February is now one of many months with new meanings. One of them is now “heart health”. I love this month because my mother and my wife have birthdays in the month- February. Heart health has more than one meaning for me.
My mother’s mother died in her late 40’s from a chronically ill heart that she had since birth. Her name was Cecilia and she was a 1st generation US citizen from parents from Ireland. Cecilia’s mother died when she was a small child; then her older sister did her best to raise her in a home of one father and two brothers who would be known in the neighborhood of Philadelphia as fierce fighters and drinkers. Her sister died young and unmarried and left Cecilia in a home with demanding and ranting men who could not close the gaps necessary to balance the subtle and great balances of a happy family. Cecilia was told that her heart was weak and she took nitroglycerine when she felt her heart give her trouble.
Cecilia got through life with grim determination and tiny pills. She married a man who did not drink and took in her father in a row home in Philadelphia and wanted children desperately. She was told her heart would not be strong enough for childbirth. To prevent childbirth she had to use birth control and a signed letter of the Pope Pius XII (that is what my Mom told me) which allowed her to be a true Catholic on birth control.
Despite a lifetime of living with a “weak heart” she did want a child and had my mother in February. Cecilia survived giving birth. My mother was Cecilia’s only child.
Nineteen years later Cecilia and my mother lost their own fathers within weeks of each other. My mother was 19. Cecilia lost her much loved husband and father and my mother lost her father and grandfather who lived in their home her whole life.
Months later Cecilia collapsed and died. Everyone knew that it was her heart. It had survived so much and could not take more. My mother has a heart murmur and a history of Scarlet fever, Strep, and Rheumatic fever. She was always leary of being 48, the age her parents died and she survives today at 78.
Our hearts are our lifeline and are affected by many factors of our life. In the story we can see that Cecilia’s heart finally stopped from heart ache. Not from a childhood full of stress, giving birth or caring for a child, husband and father. It is called “Broken Heart Syndrome”, which is a diagnosable condition:
What was wrong with Cecilia’s heart? If we had to guess she had Angina Pectoris based on the fact that she used nitro glycerine to relieve her condition. Angina is from Greek, which means “strangling” Pectoris only means chest. Having that diagnosis means you have a strangling feeling in your chest. Which people know before the doctor tells them it is Angina Pectoris. It is usually the last diagnosis a modern trained cardiologist will give. The reason is clear. First, the cardiologist must rule out the most severe causes to the pain. A heart attack or a myocardial infarction will be the first place to go. They can only diagnose through blood draw to see if certain enzymes (proteins are enzymes and enzymes are all protein but not all proteins are enzymes) are in the blood. If there are; the heart muscle was damaged and its cells were killed and then released certain enzymes. Then they need to do an EKG which will measure the electrical pulse of the heart as it travels through the chest. If there is a “blockage” of the pulse it tells the physician that the heart has been damaged and the muscle is dead. Now you have the diagnosis. Myocardial- Heart Muscle. Infarction-loss of blood causing death of tissue.
If the EKG is clear and the enzymes are not found you are still not out of the waters. A stress test will be done to see if the heart is weakened with exercise. If all is clear you get the last choice but the best diagnosis- Angina.
The most overlooked factor to heart disease is nutrition. It is confusing to bring up nutrition because we all have different ways of thinking of it. So for clarification, I will tell you mine is simple but it is hard to take in with our present day world of data, words and misuse of facts.
Nutrition is real food grown from earth. All “nutrients” come from living cells and soil. Nature makes all the vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, enzymes, sugars, fats, basically food. Man made “nutrients” are but an attempt to copy nature to sell foods cheaply…basically, we try to force our present understanding of chemistry onto the foods we eat and we have allowed ourselves to be mislead. We do pay less money to put things in our mouth but the hidden costs are our diminished health.
This last paragraph can be hard to understand my meaning. So below is a diagram to help. This diagram is what natural vitamin E looks like. This is what green plants make or made with these components in order and precise arrangement. You are looking at natural vitamin E made by nature (cells) not a lab. The makers of foods and vitamins are required by the government to “fortify” foods. Many processes which make it possible to put foods into bags, boxes and cans to have a longer shelf life destroy many vitamins that were in the original form. Manufactured vitamin E comes from 2 sources-one of them is from vegetable oils and the other from petroleum with a touch of radiation.
The government has set policy that Vit E is nothing more than alpha tocopherol. This is the most active form of the tocopherols but as you can see it is only a small part to what nature makes. Since the late 1800’s we have used roll presses to render flour from wheat. This causes most of the natural vitamin E (Natural B vitamins as well) to be destroyed.
The tocopherols on the border of Vit E above are there to protect the inner parts like a wrapper. It protects the more delicate center from oxidation (spoil/decay) which causes free radicals. That is why you may only know Vit E as an antioxidant only, because you have been educated that Vit E is (only) alpha tocopherol. I do not have the time to go into all the parts, however you can find out more about this concept by looking up: Royal Lee and Westin Price.
What I do want to finish with is the one aspect to Natural Vit E and that is the E2. This could have made my grandmother’s heart better. E2 acts like nitroglycerine for the vascular system. In addition it makes it easier for the heart muscles to get oxygen. You can find it in green leafy vegetables, stone ground grains, fats from animals and plants, and in a few supplements. Standard Process has it in at least 3 products, Cardio- Plus, Cataplex E and Wheat Germ oil.
What would heart disease look like in this country if we had less access to manufactured foods? What would health care look like if the physicians (even chiropractors) were educated more thoroughly in this truth? More importantly, how do we educate ourselves about our health and its maintenance? Start from above and work your way at your own pace and capacity and it will never fail you.
My sister Meghan had to tell me that some of my facts are wrong, please note:
Just a few thangssssss
Her parents were around 41-43.
Her mom had 3 brothers
Her dad died when she was 17
Her mom died when she was 19
As you can imagine, discovering that my facts are wrong can be daunting. “However facts are not what bring the lesson, it is the story.” Catfish Macgaugh”