From 1993 to 2003 cardiovascular disease death rates declined by 22.1 percent. Yet despite the drop in absolute numbers, heart disease is still the leading cause of death in the U.S. Unfortunately, not many people realize how serious this issue is, according to a top U.S. research cardiologist. “We’ve done a good job of advertising to people that we’re doing better with heart disease, so people tend to sort of feel good about it,” said Dr. Robert Califf, director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute. As a result, heart disease… “is sort of accepted as part of the background noise, even though it’s far and away the mostly likely reason that you or I will die,” Califf said.
More than 910,000 Americans still die from heart disease annually, according to the American Heart Association, and more than 70 million live with some form of heart disease, which can include high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, angina (chest pain), heart attack and congenital heart defects.
And these numbers are likely to grow, according to Califf. “We’re just on the front end of the baby boomer epidemic, where the projections on the amount of cardiovascular disease are climbing steadily over the next 10 years,” he said. According to Dr. Steven Nissen, president of the American College of Cardiology and chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, “We’re delaying the disease, but we’re not preventing it.”
Mounting a Strong Defense
Prevention is vital to fighting heart disease, say experts, and Americans know what to do: Eat a healthy diet, keep their weight in check, exercise and don’t smoke. Unfortunately, many of the recent gains made in fighting heart disease have been countered by a dramatic increase in the incidence of obesity and diabetes. Roughly two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, and the epidemic is spreading to teenagers and children.
Preventing and Supporting Recovery from Heart Disease
When it comes to heart disease, prevention is vastly preferable to treatment. And if heart disease is diagnosed, natural methods for supporting and enhancing the heart’s normal healing process are of increasing interest to patients, especially in light of growing concerns over the use of stents and other invasive procedures.
One alternative approach to the issue of heart health is a unique herbal formula that is being used throughout China to strengthen heart function and support recovery from various cardiopathic conditions. The formula underwent a series of stringent animal and human trials before being approved for use in Chinese hospitals for chronic congestive heart failure and other cardiac disorders.
Following its approval in 1999, numerous cardiology departments at leading hospitals in China continued to conduct clinical trials showing excellent and statistically significant results. The formula was shown to alleviate myocardial damage induced by anoxia (lack of oxygen) and ischemia (lack of blood flow) to heart tissues. It may also reduce pulmonary arterial blood pressure, improve microcirculation and enhance cardiac output while reducing clinical symptoms such as high blood pressure, shortness of breath, angina, palpitation and dizziness.
1. Phase 2 Clinical Trial on 304 Cases of Myocardial Damage
Researchers treated 304 patients previously diagnosed with myocardial damage and cardiac insufficiency. After receiving the formula for a period of six weeks, 100 patients (30%) were shown to be free of previous clinical symptoms, including angina, arrhythmia, dizziness and shortness of breath. The study authors noted that electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) scores for this group had returned to normal (healthy) values.
An additional 189 subjects from the same study (62%) showed signs of significant benefits, including improvements in one or more symptoms and/or significant improvements in ECG/EKG scores. Of the total of 304 subjects receiving the formula, only 15 patients (less than 4%) failed to show signs of improvement. Put in perspective, 95% of all participants experienced significant improvement after only six weeks of treatment.
In summarizing their findings the study authors noted that the formula’s ability to enhance blood SOD activity and reduce plasma LPO concentrations made it “an effective agent for improving and restoring myocardial functions.” Noting it’s ability to reduce pulmonary arterial pressure and pulmonary capillary wedge pressure, the researchers concluded that “the formula can be safely used for myocardial damage caused by various organic cardiopathies.”
2. Clinical Treatment of 52 Cases of Myocardial Ischemia
Myocardial ischemia occurs when blood flow to heart tissues is impaired, reducing the supply of oxygen and damaging heart tissues. The condition is usually caused by coronary artery disease. Animal experiments had previously shown that the formula improves cases of myocardial ischemia by restoring myocardial microcirculation, enhancing myocardial metabolism, raising serum levels of glutathione, and stimulating oxidation-reduction to reduce free radical damage to protect heart tissues and promote resistance to damage.
In this study researchers treated 52 patients diagnosed with myocardial ischemia with the new herbal formula. After four weeks of treatment the researchers noted improvements in clinical symptoms in 87% of the patients and improved electrocardiogram scores in 42% the patients.
3. Hemodynamic Effects in Patients with Congestive Heart Failure
Researchers measured the hemodynamic effects of the herbal blend on 32 patients diagnosed with congestive heart failure (CHF). Baseline readings of heart rate, blood pressure, mean right atrial pressure (MRAP), mean pulmonary arterial pressure (MPAP), pulmonary wedge pressure (PWP) and cardiac index (CI) readings were measured at the start of the study and again every hour for eight hours following treatment with the formula.
The study revealed that the formula reduced mean right atrial pressure (MRAP) and pulmonary wedge pressure (PWP), and improved the cardiac index (CI) (P<0.05) for a period of 4 hours after intake.
4. Improved Plasma Viscosity in 105 Patients with Coronary Artery Disease
Researchers measured the formula’s therapeutic effect on plasma viscosity levels in 105 patients diagnosed with coronary artery disease. After 40 days of treatment all patients showed statistically significant decreases in plasma viscosity. Importantly, the subgroup of patients with elevated blood viscosity also showed statistically significant decreases in plasma viscosity. The study authors concluded that “our results indicate that administration of the formula can decrease plasma viscosity and reduce the impact of this contributing factor on the progression of coronary heart disease and eventual heart infarction.”
5. Clinical Effects on 119 Cases Of Myocardial Damage
Researchers from the Cardiac Medicine Department of First Medical College, Xi’an, conducted a clinical trial on 119 patients diagnosed with coronary artery disease and myocardial damage caused by other organic heart disease. The subjects, 65 males and 54 females, received the herbal formula three times daily for a period of six weeks. The study outcome showed that it improved blood supply and oxygen delivery to heart tissues, thereby reducing symptoms such as angina and shortness of breath while improving electrocardiograms (i.e., improved S-T segment depression, T wave flatness and inversion).
6. Treatment of 54 Patients with Myocardial Damage
Researchers at Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine treated 54 patients hospitalized with myocardial damage caused by coronary artery disease. Patients were treated with the herbal formula for a period of six weeks. At the conclusion of the trial 22 subjects were diagnosed as recovered (i.e. clinical symptoms fully resolved and electrocardiogram S-T segments and T waves returned to normal). An additional 27 cases were deemed effective (i.e. symptoms were partially improved, accompanied by improvement or normalization of S-T segments and/or T waves). The total effective power for subjects receiving the formula was 90%. Clinical measurements also revealed that it increased SOD activity in red cells reduced LPO in plasma, and normalized blood pressure levels.
The study authors report that their findings indicate that this advanced herbal formula is an effective treatment for myocardial ischemia and is superior to propranolol, as demonstrated by the clearance of symptoms and improved EKG scores. It was found to benefit myocardial ischemia and myocardial damage from many types of heart disease, including myocarditis and coronary artery disease. In addition to being superior to propranolol for relieving clinical symptoms and improving ECG/ EKG readings, the formula was also determined to be free of side effects.
As a dietary supplement the formla is generally taken at a rate of 2 capsules, 3 times daily for optimal cardiovascular support. For increased restorative effect intake may be increased to 4 capsules, 3 times daily.