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Healthy Hearts -The Naturopathic Approach

by Ronald Steriti, NMD, PhD

 

Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic medicine is a system of medicine that emphasizes natural therapies: botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, classical homeopathy, hydrotherapy (the therapeutic use of water), acupuncture and physical medicine (chiropractic adjustments).

Naturopathic medical schools are four-year, full-time, accredited medical schools. There are four accredited naturopathic medical schools in the United States. Currently there are only 12 fully trained naturopathic medical doctors in Florida, most of whom are in their eighties. Florida now has a 2-year naturopathic medical school for those with MD, DO or DC degrees.

 

Vis medicatrix naturae: The Healing Power of Nature

Inherent in every living being is a healing power that works toward: Self-repair, Self-organization, and Self-actualization. Naturopathic medicine attempts to optimize this innate healing response using diet, exercise, lifestyle, and specific nutritional intervention.

 

Tolle Causum: Find the Cause

To truly diagnose a patient is to identify not just the constellation of symptoms, but to ascertain the cause of the patient’s symptoms. Once the cause is identified, the treatment regimen is likely to become clear.

 

Effective Diagnosis and Treatment

The only purpose of diagnosis is to find an effective treatment. Effective treatment leads to a permanent resolution of symptoms and a healthier way of living.

The man of the present day would far rather believe that disease is connected only with immediate causes, for the fundamental tendency in the modern view of life is always to seek what is most convenient.    

- Rudolf Steiner, The Manifestations of Karma

 

Health

Health is homeostasis (balance). Health is having homeodynamic mechanisms that are capable of keeping the body’s physiology in balance despite ever-present harmful environmental influences.

Symptoms are not the disease. Symptoms are the body’s homeodynamic response to underlying functional imbalances. Symptoms are the body’s attempt to: re-establish balance, restore function, and restore health.

When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot become manifest, strength cannot be exerted, wealth becomes useless, and reason is powerless.

- Herophilus

 

The Conventional Medical Model - Causes

Essential or primary hypertension: over 90% of hypertension has no identified cause. Secondary causes of hypertension include four areas:

Renal parenchymal disease: Glomerulonephritis, Pyelonephritis, Polycystic kidneys, collagen disease (polyarteritis nodosa, scleroderma, SLE), analgesic nephropathy, diabetes, irradiation, amyloidosis, and heavy metal poisoning (lead and cadmium).

Renal ischemia or stenosis is associated with elevated renin levels and can be caused by atheroma, fibromuscular dysplasia, renal emboli, and congenital stenosis.

Endocrine causes include: Primary aldosteronism (low potassium), hyperparathyroidism (due to calcium stones), Pheochromocytoma, Hyperthyroidism, Cushing's syndrome, ovarian dysgenisis and mineralocorticoid excess, inborn errors of steroid metabolism (17-alpha or beta Hydroxylase deficiency, Liddle’s syndrome), acromegaly, and myxedema. Hypertension is a feature of a variety of adrenal cortical abnormalities. High blood pressure is common in hypothyroidism and usually falls with appropriate treatment.

Drug induced hypertension can be caused by birth control pills (estrogens stimulate the hepatic synthesis of the angiotensinogen), NSAID's, decongestants, antidepressants, sympathimometics, cocaine, corticosteroids, mineralocorticoids, vasopressin, many industrial chemicals, corticosteroids, ergotamine alkaloids, lithium, and cyclosporine.

The Naturopathic Medical Model

 

Lipoprotein Factors

Total Cholesterol

·      Elevated levels have long been associated with increased CVD risk. A better evaluation is obtained when it is compared with HDL levels.

HDL Cholesterol

·      Patients with high HDL have a lower risk

LDL Cholesterol

·      LDL is the most atherogenic of the lipoproteins and is the main cholesterol found in the serum

Triglycerides

·      High triglycerides are an indisputable risk factor for CVD. It has been increasingly shown to be responsive to the carbohydrate content of diet

Lipoprotein (a) and apolipoprotein(a)

·      Both are complexed with LDL.

·      Lp(a) is associated with the development of atherosclerosis. It is a strong indicator of cerebrovascular disease

 

Chronic Inflammatory Markers

C-Reactive Protein

·      CRP is a general marker of inflammation.

Ferritin

·      Ferritin is an important marker of cardiovascular health. High levels are found in ischemic heart disease, iron overload and hemochromatosis

Fibrinogen

·      In states of tissue injury or inflammation, elevated fibrinogen is associated with early CVD

 

Oxidative Stress Factors

Coenzyme Q10

·      CoQ10 is critical to the generation of mitochondrial ATP. The demand for Q10 by cardiac muscle is great. Statin drugs inhibit its synthesis.

Vitamin E

·      Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps prevent the oxidation of LDL

Homocysteine

·      Elevated homocysteine is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Homocysteine metabolism depends on B6, B12, folate and TMG.

 

Other Factors

Magnesium

·      Magnesium plays many vital roles in preventing CVD, controlling blood pressure, and improving HDL levels. Magnesium relaxes muscles.

Insulin

·      Insulin insensitivity and the ensuing Syndrome X is now recognized as a major contributing factor to the development of CVD.

Testosterone

·      Normalization of testosterone levels improves cardiac function and functional capacity.

 

Hormone Replacement therapy

 

July 9, 2002 — More than 16,000 women participating in a major clinical trial will be ordered to stop taking hormone medication this week after tests revealed that the 6 million other American women taking the drugs may be at risk. To the surprise and disappointment of researchers and women all over the world, new data shows that the hormones may actually cause more harm than good.

Five years into the trial the results have found that taking the combination therapy

            * increased a woman's risk of invasive breast cancer by 26 percent

            * increased the risk of strokes by 41 percent

            * increased the risk of blood clots by 100 percent.

 

In addition, the researchers were stunned to find the therapy did not decrease the risk of coronary heart disease, as was anticipated. In fact, women in the treatment group saw their risk of heart attack increased by 29 percent.

Results of the trial, called the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) will be published in the July 17, 2002, issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, but have been released early due to the significance of the results and the scope of patients affected.

Dr. Michael Fleming, speaker of the congress for the American Academy of Family Physicians, states that “All women need to be re-evaluated and counseled.”

Women in the treatment group received a commonly prescribed combination of estrogen and progesterone, which is sold in the U.S. under the trade name Prempro, while women in the non-treatment group received placebos, or “sugar pills.”

 

Years of Unsafe Medicine?

“How did it come to be that one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the country was used for decades in so many millions of women before its long-term effects were ever studied systematically?” said Dr. Jerry Ovarian, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of pharmaco-epidemiology at Brigham & Women's Hospital, Boston. “This is an example of a big gap in U.S. health care and science policy regarding prescription drugs; once a company gets FDA approval for one use (in this case, treatment of the immediate symptoms of menopause, e.g., hot flashes), use can metastasize out of control for any number of other indications for which efficacy and safety have not been demonstrated,” says Avron.

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