Heart Attack treatment, diet, food, natural supplements and herbs, natural and alternative therapy and prevention
May 1 2014 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

 

Other names for Heart Attack : Coronary Attack, Coronary Occlusion, Coronary Thrombosis, Myocardial Infarction
 

A heart attack (also called myocardial infarction) is when part of the heart muscle is damaged or dies because it isn't receiving oxygen. Oxygen is carried to the heart by the coronary arteries (blood vessels). Most heart attacks are caused by a blockage in these arteries. Usually the blockage is caused by atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of fatty deposits (called plaque) inside the artery. Women with heart attack symptoms take far longer to get to the hospital than men do. Men, meanwhile, are more likely than women to make the dangerous choice of driving themselves to the emergency room. All adults -- but especially women -- need to be educated on the proper response to heart attack symptoms. Medical conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes are potent risk factors for heart attack. Those who have impotence should have a medical evaluation to determine if they have any signs of heart disease.

 

Natural therapy for heart attack prevention
Before you start any supplement program for heart disease prevention or treatment, please make sure you discuss it with your doctor and you have full approval and regular supervision.

Heart attack survivors who get the recommended amount of fiber in their diets live longer, April 29, 2014, BMJ, online.

Vitamin E works better with CoQ10 to reduce inflammation in heart disease. Limit Vitamin E to maximum 200 units a few times a week.
B Complex in order to reduce levels of homocysteine. Limit B complex use to one to three times the RDA. There is yet no proof that lowering homocysteine with B vitamins reduces heart attack rate.
Fish oils or eating cold water fish reduces the risk for heart rhythm disturbances and may reduce the risk of heart palpitations, atrial fibrillation and ventricular arrhythmia. Fish oils reduce the incidence of sudden cardiac death probably due to their anti-arrhythmic effect. Those who have had a heart attack should seriously consider eating more cold water fish or taking fish oil supplements in order to reduce the risk for heart rhythm disturbances. Unfortunately, most hospitals do not serve fish to patients in the days after recovery from a heart attack and few cardiologists make such recommendations.

Garlic is a potent vasodilator and I suggest those with a prior history or those prone to cardiovascular diseases to consume it regularly in a fresh form.
Curcumin protects rat myocardium against ischemic insult and the protective effect could be attributed to its antioxidant properties. Curcumin is derived from turmeric.
Ginkgo biloba in very low doses.
     Mol Med Rep. 2014 Feb 18. rotective effects of Gingko biloba extract 761 on myocardial infarction via improving the viability of implanted mesenchymal stem cells in the rat heart.
Overweight people lose virtually no weight after suffering a heart attack even though weight loss can reduce the risk for a second heart attack. Diet Rx in low dosages could help with weight loss and should be worth a try. Ask your doctor if Diet Rx is appropriate for you. By eating less and losing weight, there is a reduction in blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels.
People who visit the dentist regularly to have their teeth cleaned lower their risk for heart attack or stroke.
Chromium and heart attack, low body levels of chromium, a mineral involved in carbohydrate and fat metabolism, are associated with an increased risk.

Folic acid - there is enough research that shows folic acid lowers levels of the amino acid homocysteine and reduces the odds of cardiovascular disease. "The evidence is very persuasive that lowering homocysteine with folic acid will lower your risk of heart attack and stroke by about 10-20 percent," said David Wald, of the Wolfson Institute for Preventive Medicine, Barts and The London, Queen Mary School of Medicine and Dentistry in London.

 

Post heart attack treatment
In the United States, heart attack victims are routinely offered expensive and invasive treatments, like statin pills to lower cholesterol or implantable defibrillators. However, in Italy, doctors don't jump on the drug bandwagon that quickly. Every patient in the cardiac care unit at the San Filippo Neri Hospital who survives a heart attack goes home with a prescription for purified fish oil. “It is clearly recommended in international guidelines,” says Dr. Massimo Santini, the hospital’s chief of cardiology, who added that it would be considered tantamount to malpractice in Italy to omit fish oils. In a large number of studies, fish oil has been shown to improve survival and to reduce fatal heart rhythms. The American College of Cardiology has strengthened its position on the medical benefit of fish oil.
   Combining omega-3 fatty acids with blood-thinning drugs may reduce the risk of heart attacks in patients who've had stents placed in their coronary arteries.
   Exercise helps people recover after a heart attack but the benefits vanish when the workouts stop.

 

Excessive radiation exposure
The battery of tests given to a patient having a heart attack in a U.S. hospital adds up to a dose of radiation equivalent to 725 chest X-rays. One problem is that each procedure is viewed separately, and a patient's total cumulative dose is not usually considered by doctors ordering the test. On average, a patient admitted to an academic hospital with a heart attack had a cumulative effective radiation dose of 14 millisieverts -- about a third the annual maximum accumulation permitted for workers in nuclear power plants. The average American can expect to receive about 3 millisieverts a year from ground radon or flying in an airplane. Dr. Prashant Kaul of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, who led the study, says  "We should not withhold necessary, appropriate tests that involve ionizing radiation. They provide very important information, but we need to be sure they are being done appropriately." Dr. Prashant Kaul analyzed data from 64,074 patients treated for acute heart attacks between 2006 and July 2009 at 49 academic hospitals. A patient was given an average of seven tests using ionizing radiation -- the type that can pass through tissues but that also can damage DNA and cells. Most, or 83 percent of all patients, received chest X-rays. Some 77 percent had catheter procedures such as an angiogram, 15 percent had computed tomography or CT scans and 12 percent had a head CT. A report in 2009 from the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement found Americans are exposed to seven times more radiation from diagnostic scans than in 1980. Imaging equipment makers such as GE Healthcare, Siemens, Philips and Toshiba Medical Systems are working to develop low-dose CT scanners.

 

Cause of Heart Attack
Smoking, high blood pressure, heart disease, certain medicines and drugs, stress, poor diet, nutrient deficiency, are some of the chronic conditions that increase the rate of heart attack. Doctors have long measured fat in the gut to help assess the risk of cardiovascular disease. But fat in the neck is closely associated with the known factors for heart trouble, such as cholesterol levels and diabetes. Heart attack survivors who kick the habit live longer than those who keep puffing away. Secondary smoke is known to increase the risk.
   A rapid drop in air pressure may trigger some heart attacks. The incidence of heart attack, but not stroke, is increased in the 24 hours after a rapid fall in barometric pressure.
   Cold temperature is to blame for the well-known winter peak in the incidence of sudden death due to heart attack. The fact that cold temperatures increase blood pressure and put more strain on the heart is a possible explanation for the increased rate of sudden cardiac death during wintertime. Cold stress may also trigger processes that make blood thicker and increase its ability to clot, which can lead to cardiac events. Extreme temperatures raise heart attack risk. High humidity, even in a relatively mild climate, boosts the risk of a heart attack among the elderly.
   Fatal heart attacks may be more likely among people who spend decades living in heavily polluted areas. Exposure to high levels of traffic-related air pollution appears to temporarily boost the risk. Inhaling diesel exhaust fumes causes changes in the body that make people more prone to heart attack or stroke.
   Influenza and other serious respiratory infections significantly increase the risk of heart attack, particularly during the period of infection and the week after.
   Cold air temperature increases inflammation in the body, which may help explain why cardiovascular-related deaths such as heart attacks increase in the winter months. Exposure to cold weather leads to increased blood levels of markers of inflammation (C-reactive protein, or CRP, fibrinogen, and interleukin-6). Also, the risk of suffering from either potentially fatal heart attack doubles in the week following a respiratory infection but recedes thereafter.
   Diets heavy in fried foods, salty snacks and meat account for about 35 percent of heart attacks globally.
   Survivors of major earthquakes may not be safely out of the woods. The emotional stress from an earthquake and the mayhem that follows may boost the rate of fatal heart attacks long after the disaster. Heart, 2009.
   Men who drink sugar-sweetened beverages, including sodas and non-carbonated fruit drinks, have a higher risk.
   Living or working in noisy surroundings may raise a person's risk. Researchers in Germany found that urban middle-aged adults who lived near high-traffic roads were 40 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack than those who lived in more peaceful neighborhoods.
   Exposure to pollution may also be a contributing factor.
   There is a higher risk after knee or hip joint replacement surgery.

   People who have rheumatoid arthritis are more prone.
   Sudden cardiac deaths in sports are much more common among men than among women. Aug. 14, 2013, Journal of the American Medical Association.
   Testosterone therapy widely advertised as a way to help men improve a low sex drive and reclaim diminished energy raises the risk.
   Bursts of strenuous emergency work, such as firefighters, can trigger fatal heart problems. American Academy of Neurology annual meeting, April 26-May 3, 2014, Philadelphia.
   Angry outbursts may raise your odds for an MI or stroke in the hours after the incident. European Heart Journal, news release, March 3, 2014

 

Common triggers
Because so many people are exposed to dirty air, air pollution while stuck in traffic tops the list of potential heart attack triggers at 7percent, coffee is also linked to 5% of attacks, booze to another 5%, and pot smoking to just under 1%. Among everyday activities, exerting yourself physically is linked to 6%, indulging in a heavy meal is estimated to trigger 3%, and sex is linked to 2%.

 

Stress, anxiety
Those with anxiety disorders have a higher risk.

 

Oral hygiene as heart attack cause
People with the most bacteria in their mouths are the most likely to have heart attacks. Oelisoa Andriankaja at the University at Buffalo in New York tested 386 men and women who had suffered heart attacks and 840 people free of heart trouble. Tannerella forsynthesis and Prevotella intermedia were more common bacteria among heart attack patients. People who had the most bacteria of all types in their mouths were the most likely to have had them. The total bacterial pathogenic number is more important than the type of bacteria," according to Oelisoa Andriankaja. Bacteria may set off general inflammation that in turn causes blood to clot.

 

Pain Medicines and Heart Attack
High doses of some older, commonly used painkillers, as well as newer drugs known as COX-2 inhibitors, raise the risk of a heart attack risk of dying of a heart attack, stroke or other heart-related problem. COX-2 inhibitors and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), particularly ibuprofen and diclofenac, increase the risk of heart attacks.
     The findings of a study of more than 9,000 patients, which is reported in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), suggest that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, increase the danger of heart attack. In April 2005 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended stronger warnings on NSAIDs, including the newer generation of anti-inflammatories -- COX-2 inhibitors. The link between COX-2 inhibitors and increased risk of heart attack is now well established. COX-2 inhibitors increase the risk of heart attack by raising blood pressure and making the blood more likely to clot. They do so by the same mechanisms that they use to reduce pain and inflammation
     With prescription drugs Vioxx and Bextra already pulled from the market, a study has raised disturbing questions about the heart safety of long-term use of over-the-counter pain relievers such as Advil, Motrin and Aleve. Smokers in Norway who took such drugs for at least six months had a higher rate of heart problems.

Alcohol and Heart Attack
A few drinks of alcohol per week impairs the ability of platelets -- elements in the blood involved in clotting -- to turn on and clump together to form a clot. Moderate alcohol use has been linked to a decreased risk of heart attack.

 

Pregnancy and Heart Attack
The risk of heart attack in women of reproductive age is low, and the risk increases three to four times in pregnant women compared with women who are not pregnant. Overall, 6 of every 100,000 pregnant women will have a heart attack. The heart attack risk increases with age, with pregnant women over 40 years old 30-times more likely to have a heart attack than pregnant women under the age of 20. Pregnancy can now be considered a risk factor for heart attack.


Symptom of Heart Attack
During a heart attack, symptoms last 30 minutes or longer and are not relieved by rest or oral medications (medications taken by mouth). Symptoms of a heart attack include the following:

* Pressure, heaviness, or pain in the chest, arm or below the breastbone
* Pain or discomfort radiating to the back, jaw, throat or arm
* Fullness, indigestion or choking feeling (may feel like heartburn)
* Sweating, weakness, nausea, vomiting or dizziness
* Anxiety or shortness of breath
* Rapid or irregular heartbeats

Some people have a heart attack without having any symptoms (a "silent" myocardial infarction). A silent MI can occur in any person, though it is more common among diabetics.

 

Pollution and Heart Attack
Exposure to diesel exhaust fumes interferes with the normal functioning of the body's blood vessels and provide a potential mechanism that links air pollution to the development of blood clots.

 

Heart Attack natural prevention and treatment questions
Is it okay to take CoQ10, lipoic acid, or curcumin after a heart attack?
   I am not sure, but I suspect a low dose of CoQ10, such as 10 to 30 mg, a few times a week would be safe, and a low dose of curcumin, let's say 500 mg a few times a week would also be okay, but we don't studies to confirm this. As to lipoic acid, 10 to 20 mg a few times a week should also be okay. Most often, after a heart attack, a patient is placed on multiple drugs, so one has to be cautious combining these drugs with supplements.

 

Is there any type on erectile dysfunction medication that is safe for those with previous heart attack? My very overweight b/f (5'8', 200 lbs, 53 yrs young) cannot lose weight and has ED. He has been unable to lose weight. I understand that yohimbe is unsafe for heart attack problems but what about Passion rx without yohimbe?
   Most of the sex herbs have cardiac stimulating potential, and hence are not considered a good choice for those with previous heart attack, including regular Passion Rx without yohimbe. He may wish to ask his doctor if one capsule of Prostate Power Rx a few times a week is an option. It is not as potent as Passion Rx but is not as cardiac stimulating. Also he can ask his doctor whether one or two fish oil capsules a day would be helpful.

 

My wife recently had a mild heart attack. In the angiogram they said she had clean arteries. Her bad cholesterol is low but her good is low as well. They said it was stress related and that her heart had a spasm that restricted blood flow. They put her on Plavix 75 mg. and diltiazem 240 mg as well as niacin. We don't really care for drugs and would really prefer something natural if possible as well as exercise. I should also mention she had taken Alli for weight loss for about 10 months, but not everyday. We recently moved to Leadville Colorado which is at 10150 feet elevation. Would this have an adverse effect on her?
   Although some doctors may disagree, it appears that high altitude may cause more stress on the heart.

 

How can banana helps a patient prevent heart attack?
    I have not seen any major human studies that indicate eating bananas regularly prevents heart attacks.