Angina occurs especially under circumstances where the demands on the heart increases as in cases of stress, emotional excitement, exertion, high blood pressure or arteriosclerotic changes to the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. Angina can be described by tightness or a constricting sensation across the chest, especially on the left side, accompanied by pain or numbness that radiates down the arms (especially the left arm) or the back, throat or up the neck and jaw. There are also accompanying symptoms like nausea, vomiting, giddiness, pallor, tachycardia, breathlessness, increased perspiration and a state of fright and anxiety. This is a condition that needs immediate medical assistance. It is seen more commonly in males usually after the age of 40 and who have a strong family history of heart disease. Some of the risk factors for angina are smoking, alcoholism, hypertension, severe anxiety and emotional stress, dietary excesses or deficiencies, high cholesterol levels, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, diabetes mellitus, excessive salt intake, etc.
In case you feel you are getting an angina attack, raise the head end of your bed by three to four inches or sit on the edge of the bed with your feet on the floor. This will help to improve the blood flow in the legs. It is important to make the patient take strict bed rest for a day or two. Stop smoking completely since it constricts the blood vessels and makes the heart work harder. Excessive alcohol consumption produces many irregularities in the heart rate and also increases the cholesterol levels. So avoid taking alcohol. Regular exercising like brisk walking on a flat surface and swimming is useful since exercise helps to improve the blood flow to the heart. The person has to be warned against exerting himself too much or to do any strenuous activities. Doing yoga, meditation and deep breathing exercises helps avoid mental and physical stress and strain. It is important to treat and control the risk factors like diabetes mellitus, hypertension, obesity, high cholesterol, etc.
Some home remedies
Apple – Patients suffering from any heart ailment are advised to take plenty of apples in any form, including jam, made from apples.
Apple cider vinegar – In case of an attack, heat some apple cider vinegar and take a towel and wet it with the warm vinegar and apply it on the back and chest of angina sufferer until help arrives.
Asparagus – Taking freshly extracted juice of asparagus with honey in the proportion mentioned below: 4 tablespoon full of asparagus juice and one tablespoonful of honey.
Black raisins (dried grapes) – Soak a few dried raisins overnight in water and eat them in the morning along with the water in which they were soaked. Do this regularly.
Cinnamon – In cases of palpitation of the heart, chew on a piece of cinnamon (tuj).
Coriander seeds (dhania) – A mixture is made out of powdered coriander seeds (dhania), aniseed (saunf) and jaggery in equal quantities and about six grams of this mixed powder should be taken after each meal by the patient suffering from palpitation of the heart.
Date (khajoor) – Soak a few dates overnight in water and eat them in the morning along with the water in which they were soaked. Do this regularly.
Fibre – Increase the intake of fiber that is found in whole-grain cereals, fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables (especially asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, carrots, legumes, pumpkin, salads, spinach and sweet potatoes). Increase the intake of pulses also.
Fish – Taking oily fish like salmon, sardines, herring, trout and mackerel is allowed but a vegetarian diet is preferable.
Fresh fruit juice – Fresh fruit juices, especially grape and apple juice are very useful cardiac tonics.
Garlic – Take two to three cloves of fresh garlic daily in the morning for a few months.
Guava – I recommend my patients to regularly eat one ripe guava daily on an empty stomach to prevent angina pectoris.
Honey – One tablespoon of honey should be taken daily after meals.
Indian gooseberry (amla) – One medium sized Indian gooseberry (amla) should be taken daily in the morning for a few days. Dry pieces of amla can be chewed or other preparations of the same in the form of murabba, pickle, juice, etc. can be taken liberally.
Lemon – The peel of one or two lemons may be cut up finely, covered with warm water and allowed to stand for about twelve hours and a teaspoonful of this should be taken every three hourly or immediately before or after a meal. Shredded lemon peel of lemon can be added to soups and stews or sprinkled over salads.
Oil – Using polyunsaturated oils like corn, safflower and soyabean are useful since they contain linoleic acid, which is essential for the body‟s utilization of fat. Safflower oil has proved beneficial in lowering blood cholesterol and can thus be safely used by persons suffering from any cardiovascular problem.
Olives / Olive oil – Olives are rich in potassium, hence eating few olives regularly are good for the heart. Similarly using olive oil for cooking adds extra benefit by reducing the risk of heart disease.
Onion – A teaspoonful of raw onion juice should be taken on an empty stomach daily in the morning.
Vegetable juices – A combination of any of the following vegetable juices is useful – beetroot, carrot, celery leaves (ajwan-ka-patta), parsley and spinach (palak).
Vitamin E-rich food – Increase the intake of food rich in vitamin E, which improves the circulation and muscle strength of the heart.
What to avoid – Avoid salt, sugar, eggs, red meat, milk and milk products, fatty food, fried food, caffeine products, groundnut or coconut or palm oils, tea, coffee, etc. Yogurt – A dish of yogurt and applesauce should be taken daily to keep the arteries clean and unclogged. Kindly also follow the advice and home remedies mentioned in the chapters of „Cholesterol‟ and „Hypertension‟.