Heart failure is on the rise
About one in 56 Americans will experience this life-threatening condition, according to the statistics of heart failure. Nearly five million Americans are currently living with congestive heart failure (CHF), with 550,000 new cases being diagnosed each year. Most CHF patients are over the age of 60, but 1.4 million are under the age of 60, with approximately one million patients between the ages of 40 and 59. More than 5% of adults between the ages of 60 and 69 have CHF.
Heart failure is responsible for 11 million physician visits each year and more hospitalizations than all forms of cancer combined. According to the statistics of heart failure, hospitalization for the condition has risen threefold in the past 30 years. The most common diagnosis in patients over the age of 65, over 875,000 hospitalizations occur a year. Overall, the statistics of heart failure indicate that over $23 billion is spent a year dealing with it. More than half of all CHF patients die within five years of diagnosis. It contributes to approximately 275,000 deaths each year.
Current treatments are largely ineffective
Treatment for congestive heart failure largely depends upon the causes and symptoms. The main objective of the treatment for congestive heart failure is to diagnose the reasons, analyze the signs and nip the disease from flourishing. Removing excessive liquid from the lungs, systemizing the flow of blood and providing more oxygen to our body are the preeminent steps for the treatment for congestive heart failure. Furosemides or spironolactones are immensely helpful in controlling the extra fluid of body. In order to release the stress from heart or cure injured heart muscle beta blockers and ACE inhibitors are considered to be the best possible treatment for congestive heart failure. For the self treatment for congestive heart failure, the patient should adopt a healthy life style by improving the living conditions and environment.
Recommendations to CHF patients include the following:
- Various body organs especially legs are generally get swollen, so elevations of legs are recommended.
- Don’t consume a lofty quantity of salt in diet.
- Check your weight and blood pressure daily, and consider it as a prominent part of the treatment for congestive heart failure.
- Diabetes patients should check the level of their blood sugar regularly.
Let’s face it, this is a pretty lame treatment plan. You can mitigate the problem, but if you are honest, there are no solutions here.
Solving a problem depends on how you look at it
There is an old story about a semi truck that became wedged under a viaduct. It blocked traffic in both directions, and no matter what the driver did, he could not free his rig. Engineers were called from all over the state and they concerned themselves with finding ways to raise the bridge so the truck could pass under it. A 10 year old boy came up with the answer and soon the truck was free. He told them to simply let some air out of the tires. In a few minutes, the truck was able to drive away.
Sometimes the way we think of things bogs us down and causes us to miss solutions that are under our noses. In 1927 Alexander Fleming noticed that a certain mold prevented bacteria from growing near it on a Petrie dish. He understood the significance of the discovery and now we have Penicillin. Before Fleming, three other scientists made the same observation but missed its significance.
Can there be anything simpler than Ignaz Semmelweis’ idea that surgeons should wash their hands? He found that washing hands between autopsy work and the examination of patients using a chlorinated solution, and almost immediately maternal mortality rate due to puerperal fever was reduced with 90%. Yet the idea was revolutionary at the time. As the results were going against the established truths of the day, the medical profession would not accept the findings. Some doctors, for instance, were offended at the suggestion that they should wash their hands, feeling that their social status as gentlemen was inconsistent with the idea that their hands could be unclean.
Is there a simple solution that will assist in the treatment of congestive heart failure patients and prevent their readmission to the hospital? Are current attitudes damaging patient outcomes the same way that they did in the mid-nineteenth century?
CAM may hold some answers
Complementary and alternative medicine has come a long way in the last two decades. Many natural therapies are backed by research, and the information from that research is readily available. It is a big step for scientific medicine to incorporate CAM therapies and make them mainstream, but unless you have a better idea, CHF is going to cost your organization a LOT of money. This may be a departure from your usual way of thinking–much the same way the Joseph Lister’s insistence that doctors wash their hands was a departure from the usual way of thinking. Even if something has not been done before. it may still be a good idea.
Straws on the camel’s back
In medicine we treat disease–we think in terms of “cure”. CAM is not so much about treating disease as it is about improving the body’s infrastructure. If you had a camel with a backache, carrying a large load of straw, the CAM approach would be to remove straw from the camel’s back. The CAM approach to CHF is not to treat the disease, but to improve the heart’s (and the rest of the body’s) ability to deal with it. Sometimes it is hard for someone who is medically trained to see the value of the cumulative effect of several natural therapies.
What about research?
The desirable thing would be to test the therapy on recently hospitalized CHF patients. We are about to present you with an idea that has been researched on CHF patients and has gotten favorable results. If you remember you algebra, if A = B and B = C, then A = C. If a therapy improves heart function and improved heart function reduces the chance of being admitted to the hospital, then the therapy can reduce the chance of being admitted to the hospital.
Natural therapies can have a cumulative effect. You are basically just supplying raw materials. If your porch was sagging and had rotted timbers, you would buy new wood, nails and paint in order to make repairs possible.
There is research that shows the value of a number of natural substances to congestive heart failure patients. If we can use the information in this research to improve the infrastructure of our CHF patients, can we keep them from returning to the hospital.
- The diuretic, furosemide, may cause thiamin deficiency. 1 Beriberi is the disease of thiamin deficiency. Wet beriberi affects the cardiovascular system and is characterized by an enlarged heart, and congestive heart failure. There is some research that indicates supplementation with thiamin may be of benefit to patients with congestive heart failure, with one study increasing left ventricular ejection fraction by 22%. Interestingly enough, thiamin has been shown to be particularly beneficial to patients with cardiomyopathy.2
- Furosemide and ACE inhibitors deplete magnesium.4 Many CHF patients show a deficiency in magnesium, and demonstrated a significant decrease in premature ventricular depolarizations when supplemented with magnesium.3 Furthermore, other research found that CHF patients supplemented with magnesium had improved survival rates (75.7% compared to 51.6% over the course of one year).5,6
- In several studies CoQ10 has shown to be of benefit to CHF patients. It has been shown to improve both ejection fraction and cardiac output. 7,8,9 Patients given CoQ10 had improvement in clinical signs and symptoms, including cyanosis, edema, pulmonary rales, liver enlargement, dyspnea, palpitations, and arrhythmia. 9 In one study, 319 patients were treated with coenzyme Q10 at a dose of 2 mg/kg per day and 322 patients received a placebo. The number of patients hospitalized for worsening heart failure were smaller in the coenzyme Q10 group (n=73) than in the control group (n=118). The episodes of pulmonary edema or cardiac asthma were reduced in the control group compared to the placebo group. These results suggest coenzyme Q10 therapy in conjunction with conventional therapy reduces hospitalization for worsening of heart failure and the incidence of serious complications in patients with chronic congestive heart failure.9 CoQ10 improves ventricular performance in CHF patients.10
- Carnitine is another substance that is well-researched and found to be beneficial to CHF patients. One study combined CoQ10 and carnitine, finding that the combination caused a significant reduction in the pro-inflammatory cytokines that are neurohumoural precursors related to sympathetic and parasympathetic activity, which is impaired in patients with heart failure. Furthermore, the supplemented group showed significant improvements in the six-minute walk test and symptom scale, compared to patients in the placebo-group.11 Carnitine has been shown to improve exercise tolerance in CHF patients,12,15 generally improves symptoms in CHF patients,13 and reduces the death rate in patients with cardiomyopathy.14,16
Other studies have shown the value of other natural substances to CHF patients. These include ribose, arginine, various antioxidants and hawthorn extract.
Maybe it is best to think like Alexander Fleming rather than wait for the ideal study
Congestive heart failure promises to be an expensive, possibly financial ruinous problem in the future. Natural health care has more science behind it than you may realize. It is really about applied biochemistry and fixing the body’s infrastructure. Where we are right now is at the same point Fleming was when he noticed the absence of mold growth. Do you understand the significance of these studies? A group of physicians (including a cardiologist), and biochemists have performed an exhaustive search of the medical literature and developed a product that combines this information to help CHF patients. Sure you want to wait for an extensive study (which is coming), but consider the following:
- This is an approach that literally only costs pennies per day.
- Nutrition is a low-risk, high-gain therapy. In other words, there are not a lot of side-effects from nutritional supplements but the potential reward is considerable.
- The American Journal of Medicine (1991;151-155)
- Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2006; 47: 354-61)
- Journal of the American College of Cardiology (1990;16 (4):827-831)
- Magnesium Bulletin (1994;16(3):98-100)
- International Journal of Cardiology (2009; 134(1): 145-7)
- Int J Cardiol 2009 May 1;134(1):144
- Biofactors (2006; 25(1-4): 137-45)
- European Heart Journal (August 1, 2000)
- Clinical Investigator, 1993;71:S 145-S 149
- Biofactors, 1999;9(2-4):285-289
- Acta Cardiol, 2007; 62(4): 349-54
- Clin Ter. 1992 Nov;141(11):379-84
- Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol. 1988 Apr;26(4):217-20
- Am Heart J, February, 2000;139(2 Part 3):S120-S123
- Arzneimittelforschung. 1992 Sep;42(9):1101-4
- The American Journal of Cardiology, March 15, 1990;755-760.