February is Heart Health Month! Oh isn’t it dreamy to be in love? At birth, if we were not loved, we would die. We would have no food, no fluids, no warmth, or cleanliness. When we are born love is a need. As we age it is still a need — a natural human need.
Guess what the number one cause of death is in the US? Heart disease. About 1,000,000 develop heart disease every year in the US. Just over 600,000 people die from heart disease every year in the US. I know one of the reasons these numbers are so high is because we simply don’t love enough. We don’t love ourselves enough to live well. How may years have people been talking about trans fats and high fructose corn syrup – and how many people still eat these foods on a daily basis – too many. In addition, the opposing hormones come more naturally to so many – fear, sadness, anger etc. Love releases “feel good” chemicals into our blood stream like oxytocin and vasopressin, which also create a bonding mechanism between people and things – and we just need more of it.
Stress opposes love, opposes ease. When we lose ease we step into dis-ease. Stress comes in many forms; broken relationships, financial hardships, illness or death of loved ones. Stress is as simple as living day to day with demanding schedules or the opposite – not enough to do.
Outside of the million cases of heart disease per year, a newer diagnosis surfaced in 1991 initially in Japan. The condition called Broken Heart Syndrome (BHS), did not gain recognition in the US until 2004. BHS is not true heart disease as it occurs as a result of a stressful event. The mind – heart connection is so powerful that we can actually experience the identical symptoms and attributes of a heart attack with the onset of any one of these highly emotional life-traumas, surprises or losses bring.
Sudden, emotional shocks literally stun the heart through the release and surge of stress hormones like adrenalin. A physical examination may reveal that the heart and arteries are perfectly healthy, but the emotional blow, throws the heart into temporary shock mode. This is the most absurd observation of stress and the heart.
The American Heart Association says that women over the age of 55 have three times more chance of experiencing BHS than younger women. This is also the age group of men and women who will suffer a true myocardial infarction. Aging itself is a stressor because we have lost our hormones – our batteries are gone. We can prevent most cases of heart disease that are associated with stress and age by replacing hormones with Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy. At the same time we have to be mindful of our stress levels. Nutrition is a huge part of inflammation, clogged arteries and heart disease – as is exercise.
After 10 years as a Cardiac Nurse and an additional 17 years experience as a Physician, I can tell you that heart disease is preventable. We must all start early and commit to self-care. We must honor ourselves and our life enough to slow down. As we start to slow down, we can than successfully choose to eat as nature intended us to. We have more time to move our bodies, as we are not meant to be stagnant beings and last but not least, we live a life of gratitude. Our heart, part of our heart chakra, is vulnerable to a lifestyle that lacks joy. Let’s all practice together ~ living a life of pure and utter joy, together. For me, its time to simplify.
Dr. Theresa Ramsey is a practicing physician, speaker, lifestyle expert, author of the best selling book, Healing 101: A Guide to Creating the Foundation for Complete Wellness, and a weekly guest expert on Arizona’s top morning show, Your Life A to Z. Dr. Ramsey has been nominated Phoenix Magazine’s Top Doc for two years in a row and recently selected as an eHow.com health expert, as well as the 2012 Natural Choice Award winning Naturopathic Physician. As a nationally recognized speaker, she elegantly bridges the gap between Allopathic and Naturopathic medicine educating patients & physicians on the language of wellness and root causes to illness & dis-ease.