlic is known to be one of the most potent herbs in the treatment of heart attacks. Eating a few cloves of garlic a day helps to thin the blood and thus improve circulation. Garlic is already an essential component of the traditional Indian cuisine.

Pyaaza

Allium cepa

Onion

A huge body of research has been done in modern times to probe into the curative properties of the onion in heart attacks. The results have been overwhelmingly successful. Onion helps as a stimulant to improve the circulatory process and thus keeps heart attacks at bay.

Though there are several Ayurvedic remedies to keep heart attacks away, it is very necessary to mention as a final word of caution that heart attacks are a medical emergency. Any pain in the heart should not be neglected, and self-medication must be done only under the supervision of an expert.

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i m satisfied
#1 - dr shailendra baranwal - 09/13/2009 - 01:07
Above information regarding to heart attack really a good and thanks for a useful information.......
#2 - Sonu - 01/07/2013 - 01:13
Very useful information. Thanks a ton :)
#3 - Sahana - 11/21/2016 - 05:48
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