What is hypercholesterolemia?
A soft, waxy substance found among the lipids in the bloodstream and in all your body’s cells is cholesterol. It’s an important part of a healthy body because it’s used to form cell membranes, some hormones and is needed for other functions. But a high level of cholesterol in the blood – hypercholesterolemia – is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, which leads to heart attack.
Types of cholesterol
There are several kinds, but the ones to focus on are
- Good: High-density cholesterol (HDL)
- Bad: Low-density cholesterol (LDL)
If too much LDL cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can slowly build up in the walls of the arteries feeding the heart and brain. Together with other substances, it can form plaque, a thick, hard deposit that can clog those arteries. This condition is known as atherosclerosis.
Ayurvedic Pathology of Heart Disease
In Ayurvedic practice, heart disease is known as “Hridroga”. Wrong-diet, emotional stress, mental trauma, increased salt intake, anxiety and overweight are major causes of heart diseases. Sometimes, heart disease is associated with arthritis or liver-ailments.Ayurveda recognises five types of “Hridroga”
- Vata Hrid Roga (Angina pectoris)
- Pitta Hrid Roga (Myocarditis)
- Kapha Hrid Roga (Organic disorders)
- Tridosha Hrid Roga
- Krimija Hrid Roga (Valvular heart disease)
Ayurvedic diagnosis of Hypercholesterolemia in Dr.Franklin's Panchakarma center
- According to Sushruta, the great Indian surgeon, Hrid Badha represents heart disease. Sushruta considers vitiation of Rasa, the first dhatu as primary factor responsible for heart disease.
- Meda dhatu represents fatty or adipose tissue of the body. Meda dhatu is an important constituent of the brain, spinal cord and nervous tissue. It maintains the internal temperature of the body.
- Factors that increase or aggravate Kapha results in an increase in Meda dhatu resulting in obesity.
The incidence of Santarpanottha Vikara (diseases arising due to excessive nutrition) has increased in current times. Medodushti (disorders of fat metabolism) is one of the important etiological factors in lifestyle diseases like Ischemic Heart Disease.Ischemic Heart Disease has been identified as a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in both developing as well as developed countries. Deposition of serum lipids and reduced oxygen supply to the coronary arteries is the underlying cause, ultimately resulting in Coronary Heart Disease (CHD).
Treatments for Hypercholesterolemia
- Drugs having katu vipaka (post-digestion effect) are generally said to be lekhaniya because of the predominance of Akasha (ether), Vayu (air) and Agni (fire). After the action of Dhatvagni and Bhutagni is over,lekhaniya dravya reduces Kapha, the water humor, and corresponding dhatu.
- Yava is considered to be having lekhana property, so they are highly useful in obesity.Yava is best lekhana dravya. Owing to these properties, yava helps to stabilize the biological fire, Agni in kosha, cleans the channels of circulation obstructed by Meda dhatu. On account of this, a person suffering from voracious appetite in medo roga feels normal hunger. Charaka has indicated guru and aptarpana chikitisa for obesity treatment.
- Black pepper (Piper nigrum) and Vayambu (Acorus calamus) are other examples which remove blockage from channels of circulation from Ayurvedic pharmacology point of view, dravya this action is known as Pramathi dravya.
- Lekhana Basti has been designed for Apatarpana (emaciation) of the body. In a clinical trial, 19 out of a total of 22 patients completed the course of Lekhana Basti.
Management of Heart Disease with Natural Supplements
Policosanol: Policosanol is found in sugar cane. Policosanol most probably decreases cholesterol production in the liver and increases the breakdown of bad cholesterol.
Omega-6-fatty acids: Omega-6-fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAS) and distributed in oils derived from safflower, corn, cottonseed, and soybean.Omega-6-fatty acids have a tendency to lower the bad cholesterol and inflammation, thereby protecting the heart.
Alpha-lipoic acid: Alpha-lipoic acid is a potent biological antioxidant and investigations have shown good cholesterol lowering property.
Artichoke extract: Studies have shown that Artichoke extract lowers the bad cholesterol.
Green tea extract: Green tea extract is a wonderful remedy for lowering LDL cholesterol.
Flaxseed: Flaxseed has the natural property of reducing high levels of serum triglycerides.
Some Tips for Lowering Cholesterol
- Ensure to consume 6 – 8 glasses of water on a daily basis.
- The routine should be started with oatmeals, a rich source of fiber.
- Consuming fish like salmon and tuna are beneficial in maintaining optimal levels of cholesterol.
- Ensure minimal consumption of dairy products as they are rich in dietary cholesterol. Use double toned milk.
- Use olive oil in cooking.
- Take lots of green vegetables and fruits so as to ensure sufficient supply of antioxidants to the body.
- Turmeric, fenugreek, and coriander are wonderful remedies for boosting good cholesterol.
So are you ready for the show? Following Ritucharya, Dincharya and other Ayurvedic regimens are helpful in alleviating high levels of blood cholesterol. More so, cost-effective, efficacious and standardized Ayurvedic medicines can control cholesterol after professional consultation.