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                     CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE

The cardiovascular system contains the heart, the arteries, the veins, and the nerve innervation from both the sympathetic and parasympathetic autonomic nervous system. This may seem complicated but actually it is very simple compared to some of the other systems as you will experience.

 The heart itself though simple with just four chambers has a cellular structure unlike any other in the body. Like all muscles it has the ability to contract and like all nerves has the ability to conduct, but it also has the ability to self nerve fire(excitability), and self regulate(automaticity).
This said let us go over the basic workings of the heart. It has two sides, the left which pumps blood to the body, and the right which pumps blood to the lungs. Each side has an upper chamber, the atrium, and a larger lower side, the ventricles. The atrium accepts blood from the lungs(left side) and the body(right side). They let blood pass through to the ventricles and just before the ventricles contract, the atrium contracts adding more blood expanding them even more. This way when they contract they have the maximum blood for a greater force to circulate. The heart recieves blood to its cells in a very interesting way, through the coronary arteries. These arteries recieve blood when the pressure is low and some of the blood is flowing back to the heart by gravity. The left side of the heart pumps blood out through the Aorta, which goes up from the heart and then makes a curve downward. Whatever is left from the top of the aorta back to the heart passively fills the coronary arteries during relaxation of the heart. There are electrical nodes placed throughout the heart that fire off in response to time and eachother. They are placed as follows: the left atrium, the atrioventricular junction, the ventricles. They all have an inate speed of firing such that the atrium usually fires first conduction the electrical firing downward and circumferentially. Of course as this happens since the heart cells have the property of conductivity they also fire when stimulated.

The vascular system is composed of the large arteries, the smaller arterioles, the capillaries, the small venules, and the large veins. Basically the arteries and arterioles(tiny arteries) carry blood from the heart directly to the tissues and organs of the body. The capillaries take the blood once it is in the tissues or the organs and disperse the blood throughout those areas. They also collect blood after it has been used by the tissues and organs and channel it into the venules. The veins and venules(tiny veins), carry the so-called used blood back to the heart either directly or through the liver. The basic difference between arteries and veins is that the arteries have more musculature and innervation from the sympathetic nervous system(fight or flight system), and the veins have valves. The valves are needed because alot of the blood flow to the heart from the veins is because of skeletal muscle contraction and the valves stop the backward flow of blood when at rest. Basically the capillaries are conduits that respond in flow to either back pressure from veins or foward pressure from arteries.

Some of the common problems people have with the cardiovascular system can be put into three categories and looked at differently. First the conductive(or electrical) system, second the muscular system, and thirdly the vascular system. Frequently when one of these parts of the system fail or are diseased, then the others are adversely affected also. 

The conductive system regulates the speed, direction, and completion of the contractions of the heart. As stated above the first part of the contraction happens in the atria at the SA node(it has an inherent rate of 60-80 beats per minute(bpm) at rest) and starts all the atria contracting in a pulsatile fashion. Further down the heart between the atria and ventricles the second main electrical impulse starts the ventricles to excite called the AV node(it has an inherent rate at rest of 40-60bpm). If the SA node fails this system will initiate contractions but at its inherent rate. The last phase of contraction happens at the bundle of HIS & the purkinje fibers located throughout the ventricles(inherent rate of 20-40bpm). If the SA and AV systems fail these will beat at their inherent rate. This is barely fast enough for anyone to do anything but survive until corrected. This conductive system is highly dependent upon the proper electrolyte balance meaning sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, and calcium, with the former two being the most important. If one gets any of these ions out of balance with eachother major problems with the cardiac rhythm can happen. Decreased or increased intake or absorption of food or fluids, as can happen with poor diet, malabsorption, hypothyroid states, to name a few. Increased or decreased output as with diarrhea, vomiting, sweating or lack of, and thyroid, adrenal or kidney malfunction states will also lead to conduction problems. A good nutrition program(see nutrition web page), and a good multiple supplement such as "Rainbow light", or "More then a multiple"(both made from only food products) can go a long way to the health of the conductive system. Of course correcting any of the other organ systems mentioned above will be essential to healthy conduction function.

The muscular part of the heart controls the strength of contractions thus controlling the force with which blood flows into the arteries. This is contolled by the amount and type of nutrients including oxygen allowed to the heart muscle, amount of back pressure from the general system, liver and lungs,and  prior damage to the heart muscle and valves. Some key nutrients for healthy heart muscle are carnatine, Coenzyme Q10, magnesium, calcium, oxygen, and glucose.
Back pressure can be to high in disease states of the lungs or to little in disease states of the Liver or heart valves. So avoidance of or correction of these problems are paramount to healthy heart function. Lastly, "use it or lose it" as the saying goes with any muscle. At least 45 minutes averaged out per day of aerobic excercise is an absolute must for healthy heart muscle.

The vascular system is equally important because it controls both foward and backward pressure and allows blood to flow through to all cells of the body. Common problems in this system include varicosities of the venous system, failed valves in veins, inflammation or infection of veins, vascular plaque or arteriosclerosis, coronary artery disease, coronary artery spasm, increased or decreased sympathetic stimulus resulting in hypotension or hypertension, embolism or thrombus, and capillary fragility. Nutrients that help keep this sytem functioning are vitamin C, bioflavinoids such as Quercitin, Citrus, & Rutin,
Vitamin E, & garlic.

There are many neutraceuticals that also support healthy cardiovascular function. Without being to specific about dosage as all medications are from different pharmacological sources and thus have different strengths and potencies, I have compiled the following list for your review.

Coenzyme Q10(ubiquinone)
Beta carotene(provitamin A)
Folic acid
Coenzyme B6(pyridoxal-5'-phosphate)
Vitamin B6(pyridoxine HCL)
Vitamin B3(niacin, niacinol)
Coenzyme B12(adenosylcobalamin)
Vitamin B12(cyanocobalamin)
Vitamin C
Vitamin E(d-alpha Tocopheryl Succinate)
L-Carnitine
Lysine
Taurine
Selenium(aspartate)
Potassium(citrate)
Chromium(citrate)
Omega-3 fatty acids(EPA, DHA)
Glycosaminoglycans(GAG)
Beta sitosterols
Wobenzym systemic enzymes
Hawthorne berries(Crataegus oxycanthus)
Grape seed extract
Citrus bioflavinoids
Quercitin
Guggul(Commiphora mukul)
Adaptrin(Aryuvedic circulatory formula)
Detoxamin(EDTA rectal chelation suppository)
IV EDTA chelation

Testing the cardiovascular system is quite interesting and can be done quite efficiently and effectively. There are serum tests, ultrasound studies, EKG studies, x-ray, MRI, angiograms and more. I will go over some of the common useful non-invasive studies and also some of the not so common but very effective and useful non-invasive studies.

The most common of the serum tests are the cholesterol and serum lipid studies. They show total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL(high density lipo-proteins), LDL(low density lipo-proteins), VLDL(very low density lipo-proteins) and cholesterol/triglyceride ration. The importance of these tests are that total cholesterol can give the us an indication of how stresses are allowing the production of cholesterol to increase. Even though this level is an indication of how other systems are doing, it is cetainly not a good practice to have high cholesterol levels as it can increase the chances of cerebrovascular accidents(CVA's) and or atheroscleosis. The HDL versus LDL levels are important because it is an indication of general diet. If the diet is in balance there will be a high level of HDL and low LDL. Abalanced low fat diet, gugul, garlic, niacin, adaptrin can all reverse this finding.

Another useful test is the serum platelet level and the clotting time. If the platelets are too many or the clotting time is too short then a neutraceutical 
to allow the proper functioning of the clotting system such as wobenzym could be effective.

CPK, LDH fractionizations, and AST(SGOT) are very diagnostic to differentiate between myocardial ischemia, infarction and necrosis, myocarditis, pericardial effusion, and cardiac failure versus hepatic or skeletal muscle damage.

One of the most interesting and newest tests is called the hBNP(human B-type natriuretic peptide) measurement. It's sole function is to give us a yardstick approach to congestive heart failure. It can predict the onset of failure before the patient even experiences any symptoms. At this stage the hBNP infused by IV will reverse the problem. In later stages other medicines will also have to be  used along with bHNP.

The ASI(arterial stretch index) is a most interesting way to determine plaque in arteries. It has been developed charting people who have taken angiograms and correlates well. It is very inexpensive, somewhat hard to find but takes only a few minutes utilizing a computer program and a machine with a blood pressure cuff attached. If the Index is high chelation is the answer and can be monitored using the ASI. 

The standard EKG(electrocardiogram) both at rest and under excercise stress is one of the best measures of cardiac electrical and functional abilities. It to is easy to administer and the results are very predictable.

Ultrasound studies typically called the echocardiography can determine the state of the valves in the heart, the actual anatomy of the heart, evaluation of the cardiac chambers, discovery of cardiac tumors, congenital heart defects, and pericardial effusion. Doppler ultrasound studies are done on the large arteries and veins to discover amount of blood flow or blockage.

X-ray & MRI are extremely useful for the exact anatomy of the heart and any vessel that needs to be looked at.

Any other tests are well beyond the scope of this paper and need to be discussed with a physician in detail before they are used anyway.

The most useful tools that I have in my practice are easily the diet(see-nutrition web page) and excercise regimes. As for neutraceuticals there are western and chinese botanicals both in single extract and formulas that are tried and true for specific conditions. In general though wobenzym-n is a great formula for keeping one off of aspirin and keeping the cardiovascular system free from assault from free radicals. IV chealation is easlily the best tool for ridding the vessels of plaque in a truely fast fashion but if one has the time then rectal suppositories of sodium EDTA over the course of 4-6 months are effective.(see detoxamin, heavy metal web page).

Of course each case is individual and specific meaning one should not just "shotgun" the approach to cardiovascular health. Self healing is a must but sometimes self diagnosis can be dangerous. Seek out competent care in one you trust and establish timelines for the reversal of the cardiovascular problems. 

 
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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
They are the sole opinion of Dr. Schwartz and are not intented to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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