The heart is an amazing structure, tough yet fragile. A muscle, its network of arteries and veins transport blood through your body, nourishing organs and tissues. When the heart is working as it should, you barely notice it. But when your heart starts acting strangely, you have cause to worry. Thankfully, you live in a day when heart disease can be treated very successfully, and in some cases, the condition can even be reversed. Several home remedies can assist in keeping your heart healthy.

Heart Trouble

Heart disease is any condition that keeps your heart from functioning at its best or causes a deterioration of the heart's arteries and vessels. Coronary heart disease (CHD), also known as coronary artery disease, is the most common form of heart disease, affecting 12.6 million people in America. If you are diagnosed with CHD, it means you have atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries on the heart's surface. Arteries become hard when plaque accumulates on artery walls. This plaque develops gradually as an overabundance of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the bad stuff) makes itself at home in your arteries. The plaque builds and narrows the artery walls, making it more and more difficult for blood to pass through the heart and increasing the opportunity for a blood clot to form. If the heart doesn't get enough blood, it can cause chest pain (angina) or a heart attack.

 

Not treating coronary heart disease can also lead to congestive heart failure (CHF). CHF happens when your heart isn't strong enough to pump blood throughout the body -- it fails to meet the body's need for oxygen. This often causes congestion in the lungs and a variety of other problems for your heart and the rest of your body.

Honing In on Heart Disease

There are many risk factors for heart disease, some you can do something about, and some you can't. A family history of heart disease puts you at much greater risk for developing it yourself. While you can't do anything about your genes, there are a number of risk factors that you can control. These are the ones you can do something about:

  • High levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the bad stuff), and low levels of high-density lipoprotein (the good stuff).
  • High levels of triglycerides. Triglyceride levels increase when you eat too many fatty foods or when you eat too much -- excess calories are made into triglycerides and stored as fat in cells. Having an abundance of triglycerides has been linked to coronary heart disease.
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Lack of regular exercise
  • A high fat diet
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Diabetes
  • Ongoing stress or depression

How to Know If You Have Heart Disease

About 25 to 30 percent of people who have heart disease don't even know it until something serious happens. That's why it's a good idea to see your doctor for a regular checkup and to have your cholesterol and triglyceride levels and your blood pressure checked and monitored. If you have any of these symptoms, schedule a checkup as soon as you can.

  • Chest pain (angina). If you feel like you have an elephant sitting on your chest after climbing the stairs, your body could be giving you a warning signal.
  • Nausea or stomach upset. This could be more than the guacamole you ate at dinner, especially if you have recurrent bouts of tummy trouble.
  • Sweating. Even when you haven't been exercising.
  • Feeling weak or tired.

Heart disease is a serious medical condition, and requires medical attention. Even so, there are natural home remedies that will improve your health in conjunction with proper medical care. Go to the next page to read about foods that make a difference for patients with heart disease.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.