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Suite B, Flagstaff, AZ 86001

What is Cardiovascular Disease?

Integrative and naturopathic approaches to...

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major global health concern and is a broad term used to describe a group of conditions that affect the cardiovascular system, including the heart and blood vessels. It is often used interchangeably with the term “heart disease.” The most common form of cardiovascular disease is coronary artery disease (CAD), which is characterized by the narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. This can lead to chest pain (angina), heart attacks, and heart failure. Cardiovascular disease is often associated with lifestyle factors such as smoking, poor diet, physical inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. At Aspen Integrative Medical Center, our physicians Paul Despres, NMD, Alexandra Mele, ND, and Amber Belt, NMD, offer a naturopathic approach to your cardiovascular concerns to work alongside your primary care physician and/or cardiologist. We frequently order comprehensive bloodwork evaluating the current state of your cardiovascular system and risk while offering holistic, naturopathic treatment options to improve your cardiovascular health.

Which cardiovascular diseases do our naturopathic doctors treat?

In acute and emergent states of cardiovascular disease, we recommend going to the emergency department and/or seeing your cardiologist. Our physicians excel in non-emergent states of your disease treating your condition with natural therapies, lifestyle changes, and when needed pharmaceuticals. Consider establishing care with our clinic if you are suffering from:

    1. Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a chronic condition in which the force of blood against the artery walls is consistently too high. Over time, it can lead to damage to the blood vessels, the heart, and other organs.
    2. Hypotension, also known as low blood pressure, is a condition characterized by abnormally low blood pressure levels. Blood pressure is the force exerted by blood against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps it throughout the body.
    3. Arrhythmias (such as aFib and POTS): Arrhythmias are abnormal heart rhythms. They can cause the heart to beat too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), or irregularly. Some arrhythmias are harmless, while others can be life-threatening and require medical intervention.
    4. Hyperlipidemia refers to the presence of high levels of cholesterol and/or triglycerides in the blood. Hyperlipidemia is a significant risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease, including conditions like coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and strokes.
    5. Diabetes mellitus, often referred to simply as diabetes, is a chronic medical condition characterized by high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. It occurs when the body either does not produce enough insulin or cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.
    6. Post-Stroke or TIA Recovery: Stroke is a condition in which blood flow to the brain is interrupted, either due to a clot (ischemic stroke) or a ruptured blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke). Strokes can cause brain damage and can be life-threatening. We offer hyperbaric oxygen therapy, deep tissue laser therapy, IV therapy, and other healing modalities to accelerate your recovery.
    7. Syncope, commonly referred to as fainting, is a temporary loss of consciousness caused by a temporary reduction in blood flow and oxygen supply to the brain. It is a sudden, brief loss of consciousness that is typically followed by a spontaneous recovery.
    8. Angina, also known as angina pectoris, is a medical condition characterized by chest pain or discomfort that occurs when the heart muscle does not receive enough oxygen-rich blood. It is usually a symptom of an underlying heart condition, most commonly coronary artery disease (CAD).
    9. Chronic Heart Failure: Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. It can be caused by various conditions, including coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and heart valve disorders.

How is the naturopathic approach to cardiovascular disease different?

How we approach your cardiovascular disease will ultimately depend on your specific condition and its severity. Our physicians specialize in providing a comprehensive, individualized approach to your disease.

Our physicians will:

    1. Determine your current risk for a cardiovascular event. Understanding your level of risk helps our physicians determine the appropriate level of force needed to treat your condition. Does your risk require immediate intervention of a pharmaceutical or surgery? Or can we address it with botanical medicine, dietary, and lifestyle changes?
    2. Identify the underlying imbalances and causes of your cardiovascular disease. A thorough workup of the factors contributing to your disease and how they are influencing your body is the first step in making an appropriate treatment plan. For example, uncontrolled hypothyroidism can be a cause of atrial fibrillation.
    3. Prescribe natural treatment strategies that address the root cause of your cardiovascular disease. Our goal is to reverse your condition and optimize your cardiovascular health with therapies that cause the least side effects.
    4. Always take time to educate you on your condition and answer all of your questions.

What types of treatments are commonly used for cardiovascular disease?

The treatment plan for cardiovascular disease is personalized based on individual factors such as the specific condition, overall health, risk factors, and medical history. Our goal is always provide an accurate diagnosis, advice, and develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Our physicians commonly use these therapies in the management of cardiovascular disease:

    • Lifestyle Modifications: Adopting a healthy lifestyle can play a significant role in managing and preventing cardiovascular disease. This includes:
      • Eating a balanced diet that is low in trans fats and rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
      • Engaging in regular physical activity, such as aerobic exercises, to improve cardiovascular health.
      • Quitting smoking and avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke.
      • Maintaining a healthy weight.
      • Managing stress levels.
    • Botanical medicine: Adding herbs and and herbal extracts such as Hawthorne, garlic, turmeric, green tea, and ginger can have profound effects on cardiovascular health.
    • Nutraceuticals: The use of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients such as antioxidants, resveratrol, magnesium, red yeast rice, and niacin can be very helpful depending on your condition.
    • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy: Especially helpful for post-stroke as it increases oxygen delivery to the damaged brain tissue, promote healing, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the growth of new blood vessels.
    • Detoxification strategies to lessen burden of heavy metals and environmental toxins on your heart and vascular system.
    • Intravenous (IV) therapy involves the administration of fluids, medications, or nutrients directly into a vein through an intravenous line. IV is helpful to restore hydration, maintain blood pressure, and optimize overall cardiovascular function. In certain cases, such as advanced heart failure or malnutrition-related cardiovascular complications, IV therapy may be used to deliver essential nutrients, vitamins, or minerals to support the patient’s nutritional needs.
    • Medication and Medical Management: This may include medications to manage conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and other underlying cardiovascular conditions. Note there are often good natural alternatives to statins and anti-platelet drugs.

It’s important to approach the management of cardiovascular disease through evidence-based medical treatments and lifestyle modifications. Consult with our physicians for personalized guidance and recommendations based on your specific condition and health needs.

For a natural healing approach to your cardiovascular disease, call to schedule an appointment today.