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Wellness

What You Don’t Know About Your Heart And How It Works

Heart disease can come in many forms and we experience some form of heart disorder for most of our lives. Heart disease can be diagnosed at any time. But the symptoms may never arise unless we are in a life-threatening situation that requires immediate attention. Heart disease is typically defined as atherosclerosis, or the narrowing in the arteries that supplies the heart with oxygen. In most cases, heart disease is irreversible, although it can be treated with a regimen of medication and lifestyle changes.

If I had heard about heart disease as a child growing up in India, I don’t think I would have believed it to be a serious disease. There were a lot of doctors who were afraid of going to their own deaths as they would have to deal with it right away. Because of the lack of research and resources of my day, I didn’t realize that heart disease was even a real thing until I started working with Dr. Sudeep Madhavan while I was in medical school. He was the first doctor I saw who understood the importance of a healthy lifestyle in terms of heart health. He explained that when the heart is unable to deliver blood flow to all parts of the body, the blood accumulates in your arteries, which causes the narrowing. Once the narrowing becomes severe enough, it causes coronary artery disease (CAD). There are two types of heart attack – Ischemic and Coronary, but you’d never know that if you don’t understand why these form.

Cardiac diseases are not one disease or disorder but rather a collection of diseases that develop together. Dr. Madhavan was able to connect my interest in nutrition to the disease of the heart, since a healthy diet includes a high intake of fruit and vegetables along with whole grains, fish, and a healthy amount of healthy fat. He told me that while many people would think that heart disease is just a disease of the arteries (like the common cold), it is actually the end result of many of the diseases in the other parts of your body. One way to understand how heart disease occurs would be to look at the symptoms of coronary disease and look at the nutrition you have been eating over the years.

This is where I took a class from Dr. Madhavan that I’m not really sure if any readers have had to take before: The Comprehensive Cardiovascular Health Program. It is a two-day class that covers everything about the entire body of cardiovascular disease, with a focus on the prevention of heart disease. It helps you understand this disease better because it exposes the causes of these diseases in a non-linear fashion. You learn that cholesterol is not just a bad fat, but a molecule that is responsible for the build-up in the plaque in the arteries, which in turn leads to heart disease and stroke. This disease is caused by the buildup of fat in your arteries, which in turn is caused by the accumulation of blood and cholesterol in the artery walls. You have to understand that the entire pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease, and its prevention, can be broken down into a five-step process: The Inflammatory Response, The Atherogenic Response, The Atherogenic Response to Exercise, The Atherogenic Response to Stress, and The Atherogenic Response to Smoking.

Dr. Madhavan is an amazing and amazing man. I’m sure you will find many other things you’ll learn from this wonderful man. He has a way with words to make you realize that this disease is not what some people think it is. He takes time to explain everything in a way you, as a patient, can understand and deal with it better. If you are facing chronic heart disease, he is your man! I can’t recommend him enough to you!

If you find Dr. Sudeep on Facebook, where he has more to say about nutrition, cancer prevention, and other health issues, visit https://www.facebook.com/SudeviMD.