February is American Heart Month.  It was recognized in 1963 to help bring awareness to the leading cause of death for men and women in our country.

What is heart disease?

Heart disease happens when the flow of oxygen and nutrients have issues getting to the heart.  this is usually a result of buildup of plaque in the arteries or blood vessels.  Plaque can accumulate if there is damage to the vessel walls. 

Most common causes:
High blood pressure
Elevated cholesterol

Why is heart disease so common in our country?

One of the biggest factors for heart disease is lifestyle.  If you are a person who exercises regularly, eat mindfully, and manage your stress, you will be much less likely to have any heart disease issues. 

Unfortunately, many people follow a typical modern lifestyle which may consist of a lot of sitting, tremendous stress, and very minimal exercise.  This type of lifestyle also may put us at risk for other diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Luckily, we can make a big change in our heart health by adjusting our daily habits.  This can be a big job to take on, overwhelming and intimidating.  It’s important to have a support system of friends, family and medical professionals through this time as well. 

Heart disease and Acupuncture

Acupuncture has an ability to regulate the stress response in the body and modulate the nervous system.  When the body is under stress, the sympathetic nervous system has a natural reaction to act in survival mode. This is helpful for life threatening situations, increasing heart rate and glucose into the bloodstream for use in muscles to escape.  This response is also triggered when we are pressed by work stresses, financial woes, and constant worries.  Over time, these little stresses can have a very negative impact on our body functioning.  We may have issues with sleep, digestion, and emotions.

We need to reactivate the parasympathetic nervous system to reboot our functions or digestion, rest, and to recuperate.  Acupuncture is extremely helpful in activating this response in the body, helping to lower blood pressure, slow down the heart rate, and balance blood sugar levels back to a normal state. Through regular acupuncture treatments, balance and negative effects on the body are able to be healed.

Acupuncture can help reduce risk factors

Studies have shown that acupuncture can successfully treat conditions such as diabetes.  It lowers blood glucose levels and helps with insulin sensitivities.  If we can manage the symptoms of diabetes, we can also lower the risk of heart disease.

Acupuncture and Smoking Cessation

One of the best ways to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease is to avoid tobacco smoke.  Among those diagnosed with coronary heart disease, quitting smoking was able to reduce risk of recurrent heart attack and cardiovascular death.  To quit smoking can lower the risk of heart disease as much as or more than common medicines used to lower heart disease risk such as aspirin, statins, beta blockers or ace inhibitors.
If smoking is an issue for you, acupuncture has been helpful to decrease cravings and help to ease symptoms of withdrawal.

Heart disease doesn’t have to be something that will affect you later in life.  There are preventative steps we can take to help avoid these issues in the future.  You get to help decrease your present stresses while supporting your longevity.  As you continue your treatments, you will begin to notice better sleep, higher levels of energy, and less pain throughout the body.

Call us today, we look forward to helping you be the healthiest and happiest you! (631) 424-8602