Title: The Heart of The Matter
Valentine's Day is just around the corner and February is heart health month.
So we're going to talk about heart health.
If you or a loved one have ever suffered from any kind of cardiovascular health problem, whether it's high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels that could be creating a situation where there's plaque buildup inside the arteries also known as atherosclerosis.
Maybe you or a loved one has suffered from a heart attack or you've had a procedure where you've had to have a stent placed into your arteries to increase blood flow.
When was the last time that your cardiologist spoke to you and asked you a really powerful but simple question how happy are you? has your cardiologist discussed with you situations where you may have symptoms of feeling depressed or may have been diagnosed with depression low moods, you feel angry or frustrated and all of these negative emotions have a role to play in the development and in the risk for potential heart disease and heart attacks.
My name is Dr. Faryal Luhar, a naturopathic doctor and as a naturopath, I'm always asking my patients about all the different organ systems not just their physical symptoms but also mental and emotional because everything is connected all the organ systems are connected and when we look at studies now, we can see that there's a clear link between people who have been diagnosed with some kind of depression and their predisposition for developing heart disease and even heart attack, but the reverse is also true.
Studies are now showing us that people who have suffered a heart attack or have had some kind of cardiovascular surgery will eventually predisposed to developing depression.
So, let's get to the heart of the matter and talk about the link. There are a few factors that link these two situations depression and heart disease, and one of the main things is inflammation.
So, we know that heart disease is definitely a consequence of high inflammatory markers in the body.
This is the same for depression, depressed individuals have shown high levels of inflammatory markers like CRP and interleukins and so on and so there's clearly a link there.
There's also a link where by depressed individuals have an abnormal sympathetic nervous system response, what this means is that their brain is constantly sending messages for their adrenal glands to release a hormone called cortisol.
Cortisol is a stress hormone. However, when there's a constant output of cortisol and even another stress hormone called noradrenaline this actually starts to increase heart rate and it impacts the ability to recover from a stress so they are constantly in a fight or flight mode.
And this predisposes to developing heart disease and even a heart attack.
Another phenomenon that's been found in research is that depressed individuals have potentially low levels of Serotonin and serotonin if it's low can actually impact the lining of the arteries known as the endothelium and you can get endothelial disfunction.
The endothelium or the lining of the artery is really important in heart health, because this is where the ability to increase levels of nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels is important.
And there's also the contributing risk factor for thicker blood more viscous blood because of higher platelets being produced which has been found in depressed individuals and this also impacts blood flow and the delivery of nutrients to the heart through the arteries, which can potentially create blockages in the arteries.
So it's really important to consider the mental emotional with the physical and to understand and appreciate that if you're starting to feel depressed for prolonged periods.
This is a very strong predictor of developing heart disease and if there's a family history genetics certainly also do play a role in predisposing one to developing coronary events.
So it’s really important to take preventive measures whether it's things like stress management and stress reduction techniques being out in nature enjoying just you know, taking walks, trying to bring down that sympathetic fight or flight response and mindfulness based practices meditation and so on taking certain very, very powerful natural medicines such as Omega-3s, turmeric, you know, which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and even things like coenzyme Q10 and magnesium which are really powerful for the function of the heart.
So, of course, you have to speak to your doctor or a naturopathic doctor who can provide you with the correct dosing and the correct regimen for your specific case, but it's really, really important and essential that we look after our mental health and our emotional health because that does impact the heart and the heart also impacts mental and emotional health.
Thank you for watching.