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Focusing on circulatory disorders

Published:Tuesday | February 10, 2015 | 12:00 AM

FEBRUARY IS Heart Month during which special focus is placed on heart disease. The heart is a central part of your circulatory system. Your heart beats several billion times in your lifetime to pump thousands of gallons of blood carrying vital nutrients and oxygen through over 70,000 miles of blood vessels to the various cells and organs in your body. This is your circulation at work, and the health of your circulatory system is vitally important to your overall well-being.

Circulatory disorders like heart disease and strokes kill and incapacitate more people than any other health problem. Common diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure do much of their damage by their destructive effects on your circulation. Dementia and Alzheimer's disease is strongly linked to disturbances in the circulation to the brain. Deterioration to sight and hearing is often as a result of abnormalities in the circulation. And swollen discoloured feet, bulging veins, and cramping muscles may also reflect bad circulation.

Also note that the male ego-destroying problem of erectile dysfunction is often also a circulatory disorder. So many problems with a single underlying cause!

A Healthy Lifestyle

It is well-known that healthy lifestyle practices can go a long way in the prevention and correcting of circulatory disorders. A healthy diet with emphasis on vegetables, fruit, high-fibre foods, adequate healthy protein, and healthy fluids is vital. Regular exercise, optimal weight control, and stress management will also play a vital role in circulatory health.

Nutritional Supplements

Several vitamins, minerals, and other natural substances have been shown to benefit circulatory health. These include the omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil and flax, the B vitamins, CoEnzyme Q10, the mineral magnesium, and the herbs ginkgo biloba, pycnogenol, aloe vera, and garlic.

Boost Nitric Oxide Production

A simple molecule called Nitric Oxide (NO) was proclaimed, 'Molecule of the Year' in 1992. Among its many functions is an important agent in regulating blood flow and maintaining cardiovascular health. The cells lining our blood vessels actually produce NO, which causes the blood vessels to dilate and blood flow to increase. As we age, we produce less NO and our circulation suffers.

Boosting the body's production of NO is a useful strategy in improving our circulation and reducing the risk of problems like heart disease and stroke. Exercise increases NO production, as does a diet high in protein and fresh vegetables and fruit. Adequate sleep and healthy stress management also enhances NO. Interestingly, the very popular Viagra group of drugs works to improve blood flow to the penis by increasing levels of nitric oxide.

There are also specific agents like the amino acids arginine and ornithine that improve the body's production of NO. These are available as nutritional supplements.

Chelation Therapy

As we age, the walls of our arteries undergo changes commonly referred to as hardening of the arteries. With this process, the vessels lose their elasticity, the circulation is disturbed, and problems like high blood pressure result. A major cause of this is the accumulation of metallic substances like calcium in these tissues.

Chelation therapy is a treatment used by doctors to remove the excess accumulation of calcium and other toxic minerals from the blood vessel walls and other tissues and thus reverse hardening of the arteries and improve the circulation. Research has demonstrated the ability of this therapy to benefit people suffering from a variety of circulatory-related problems. Intravenous chelation therapy has been found to be the most effective form, but oral types of chelation therapy have more recently been developed. You may want to consider these methods of improving your circulation and preventing disease.

You may email Dr Vendryes at tonyvendryes@gmail.com or listen to An Ounce of Prevention on POWER106FM on Fridays at 8:15 p.m. Details of his new book, 'An Ounce of Prevention - Particularly for Men' is available on his website www.tonyvendryes.com.