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Heart failure and coronary heart disease

Category: Illness or disabilities

Type

Involuntary

Introduction and description

 

The medical profession distinguishes between the many types of heart disease and heart failure, for very obvious reasons.  But for our purposes, we need to think of heart failure as an inability of the heart to supply enough oxygen to the body and the brain – leading in effect to a form of constant hypoxia.

This section covers all the diseases of the heart, including heart valve failure, cardiac arrest, arrhythmias, bradycardia, tachycardia, and simple heart failure. There are three other sections on this site related to heart failure

But the observations are described both here and under these sections.

The section excludes diseases and illnesses related to the Blood circulatory system, although they are clearly very closely linked, therefore such problems as atherosclerosis are covered in this separate section.  Coronary Artery disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. The disease is the most common cause of sudden death and is also the most common reason for death of men and women over 20 years of age.

Background

Whilst coronary heart disease refers to the failure of the coronary circulation to supply adequate oxygen to cardiac muscle and surrounding tissue, heart failure is generally defined as the inability of the heart to supply sufficient blood flow to meet the needs of the body.  The two are connected – what goes in can be insufficient and then what goes out also becomes insufficient.  The blood going out can be restricted because of problems such as Coronary artery disease caused by the accumulation of atheromatous plaques within the walls of the arteries that supply the myocardium. But what goes in can be restricted for any number of reasons – a damaged heart, and restricted veins leading into the heart.

Symptoms

The progression of heart failure follows a very slow but inexorable course. 

Early symptoms

 

Initially you may notice absolutely nothing at all.  The disease can progress for decades with no real symptoms.  Then there is the progression when symptoms start to become noticeable:

  • Hypertension – blood pressure goes up as the arteries narrow
  • Minor heart attacks – not a medical term, but you may get a sudden chest pain across the entire chest – not severe but just rather frightening - or actually faint from lack of oxygen to the brain
  • Restriction of activity – hills start to become a problem and stairs.  You find yourself taking the lift where before you would have easily climbed the stairs.  And walking or any strenuous physical activity start to become daunting.  Unconsciously you slow down and stop tackling anything that looks like it may make you tired
  • Fatigue – many things start to make you feel really tired.  You have to stop to have a rest and recuperate on even the most simple of tasks – taking the washing out of the washing machine, changing the beds, cooking a meal.  Any activity in which standing for any length of time seems to be more tiring
  • Headaches – a lot of headaches caused by the lack of oxygen.  These can occur at night without any apparent reason but of course at night your heart slows down even more and if you have eaten not long before going to bed, the blood supply seems to get diverted from your brain to the digestion system.  If you have had any alcohol, the headaches can be severe often because the processing of the alcohol requires more oxygen than processing of food
  • Weight gain – you put on a lot of weight quite rapidly on the same amount of food.  This is because you are not only no longer as active, but also because the food is no longer able to give you the energy you need because there is no oxygen to convert it into glucose, so it turns into fat.  This is a particularly nasty symptom as it is a vicious circle – the fatter you get, the less you can move so the more weight you gain.  Weight gain can be very very quick. 
  • Shortness of breath and coughing – the side of the heart involved, (left heart failure versus right heart failure) determines some of the symptoms. Left heart failure compromises aortic flow to the body and brain, so you are likely to experience the fatigue, headaches and swelling. Right heart failure compromises pulmonic flow to the lungs, this causes shortness of breath and can result in fluid accumulating in the lungs. You can, of course, get both.  Eventually, you get the typical wheezy chest which can be confused with asthma and you have a constant dry cough – an annoying cough that seems to be generated  not from the lungs but from the central chest area
  •  
    Leg swelling – and leg pain.  There are attacks of almost unbearable cramp when resting.  The legs swell, veins become swollen, fluid is retained in the lower legs and ankles, and the legs look bruised.  The lower legs can become marked by freckle like marks caused by cell death from lack of oxygen.

 

 

  • Cold extremities – you always feel cold and start to have to wear socks in bed and thicker clothes
  • Need to wee at night – whereas you may have been able to go the whole night without going to the toilet, you suddenly have to start going to the toilet once if not more than once a night.  The technical term for this is Nocturia (frequent nighttime urination) and occurs because the fluid from the legs is returned to the bloodstream while lying down at night.
  • Abdominal swelling – the technical term for this is ascites. The tummy feels heavy and distended and it will exacerbate the shortness of breath because the diaphragm is under pressure.  It is caused by fluid retention and in some people you can even see a  "fluid wave" which is a visible external wave- like effect  generated by tapping or pushing on one side.  Not all ascites is caused by heart failure, liver failure and even cancer can also result in similar symptoms, but those with cancer often get weight loss whereas heart failure results in weight gain, shortness of breath as well as wheezing and exercise intolerance.

Later stage symptoms

  • Hepatomegaly - is the medical term for the condition of having an enlarged liver. It can be caused by any number of other diseases, including cirrhosis of the liver,  but in the context of heart failure it is also a by product of fluid retention and lack of oxygen to operate the liver effectively – reducing its function.  It can lead to jaundice and even coagulopathy (problems of decreased blood clotting).  The enlarged liver if noticeable protrudes above your distended stomach and presses on the ribs leading to yet more pain.  It also makes the shortness of breath even worse.
  • Blue skin – the technical term for this is Cyanosis and is the appearance of a blue or purple coloration of the skin or mucous membranes due to the tissues near the skin surface being low in oxygen  - “severe hypoxemia”.  It is sign of extremely severe pulmonary edema.  The first signs are usually that the lips appear blue or the fingers.  The name cyanosis, literally means "the blue disease" or "the blue condition". Human blood is usually a shade of red -  the more oxygenated the blood the brighter the shade of red. The more deoxygenated the blood, the darker red it is within the blood vessels, and the more bluish it appears on the skin.
  • Constant chest pain – despite all the medical descriptions, the chest pain is usually central in the chest and not to the left of the chest and can be felt in the back as well, like a severe very central back pain.  It may feel like heart burn or indigestion.  This may be there all the time and the technical term is angina.  If it gets worse and starts to travel up the chest and into the face and jaw, or along the arms this is a heart attack and probably signals a blocked artery.  A heart attack is excruciatingly painful.  On a scale of 1 to 10 it is at least an 8 or 9 – at 10 you probably pass out.
 

As I discovered, none of these symptoms have an effect on an ECG, which can appear relatively normal.  Furthermore, if you have a ‘heart attack’ unless the heart is actually damaged then again it may never show up on the blood test as the doctors look for enzymes released by the heart when it is damaged.  If the ambulance medical staff are prompt with the medication [as they were with me], there may be no damage.  You can thus get to quite an advanced stage of distress without being properly diagnosed. 

Before I had a stent put in, I was on asthma puffers [shortness of breath], indigestion medicine [chest pain], pain killers [headaches and chest pain], beta blockers or ACE inhibitors [hypertension], and support stockings [leg swelling].  Ridiculous but true. Incidentally according to the Belgian cardiologist who saved me I was about 5 days from dying. My NHS GP hadn't even referred me to a cardiologist.

Causes

According to most conventional sources "most coronary artery disease is related to dietary habits." I did not question this statement when I first saw it, but I now do.  And cholesterol is not the main culprit.  Chloresterol is used to repair cells, as such high cholesterol may be more an indicator of extensive cell damage caused by toxins, viruses, bacteria or other external agents.  It is a symptom not a cause.'Typically, coronary artery disease occurs when part of the smooth, elastic lining inside a coronary artery (the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle) develops atherosclerosis. With atherosclerosis, the artery''s lining becomes hardened, stiffened, and swollen with all sorts of "grunge" - including calcium deposits, fatty deposits, and abnormal inflammatory cells - to form a plaque''.  And here we should pause - abnormal inflammatory cells?  Atherosclerosis is thus an inflammatory disease caused by something that is acting as an irritant. So what are the irritants and thus the true causes?

Stress 

Rik Mayall died of heart failure

Emotional stress in particular appears to be a major contributor to heart failure.  Stress and other high emotion is the emotional trigger to the sympathetic nervous system.  High levels of the ''fight or flight'' stress neurotransmitters may thus act as irritants in the long term. But there is another side effect of stress and that is that it compromises the immune system and the immune system is our only defence against some of the real causes of heart disease. Thus stress is not a true cause but a contributor as it destroys our defences.

Toxins 

Numerous toxins have been implicated in heart disease.  Any small particle which can enter the blood stream firstly causes inflammation of the artery and vein walls [endothelial dysfunction] which then leads to atherosclerosis and high blood pressure.  The particles may also attack the heart itself.  Examples of toxins - too numerous to mention individually include of course the smoke from smoking, diesel fumes, nanoparticles, heavy metals such as mercury and gold particles or lead particles, pesticides, and fungicides.  Heavy metal poisoning and heart failure are strongly linked.   For this reason dental fillings are also implicated, as leaky, badly maintained dental amalgam fillings leak mercury and mercury is implicated in some cases of heart disease.

Menopause 

Violetta Degtiareva a rising tennis star dropped
dead from heart failure aged 23, the cause of
her heart disease is not known

Changes in hormonal balance particularly dramatic changes where the menopause symptoms have been particularly severe, appear to contribute.  Although some medical research has linked HRT with heart problems, it may not be the right link.  Women who take HRT usually take it as a route of last resort when the symptoms of the menopause become unbearable – thus it is more likely that the huge changes in oestrogen and other hormone levels may be a major contributor.  Oestrogen affects how blood vessels narrow and widen and how they respond to injury, so changes in oestrogen levels mean changes in the reactivity of the blood vessels. Many women with heart failure are postmenopausal women and oestrogen imbalance has been therefore proposed as a pathogenic factor in female patients. 

Parasites

Heartfailure can be caused by parasites. The parasites cause inflammation of the arteries and also attack the heart itself. For example acute Trypanosoma cruzi [a parasite] infections can result in Chagas disease and heart failure.

“The phenotyping of the lesions revealed that cytotoxic CD45, CD8(+) γδ, and CD8α(+) T lymphocytes carry out the rejection of the ... heart. These results suggest an inflammatory cardiomyopathy of Chagas'' disease .PMID: 21734249"

Other parasites are implicated in heart disease including hookworms, roundworms and tapeworms. For example Echinococcosis, is a parasitic disease of tapeworms in the genus Echinococcus. In the human manifestation of the disease, they migrate to the liver (in 75% of cases), the lungs (in 5-15% of cases) and other organs in the body such as the spleen, brain, heart and kidneys (in 10-20% of cases). Protozoans are also implicated. The parasitic protozoan Toxoplasma gondii is carried by cats [being with cats].   The life-long presence of dormant stages of this parasite in the brain and muscular tissues of infected humans [including the heart] is usually considered asymptomatic from the clinical point of view but is especially prevalent in those who are Rhesus negative

Bacterial infection

Bacterial infection and heart disease are linked.  For example the bacteria associated with Periodontitis causes heart valve failure

The prevalence and incidence of coronary heart disease is significantly increased in periodontitis: a meta-analysis.Bahekar AA, Singh S, Saha S, Molnar J, Arora R. Am Heart J. 2007 Nov;154(5):830-7. Epub 2007 Aug 20. Review. PMID: 17967586

and many other bacteria may also be implicated for example:

Seroepidemiology, pathology, and animal studies provide evidence for a possible association between Chlamydia pneumoniae infections and atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, and myocardial infarction. PMID: 10839758

Viral infection 

Lucille Ball died of heart failure, she also lived with
the pain of rheumatoid arthritis from the time she
was 17 .

Viral infection is now also being implicated in heart disease, with more and more viruses being found that both cause hardening of the arteries and a damaged heart, for example:

High levels of CMV [cytomegalovirus] antibodies are significantly associated with incident CHD. [coronary heart disease] Infection with CMV, particularly in more susceptible disease states such as diabetes, may be an important risk factor for CHD. PMID: 10888976

Myocardial infarction (heart attack) is associated with cytomegalovirus and Coxsackie B virus (an enterovirus). Coxsackie B virus is also associated with sudden unexpected death due to myocarditis. Coronary heart disease is associated with herpes simplex virus 1. Dilated cardiomyopathy is associated with enteroviruses such as Coxsackie B virus. There are tentative links to the varicella zoster [chicken pox] virus.  There may be links with the 'flu virus:

This study examined the relation between the presence of circulating influenza virus and all hospital admissions of people over age 65 years in Ontario, Canada, for pneumonia, congestive heart failure, and chronic lung disease in 1988-1993. ...... The results showed statistically significant correlations between the presence of influenza virus and admissions of the elderly for pneumonia and chronic lung disease. The relation between circulation of influenza virus and admissions for congestive heart failure was inconsistent but present. PMID: 9883797

This finding has particular relevance for the next cause.

Vaccines

The name for a vaccine that has a live virus in it is an attenuated vaccine.   Although most attenuated vaccines are viral, some are bacterial in nature. Examples include the viral diseases yellow fever, measles, rubella, and mumps, and the bacterial disease typhoid.  As we can see from the description above, heart failure can be caused by viruses and bacteria.  There appears to be a belief by those promoting vaccines that the immune system defeats the virus as it builds up an immunological record.  But there is now enough research to show that this is not the case.  A virulent strain of attenuated virus may replicate very fast before the immune system has had time to muster its defences - particularly if the virus is injected or administered by nasal spray. A virus is capable of then secreting itself in adipose tissue and the joints and 'laying low'.  Adipose tissue apears to provide a safe haven for a number of viruses

The increased expression of CAR [coxsackie and adenovirus receptors] in adipose tissue from obese subjects, suggests that CAR might play a role in adipose tissue dysfunction  PMID: 25459915


When the immune system is compromised, for example by stress or extreme emotion, the virus then emerges and attacks.  Rheumatoid arthritis can be caused by emerging pathogens and so can heart disease.

Fungal infection

Fungal infection has been implicated in heart disease.  For example

BMC Infect Dis. 2014 Oct 30;  Isolated pulmonary valve infective endocarditis in a middle aged man caused by Candida albicans: a case report.  Devathi S, Curry B, Doshi S.   ......On further workup he was found to have infective endocarditis with a large vegetation across the pulmonary valve. No other valves were involved. He was treated with intravenous antifungal therapy for eight weeks. Valvular surgery was not performed. Follow up echocardiography after completion of therapy did not show any vegetations and the patient clinically improved.  PMID: 25358458

Pharmaceuticals

In 1987, artist Andy Warhol died of heart failure
at age 58

Both pharmaceuticals and so called ‘recreational drugs’ have been implicated in heart disease, acting as toxins.  The drugs and pharmaceuticals may irritate the lining of the arteries and veins causing hardening over time and high blood pressure.  The same pharmaceuticals may also attack the heart.  For example

Patients treated with antipsychotic drugs had a greater prevalence of several Cardiovascular risk factors...The presence of stroke was higher in those treated with antipsychotics. No relevant differences were observed between patients receiving typical or atypical antipsychotics. PMID: 24265143

There is a link between drugs that attack the natural protective flora of the intestine [such as antibiotics] and the leakage of food particles, bacteria, viruses and toxins into the blood stream.  There, all these particles affect the entire body and can cause both heart disease and other diseases.
The increasing use of nanoparticles to deliver drugs is now also causing great concern, nanoparticles are potential toxins - see the observations.
In one of the great ironies of our time ACE inhibitors can cause raised blood pressure and heart arrhythmias from the potassium imbalance they cause.  Calcium channel blockers also cause mineral imbalance and similar effects.  In the following list, follow the link to get to the symptom then scroll down to the section 'Drugs that could cause'. 

  • heart disease follow this LINK - as of November 2016,  1,150 drugs were implicated.  
  • heart failure follow this LINK as of November 2016,  50 drugs were implicated
  • coronary heart disease follow this LINK as of November 2016,  1,650 drugs were implicated
  • Cardiac arrest – follow this LINK as of November 2016,  2,150 drugs were implicated

Mineral and vitamin imbalance 

Karen Carpenter died at age 32 from heart failure caused
by complications related to her illness - anorexia

Any food, mineral or vitamin in excessive amounts - that is more than the body actually needs, can act as a toxin.  For example, we need calcium, but an excess of calcium may cause deposits of calcium phosphates (hydroxyapatites) in the muscular layer of the blood vessels, which appear to play not only a significant role in stiffening arteries but also for the induction of an early phase of coronary arteriosclerosis. 

Calcium phosphate is the name given to a family of minerals containing Calcium.   It is the principal form of calcium found in bovine milk.   Thus too much milk, cream and cheese are high contributors to the formation of plaques.  High levels of carbohydrates and processed sugars have the same effect, which is why high alcohol intake in the form of beer or spirits is not helpful, whilst low alcoholic intake [low sugar but high antioxidants] is.  Too much glucose is an irritant.  Overdosing is toxic.

Food allergy

Food allergy in which the body is treating a food as a poison or toxin.

Physical damage and surgery

Clearly any physical damage could affect the heart and the entire circulatory system directly, but there is an indirect effect which is often overlooked.  Physical damage can affect the lymph system causing it to block or malfunction.  Any problems with this system can cause heart disease simply because the lymph system is the mechanism by which the immune system works.  Since heart disease can be caused by pathogens and our only defence against pathogens is our immune system, damage to the lymph system is likely to lead to disease, and one of those diseases is heart disease.

Radiation

All radiation whether 'cosmic' or electromagnetic impacts our bodies and depending on its frequency, it resonates different parts of us.  The reason that nuclear radiation is so dangerous is that it impacts cells, but what we appear to have overlooked is that all radiation impacts some part of us.  Every aggregate in our bodies - organs, cells, the body itself, has natural ‘resonance’.  Resonance is a substance’s natural tendency to oscillate – vibrate – at maximum amplitude at certain frequencies, known as the thing’s resonant frequency.  And some radiation affects the heart.  High intensity radiation affects the heart in the short term, but even low exposure radiation of the 'right' frequency can have an effect in the long term.

Local heart irradiation with single or fractionated doses leads to heart failure after dose-dependent latency times. Clinical symptoms of heart failure are dyspnoea at rest, apathy and subcutaneous oedema. Animals autopsied when they presented with these symptoms, have a congested liver and occasional pleural effusions. The left ventricle is dilated, showing a reduction in wall thickness by 15-17% of control values.  ... These findings at the time of manifest heart failure are constant, independent on whether injury to the heart was inflicted by single-dose or fractionated irradiation or whether heart failure developed within a relatively short time after high total doses or within many months after low total doses.  PMID: 1736330

Treatment

If we all lived by the mediterranean in a warm beautiful country with little stress, eating fresh fruit and vegetables and also avoiding pollution, then we would all probably live a lot longer and not get heart failure – but we don’t.  The so called Mediterranean diet is not a solution because it ignores all the other factors that contribute.  If we live the life of a ‘developed’ or ‘developing country’ person in offices and cars, planes and trains and in cities, whatever we eat, breath or catch puts us at risk. 

In September 2004, Bill Clinton received a quadruple
bypass.  On February 11, 2010, he had two
coronary stents implanted .

It is no accident that - according to present trends in the United States, half of healthy 40-year-old males will develop coronery artery disease in the future, and one in three healthy 40-year-old women. The USA is the biggest producer currently of toxins, user of pharmaceuticals and eater of unfortunate food.  Furthermore if their own statistics are true, almost the entire nation is infected by viruses.  By contrast, the Maasai of Africa have almost no heart disease. 

Ultimately, therefore, there are two main types of treatment:

Cause based treatment

Cause based healing involves tracking down which of the culprits above is the one affecting you and attempting to do something about it.  If you have no way of chelating or eradicating the culprit then the approach needs to be to bolster the immune system as much as possible. This approach is described in the sections Eating for health and Healing yourself

Symptom based treatment

There are two main forms of symptom based treatment or treatment where the damage has gone too far to be able to treat on a cause based approach only

  • Surgical intervention - by-passes and stents being just two forms, these work as long as the lymph system is not damaged.
  • Pharmaceuticals - this category is extremely large.  Furthermore, the drugs are all aimed at perhaps one aspect of the disease as opposed to the entirety of the disease - atherosclerosis, oedema, heart arrhythmia, high blood pressure and all the other heart related problems.  After having looked at the side effects, I would urge caution if these are prescribed - follow the links and each class of drug is described with its side-effects described.   The following are all classes of drug aimed at various heart problems:

Each of the pharmaceutically based drugs are described under separate headings as their mechanism of action differs.

How it works

It may be helpful here to have open the Model of the Mind and the generic description of How spiritual experience works.

The experiences I have listed are separated into those that heal and those that don't.  The non healing experiences include hallucinations, near death, visions and so on.

Whilst cardiac arrest can cause near death experiences, many forms of heart failure and coronary heart disease can cause hypoxia and lead to spiritual experiences.  I know because I have been there and still am!  Thus the main physical cause is Hypoxia.

But this is physical, logically what is happening is that the body and the brain are being severely threatened.  If we are ‘hypoxic’  we are essentially dying and  because we are ‘dying’ [a  threat!]  - the body reverts to only essential functions and much of our  reasoning and memory are not essential functions.  Thus these two functions are actually suppressed. 

What takes the place of these functions is an overwhelming input of messages from the sensory systems – all of them – that says HELP HELP HELP – we are being deprived of oxygen – all of us, we are dying DO SOMETHING.  Overload.

But the Will, is unable to do something – it has no learnt function with which to counter the threat and it is struggling all the time to ensure the autonomic systems keep going.

Eventually the Will exhausted by the battle, gives in and the Composer takes over and we have our spiritual experience – which may happen incidentally just shortly before we die as I nearly did.

References and further reading

Wikipedia
PubMed

Related observations