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Heart Facts with Ayurveda

Heart Facts with Ayurveda

Understanding Coronary Disease

Cardiovascular Disease; Ayurveda terms and Symptomatology

Cardiovascular Disease from an Ayurvedic Perspective.

Ayurveda classifies Cardiovascular Disease under the following:

Ø  Adibalapravrutta: Hereditary Cardiovascular Disease e.g. metabolic diseases

Ø  Janmabalapravrutta: Congenital Cardiovascular Disease

Ø  Doshabala pravrutta: Vata, Pitta, Kapha, Sannipatika

Ø  Sanghatabalapravrutta: (a) Traumatic. (b) Poisoning

Ø  Kalabalapravrutta: Environmental or seasonal

Ø  Upasargaja: Infectious diseases e.g. Endocarditis, Myocarditis, Pericarditis

Ø  Swabhavabalakruta: Natural diseases e.g. ageing, death

Ø  Adhyatmika: Psychological factors leading to Cardiovascular Disease or hypertension

Ø  Daivabalakruta: Idoipathic, bad luck due to bad deeds of previous lives.

For each of the above classifications of Cardiovascular Disease Ayurveda has a different treatment approach

Symptomatology - Ayurveda

Pathogenesis of Heart problems

•Cardiac problems arise mainly due to improper diet and stressful life styles. " These lead to thickening of arteries (dhamani praticaya) or hardening of arteries (dhamani kathinaya) resulting in angio-obstruction (vata dosa) and angina (ruja). “

•High blood pressure that hammers the arterial walls roughens them and causes the arterial wall to thicken.

•Fatty cholesterol particles get deposited under the inner lining of the arteries (i.e. atherosclerosis). The higher the pressure more the deposits will occur.

•Subsequently these deposits become calcified due to fibrous growth and involved arteries lose their elasticity. It prevents blood from flowing easily and may lead to clotting.

•The clot formation can suddenly choke off the blood supply and lead to a heart attack, stroke or kidney failure.

Causes of heart disease in Ayurveda

| Vayaam tikshna ati virechak vasti chinta bhay trasgada atichaara |
|| Chardaam sandharan karsonani haidogkartani thataabhigath ||
[ch chikitsha xxvi/70 ]

ØPhysical exertion

ØDrastic & excessive purgation & enema.




ØFaulty management of disorder

ØSuppression of vomiting & ama.


Cause of Heart Disease ??

•Many of us are told that cholesterol is the main culprit behind Heart Disease. BUT

•More than half of Heart Attack patients in US have normal cholesterol levels. & today's research says that the inflammation of blood vessels is the main cause.

Symptoms of Heart Disease

| Vavivaraya murcha jwara kash hikka swasasya vairasya trisna promoha|
|| Chardi kapho utklesh rujo aruchich hridogaja shuvirvidhasthaannyte||
[ch. chikitsh. xxvi/71]

ØAbnormal Complexion.


ØFever due to Inflammatory heart disease.


ØHiccough due to mitral Regurgitation or stenosis (narrowing).


ØDistaste of mouth due to coronary insufficiency.

ØTendency of Emesis.



ØChest Pain


Types of cardiovascular disease and their relation to Ayurvedic evaluation

The cardiovascular system consists of the heart and all blood vessels throughout the body. Diseases ranging from aneurysms to valve disease are types of cardiovascular disease.

A person may be born with some types of cardiovascular disease (congenital) or acquire others later on, usually from a lifetime of unhealthy habits, such as smoking, which can damage the arteries and cause atherosclerosis.

Some specific terms used to describe the various forms of cardiovascular disease are:

Coronary artery disease.

This is a common form of cardiovascular disease. Coronary artery diseases are diseases of the arteries that supply the heart muscle with blood. Sometimes known as CAD, coronary artery disease is the leading cause of heart attacks. It generally means that blood  flow through the coronary arteries has become obstructed, reducing blood flow to the heart  muscle. The most common cause of such obstructions is a condition called atherosclerosis, a largely preventable type of vascular disease. Coronary artery disease and the resulting reduced blood flow to the heart muscle can lead to other heart problems, such as chest pain (angina) and heart attack (myocardial infarction).

Ayurveda views atherosclerosis according to the symptoms.

Degeneration of the blood vessels is caused by increased Vata in the blood vessels, which make them hard, thin, dry and rough. Deposits of lipids and calcium represent deposition of Kapha (water & earth element) in the degenerated vessels resulting in irregular thickening of blood vessels. Ayurveda therefore concludes that this disease is caused by an increase of Vata and vitiation of Kapha in the blood vessels.

Heart attack.

A heart attack is an injury to the heart muscle caused by a loss of blood supply. The medical term for heart attack is "myocardial infarction," often abbreviated MI. A heart attack usually occurs when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood through a coronary artery — a blood vessel that feeds blood to a part of the heart muscle. Interrupted blood flow to the heart can damage or destroy a part of the heart muscle.

Coronary Artery Disease causing heart attack

Arteriosclerosis This is a chronic disease of the arterial system resulting in the abnormal thickening of and hardening of the walls of the blood vessels. Smooth muscle cells and collagen fibres migrate into the tunica intima, causing stiffness and thickening, which gradually narrow the arterial lumen. It is believed that changes in the lipid, cholesterol and phospholipid metabolism within the tunica intima also contribute to arteriosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the most common vascular disease, being the main cause of death in approximately 50% to 60% of people in the developed world. It is the main cause of ischaemic coronary Cardiovascular Disease, carotid artery stenosis by occlusion or thromboembolism. In turn, this can cause ischaemia in the cerebral arteries, presenting either as transient ischaemic attack or cerebral infarction. Abdominal aortic atherosclerotic aneurysm, where the main artery in the abdomen becomes abnormally wide with a thin wall, can burst. Peripheral vascular disease (PVD), which causes intermittent claudication or gangrene of the extremities, pain in the legs when walking, can be relieved by rest.


Cardiomyopathy means diseases of the heart muscle. Some types of cardiomyopathy are genetic, while others occur for reasons that are less well understood.


Types of cardiomyopathy include

·         ischemic, which is caused by death or loss of heart muscle from reduced coronary blood flow;

·         dilated, which means the heart chambers are enlarged;

·         hypertrophic, which means the heart muscle is thickened; and

·         idiopathic, which means the cause is unknown.

One of the most common types of cardiomyopathy is idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy — an enlarged heart without a known cause.

Ayurveda would look at this as being associated with a pathology of Mamsa dhatu; and a blockage, caused by toxins in the Mamsa Vaha srotas.

Congenital heart disease.

Congenital heart disease refers to a form of heart disease that develops before birth, (congenital). Congenital heart disease is a broad term and includes a wide range of diseases and conditions. These diseases can affect the formation of the heart muscle or its chambers or valves. They include such conditions as narrowing of a section of the aorta (coarctation) or holes in the heart (atrial or ventricular septal defect). Some congenital heart defects may be apparent at birth, while others may not be detected until later in life.


An aneurysm is a bulge or weakness in a blood vessel (artery or vein) wall. Aneurysms usually get bigger over time. Because of that, they have the potential to rupture and cause life-threatening bleeding. Aneurysms can occur in arteries in any location in your body. The most common sites include the abdominal aorta and the arteries at the base of the brain.

Ayurveda classifies aneurysm as gulma and understands that this is caused by weakness of muscular tissue (Mamsa) and an increase in Vata

Valvular heart diseases.

These are diseases of the heart valves. Four valves within your heart keep blood flowing in the right direction. Valves may be damaged by a variety of conditions leading to narrowing (stenosis), leaking (regurgitation or insufficiency) or improper closing (prolapse). People may be born with valvular disease, or the valves may be damaged by such conditions as rheumatic fever, infections (infectious endocarditis), connective tissue disorders, and certain medications or radiation treatments for cancer.

Pericardial diseases. 

These are diseases of the sac that encases the heart (pericardium). Pericardial disorders include inflammation (pericarditis), fluid accumulation (pericardial effusion) and stiffness (constrictive pericarditis). These can occur alone or together. The causes of pericardial disease vary, as do the problems they may lead to. For instance, pericarditis can occur after a heart attack and, as a result, lead to pericardial effusion or chest pain. From and Ayurvedic perspective the inflammation (pericarditis) is associated with Pitta, while fluid accumulation (pericardial effusion) with Kapha and stiffness (constrictive pericarditis) with Vata.

Heart failure.

Heart failure, often called congestive heart failure, is a condition in which the heart can't pump enough blood to meet the needs of your body's organs and tissues. It doesn't mean your heart has failed and can't pump blood at all. With this less effective pumping, vital organs don't get enough blood, causing such signs and symptoms as shortness of breath, fluid retention and fatigue. "Congestive" heart failure is technically reserved for situations in which heart failure has led to fluid buildup in the body. Not all heart failure is congestive, but the terms are often used interchangeably. Heart failure may develop suddenly or over many years. It may occur as a result of other cardiovascular conditions that have damaged or weakened the heart, such as coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathy.   

Ayurveda recognises that a mild disturbance in the balance of Vata, Pitta and Kapha in the heart muscle results in the impairment of the cardiac function, which is usually compensated by increasing the heart rate and increasing the force of ventricular contraction. Marked disturbance in the balanced state of Vata, Pitta and Kapha in the heart muscle give rise to uncompensated heart failure.

High blood pressure.

High blood pressure (hypertension) is the excessive force of blood pumping through your blood vessels. It's perhaps the most common form of cardiovascular disease in the Western world, affecting about one in four Americans. Although potentially life-threatening, it's one of the most preventable and treatable types of cardiovascular disease. High blood pressure also causes many other types of cardiovascular disease, such as stroke and heart failure.

Ayurveda has no corresponding condition in the ancient texts, rather the varying symptoms are described in various sections. P.V. Sharma suggests that Rakta Vata is possibly the most appropriate ayurvedic equivalent. The cause is generally due to a low agni which causes toxins (ama) along with increased Kapha and deposits of fat like substances in the blood vessels in the body resulting an disturbance of Vyana Vata in Rasa and Raktavaha srotas which triggers hypertension. 


A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted (ischemic stroke) or when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures (hemorrhagic stroke). Both can cause the death of brain cells in the affected areas. Stroke is also considered a neurological disorder because of the many complications it causes. Other forms of cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, increase your risk of stroke.

Peripheral arterial disease and claudication.

Peripheral arterial disease is a disorder in which the arteries supplying blood to your limbs — usually your legs — become narrowed or blocked. When this happens, legs receive less blood than they need to keep up with demand. Claudication may then develop. "Claudication" — which usually refers to pain in legs during exercise.

When the obstruction is mild, you may have such symptoms as pain in your legs only during strenuous exercise. As the disease progresses and arteries become more obstructed, you may have pain or cramping in your legs even at rest. 


Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias) occur when the electrical impulses in the heart that coordinate heartbeats don't function properly, causing the heart to beat too fast, too slow or irregularly. Other forms of cardiovascular disease can cause arrhythmias.

Stable Angina

Also known as Angina pectoris is chest pain caused by myocardial ischemia. It usually last from 3 to 5 minutes and if the blood flow is restored no permanent change or damage results. It is usually experienced by chest discomfort ranging from a sensation of heaviness or pressure to moderately severe pain. Discomfort may radiate to the neck, lower jaw, left arm and left shoulder, or occasionally to the back or down the right arm. Discomfort is commonly mistaken for indigestion.

Stable angina is caused by gradual luminal narrowing and hardening of the arterial walls, so that affected vessels cannot dilate in response to increased myocardial demand associated with physical exertion or emotional stress.

Prinzmetal angina.

Prinzmetal angina is chest pain attributed to transient ischemia of the myocardium that occurs unpredictably and almost exclusively at rest. Pain is caused by vasospasm of one or more major coronary arteries with or without associated atherosclerosis. The pain often occurs at night during rapid eye-movement sleep and may have a cyclic pattern of occurrence. The angina may occur from hyperactivity of the sympathetic nervous system, increases calcium flux in arterial smooth muscle or impaired production or release of prostaglandin or thromboxane.

Silent Ischemia.

Myocardial ischemia often does not cause detectable symptoms such as angina. Ischemia can be totally asymptomatic which is referred to as silent ischemia. People who do not experience angina often have silent episodes of myocardial ischemia.

Mental Stress induced Ischemia.

Recent study has suggested that an artery is occluded in some individuals during mental stress. Rozansky documented myocardial ischemia by radionuclide angiography (RNA) during mental stress, the majority of cases (83%) were silent – without recognizable symptoms. These observations confirmed in similar studies, suggest that the increases in blood pressure induced by mental stress and the increase in myocardial oxygen demand play a role in the pathophysiology of mental stress-induced myocardial ischemia.

Chronic stress has been linked to a hypercoagulable state that may contribute to acute ischemic events.


Hypertensive Cardiovascular Disease is generally

1. Left ventricular hypertrophy in the absence of other cariovascular pathology and 2. A history of hypertension. Hypertension strongly predisposes to atherosclerosis and so most patients with elevated blood pressure have significant coronary atherosclerosis. The vascular disease increases peripheral resistance and viscosity in the arteries. The heart then must maintain a normal cardiac output against this increased peripheral resistance and can accomplish this only by hypertrophy of myofibres causing cardiac enlargement

Heart Facts with Ayurveda Heart Facts with Ayurveda Reviewed by Asrog on August 28, 2019 Rating: 5

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