A Naturopath’s perspective of Heart Failure
Heart failure is a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the metabolic requirements of the body.
According to Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, many of the symptoms associated with heart failure are caused by the dysfunction of organs other than the heart, especially the arteries, lungs, kidneys and liver. These in turn cause heart disease which can also arise from:-
- Faulty heart valves,
- a diseased pacemaker,
- heart muscle debility
- plaque building up in your arteries
- atheroma in artery walls.
You can see that there are many forms of heart disease that mostly result in the weak pumping action of your heart leading to problems of fluid accumulation, leading to breathing difficulty, fluid in the lungs or in the trunk and limbs.
We can help treat underlying causes of hypertension** by correctly utilising all that complementary medicine has to offer. These methods are aimed at reducing calcification***, infection*,**,*** inflammation**,***, and fibrosis-***, utilising dietary balancing, “targeted” nutrition**, herbal medicine**, homoeopathy (including electronic homoeopathy***) and health coaching.
Bacteria – mainly Streptococcus but also perhaps Staphylococcus and the Glandular Fever virus (Epstein Barr and relatives and synonyms)– can find a home in key areas of blood circulation, such as heart valves and become a permanent resident in your system. The long term presence of bacteria , living in little cystic homes, causes irritation to tissue – from minor ongoing irritation to steadily advancing inflammation** – proportionate to the severity or chronicity (how long it’s been there) of the infection***,****. Such areas of infection are also subject to calcification problems and/or “strep throat” – usually arising in childhood or adolescent years and gradually establishing in the above areas over time. *
These underlying are well treated by our normal naturopathic “detoxification” techniques, herbal and nutritional medicine and homoeopathy, while well-developed medical prescription medicine has excellent results in moderating the symptoms.
Faulty Heart valves
It is my conclusion from clinical practice (using iridology) that heart “issues” are more the rule rather than the exception and probably originate in people with a history of either chronic bacterial throat infections or adolescent calcium deficit or both. *
Virius & bacterial infection and calcification could all possibly contribute to an overly excitable “pacemaker” (Atrio/Ventricular Node).
Arteries are subject to imbalance of LDL (low density lipoprotein) to HDL (high density lipoprotein) fractions of cholesterol, derived from the body’s own manufacturing processes and the diet. This slowly causes a swelling of the artery wall and brittleness. Much research indicates that oxidised fats and cholesterol are the primary cause of this and NOT normal, unprocessed dietary fats and cholesterol. Calcium plaque can also accumulate, causing further problems.
Continual low intake of calcium can eventually cause the artery muscle to weaken and become slack, or hypotonic (low blood pressure). * Meantime, resorption of calcium from bones at such times can paradoxically cause brittleness of the artery wall from calcification in the long run, flipping the person’s long-standing state from low pressure to – after many years – episodes of high pressure. *
Kidneys, Liver and lungs.
Kidney malfunction can cause blood pressure to rise. Kidneys can suffer from calcification as well as Streptococcus and other bacterial infection. A common time for this infection to manifest is when your immune system is at a low ebb and allows nasty bugs to establish in the kidneys – as for heart valves.
Liver malfunction can cause blood congestion and a rise in pressure. Many things can cause liver damage – drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, parasites, bacterial and fungal toxins, incompetent gut wall lining (“leaky gut”), food allergy and nasty viruses , such as those causing Hepatitis and Glandular fever.
Difficulty in breathing causes a build-up of pressure in your chest. This causes poor clearance of blood from the heart, putting added pressure on it. Lung issues arise from calcification, infection, inflammation and lost elasticity and permeability caused by free radicle attack from atmospheric pollutants and smoking.
Complementary Medicinal Solutions:
Right from the outset, let me state that if your blood pressure is exceedingly high, if you have chest pain that lasts longer than 20 minutes or occurs while resting or have a hint of any other medical emergency, then see your GP pronto.
Complementary medicine has value, however, in treating issues that are not ”cured” but only “managed” by pharmaceutical medication.
So, taking the above issues one by one, let’s see what we can do to help.
Helping stimulate the immune system and treating with kidney tonics are a good option. Many herbs are available for this purpose, whose properties include:
Anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, immune stimulating, demulcent, anti-spasmodic and specifically acting demulcents for the kidney-duct epithelium.
Just as importantly, nutritional medicine is outstanding in chipping in – with its ability to reduce inflammation, stimulate immune response, reduce circulating toxins, reduce food allergy and help in tissue repair.
Many medicinal herbs are available to assist various lung conditions, ranging in activity from anti-inflammatory, demulcent, expectorant, anti-microbial and specifically tonic.
Nutritional medicine would offer support for the natural anti-inflammatory process, help reduce calcification, improve immune response, assist oxygen exchange, and improve expectoration and morale of the client.
Herbs are again prominent in their outstanding ability to help improve liver function by improving bile flow, clearing liver toxins, helping stimulate liver regeneration and detoxification ability and so eliminating toxic materials, which can cause damage. Herbs also provide anti-oxidant support and help restore hepatic circulation.
Nutritional medicine also helps in this area by reducing toxins from allergenic food, gut dysbiosis (usually caused by Candida albicans plus other fungi and also many pathogenic micro-organisms and parasites). Nutrition can also greatly assist in the natural regeneration of damaged liver tissue, liver circulation and bile flow. Nutrition can also enhance the clearance of liver toxins.
Nutritional medicine can help reduce calcium plaque, restore muscle tone and also improve the ratio of HDL to LDL, thus helping lower intra-arterial cholesterol deposits. Specifically, there is huge potential in eliminating artery-wall damage from oxidised fats and cholesterol, with the judicious use of antioxidants. We can reduce damaging blood levels of the high-risk biomarker of cardiac events – the rogue amino acid, homocysteine – and eliminate any deficiency of micronutrients involved in fat and cholesterol metabolism. We can also correct the overall balance of protein, fat, carbohydrate and soluble fibre, using nutritional medicine.
Herbal medicine can also help with cholesterol plaque and also reduce moderately raised blood pressure.
Nutritional medicine can help improve the strength of contraction of heart muscle, reduce tachycardia (fluttering), and also help balance out its contraction-relaxation pattern.
Herbs can help improve oxygenation of heart tissue and help restore rhythm.
The early stages of heart disease respond very well to complementary medicine. Good co-operation between medical doctor and naturopath is greatly in the patient’s best interest.
Frank heart disease is a medical emergency and a pharmacist or naturopath who recognises the symptoms would be duty-bound to refer you straight to the doctor. In the case of a naturopath referral, a report back from your doctor is required for ethical reasons – and insurance purposes.
Naturopaths take their role very seriously and are an excellent medium for helping to achieve wellness outcomes in most chronic diseases.
*Author’s hypothesis, based on Prof. C.W Buckley’s Septic Foci theory, Uni Sydney, 1928.
**Dr Mark Houston, Cardiovascular specialist physician, Metagenics International Congress, Albert Park, June 2015.
***Dr Carolyn McMakin, Frequency Specific Microcurrent seminars: Fibromyalgia (2016), Detoxification (2017), Turning on the Power To Heal (U Tube 2018)