Saturday, June 13, 2009

Encouraging a Healthy Heart

Given that my heart has not had an 'attack' in spite of a rather large 70-90% blockage in a major artery, I can only assume that it's a good sturdy muscle. And given that I have further blockages, one of which - at 60% - is not treatable via angio-plasty due to it's position, let's just say that I am highly motivated to encourage my good sturdy heart to stay healthy. :)

As a non-smoker, non-drinker, reasonably active person who eats as healthy a diet as possible given a long list of food allergies, I found myself with few options in terms of lifestyle changes. Apart from adding more fibre and reducing the quantity of meat I eat, that was about it.

Genetics trump lifestyle.

After my diagnosis of food allergies and subsequent Calcium Deficiency Syndrome a number of years ago, I have done a fair amount of reading into nutrition. Since my diet is so restricted, my best option is to take handfuls of nutritional supplements to make sure I'm getting all the good fuel I need to stay as healthy as I can be.

It was with interest that I heard about a test called Digital Pulse Analysis which checks the health of a person's cardio-vascular system. The company also sells a nutritional supplement designed to encourage a healthy c-v system.

Last Wednesday I went to be tested. After discussing the previous 15 months and explaining what the DPA machine was all about, plus other nutritional approaches to a healthy c-v system, the retired RN ran the machine and discussed the print out with me.

I don't think either of us expected my c-v system to test younger than my actual age! I know that after the events of the previous months that *I* was surprised - and pleased.

So I bought a bottle of their Cardio Cocktail, will take it for 3 months and then get re-tested. Their website lists all of the ingredients so I knew there were no allergens. I also knew from previous reading that many of the listed ingredients were good, and learned about a couple new ones that I hadn't heard about before. Arginine and pomegranate juice.

I bought two types of pomegranate juice to see which I preferred - one with blueberries (which I find a bit syrup-y) and cranberry (which I haven't tried yet). I may also get some CoQ 10 enzymes which I'd read about previously and which Ann suggested would help speed the rest of the nutrients in their work.

Since getting off the Ezetrol and starting the Niacin therapy, my blood pressure has been - in a word - great! I'm thinking the Ezetrol was also causing me problems because I was only off it for a couple of days when my bp dropped and it's stayed nicely below 120/80 ever since.

It would seem that I finally have the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle right, and given the apparent health of my cardio-vascular system, I can look forward to a good many more years of weaving. Goodness knows, I've got way too much stash to give up weaving yet! :D

I would like to thank everyone who encouraged and supported me, especially those who are walking the same path. You gave me hope when it seemed hopeless. It would appear that I have finally found that 'new woman' so many medical professionals promised! While I had to dig deep to find the silver linings in amongst the clouds, they were there. And one of the best silver linings was knowing that so many people cared what was happening to me, and let me know.

Thank you. Thank you.


Sandra Rude said...

Terrific news! I'm so glad to hear it! And sorry it's taken so long to get that pesky bp settled down to an acceptable level. Good for you!

RuTemple said...

I'd like to learn more about niacin (or niacinimide, for less of a flush) in dealing with blood pressure issues - it makes sense but I'd never put it together with BP before.

If you ever see a juice out of SoCal called PomWonderful, it's the brainchild of some folks who planted orchards of pomegranates, and it is, in fact wonderful (if priced more in the "moderately-rare treat" category for our household; it's reasonable & fair to market price.) if you don't ever see it, let me know and we'll have to see about sending some over the border to you!
Glad to hear good things about your health & progress.

barbara said...

WOW - glad to hear that you are on the right track; must be a nice feeling that all your hard work and research is paying off! Good for you Laura, and I hope you have continued success in keeping your blood pressure down. I admire the way you do your research and leave "no stones unturned". It is a great feeling when you have lots of energy - I love days like that. Thanks for sharing your updates with us. Weaverly yours ... Barbara

Laura said...

Thanks Sandra. I know you understand. :)

Ru, it was the specialist who first mentioned niacin. Then I found a website for the Mayo Clinic. The page was about 'Niacin and Cholesterol' - if you go to the Mayo Clinic website and do a search, you should find the page. I then found other sites with more info.

My family dr did more research and so far - so very, very good. :D

The 'back of the mind' concern about the 60% blockage has been put somewhat at rest now that I feel I'm doing everything I can.

And yes, it feels fantastic to finally have some energy!!!

Peg in South Carolina said...

Fiber and small amounts of beef are really critical for a heart healthy diet. I am glad you are working that into your diet. The pulse thing is interesting insofar as I read a year or so ago, that the single biggest indicator of heart issues is a resting pulse of 80 or higher. I'm sure the test you are talking about is much more complex. Just thought I'd throw that into the works. Makes sense, as the higher the pulse, the harder the heart has to work.