If you’re experiencing chest pain despite medical therapy, these natural approaches to treating angina may be for you.
The most common symptom of coronary heart disease, and at times other heart diseases is angina, which occurs when the heart muscle doesn’t get enough blood and oxygen. Angina oftentimes feels like pain or discomfort (typically squeezing) in the chest, possibly accompanied by pain in the arms, neck, jaw, shoulder or back.
Other symptoms that angina may present as include:
- Shortness of breath
Treatments for angina include the use of medication (as prescribed by your doctor) and medical procedures (such as bypass surgery, stents and angioplasty). However, due to the risks involved with invasive procedure, many patients often consider natural (diet, lifestyle, EECP, etc) ways to manage angina first.
Life’s Simple 7
Diet and lifestyle are generally considered 1st line therapy for most cardiovascular diseases. The American Heart Association recommends attainment of ideal cardiovascular health based on modifying seven key lifestyle factors (Life’s Simple 7): smoking status, physical activity, weight, diet, blood glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure.
Discover some quick tips for diet and physical activity.
Heart Healthy Diet Recommendations
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Incorporate whole grains in lieu of refined grains
- Limit unhealthy fats: no more than 5-6% of your total daily calories should be from saturated fat, avoid trans fat
- Choose low fat protein sources, avoiding fatty meats, bacon and fried/breaded meats
- Reduce sodium in your food to no more than 2300mg (about a teaspoon) of sodium a day
Physical Exercises for Healthy Hearts
- Warm up by starting slowly for a few minutes and gradually increasing intensity of activity
- Aim for 30-60 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, at least 5 days a week
- Use 10 minutes at end to gradually slow down until your breathing and heart rate return to normal
- Don’t exercise when you’re getting angina symptoms
- Yoga and meditation have also shown to reduce stress and anxiety which can often be a cause of chest pain
EECP: Enhanced External Counterpulsation
In addition to diet and lifestyle modifications, many patients are often referred by their doctor to a novel non-invasive therapy called Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP). EECP (also known as Flow Therapy) better circulates the flow of blood in your own body to naturally grow blood vessels in your heart and ultimately decrease chest pain. Think of it as exercising your heart by lying on a bed (and watching TV) while blood pressure like cuffs give your heart a workout and improve flow. Overall, 85% of the patients reduce their chest pain severity (CCS angina class) by at least one. All of this, without any surgery or invasive procedures.