Cardiovascular / Circulatory System

The primary function of the cardiovascular system is the transportation of oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body and carrying deoxygenated blood back to the lungs. It consists of the heart, blood vessels, and blood. Therefore, cardiovascular disorder can be disastrous for the body and severely impede overall health. According to Ayurveda, lapses in human behavior in terms of lifestyle, diet, and social conduct can lead to disorders in the digestive Agni, which causes vitiation of rasa dhatu because of which the heart or the hridya is unable to function properly. Ayurveda uses three prolonged approaches to managing cardiovascular disorders. The first step is avoidance of etiological factors which cause the onset of these conditions, such as overeating, irregular eating habits, excessive stress, etc. Followed by the use of herbal medication like amrataka, pippal, and Brahmi; alongside external therapies abhyanga, Shirodhara, vasti, or other therapies according to the doctor’s recommendations.

In this condition, the body lacks sufficient healthy red blood cells to allow oxygenation to tissues and organs. Therefore, it can cause the patient to feel fatigued and weak. In addition, anemia can occur because of a deficiency of nutrients, for example, iron and vitamin deficiency, excessive loss of blood, hemoglobin deficiency like in thalassemia; or the destruction of red blood cells at a rate that cannot keep up with their products such as in aplastic anemia, or because of abnormalities in the red blood cells like in the case of sickle cell anemia. 

Pandu roga in Ayurveda is comparable to iron deficiency anemia and is thought of as tridoshaja, which is the deterioration of three doshas but is linked strongly with pitha dosha. A 2016 study confirmed that anemia responded better to ayurvedic formulations than allopathic treatment and had fewer negative symptoms.

Hypercholesterolemia is a kind of hyperlipidemia or dyslipidemia where there is a presence of high levels of cholesterol in the blood. This condition can be inherited, a sign of underlying conditions such as hypothyroidism or type 2 diabetes, or be rooted in genetic abnormalities. 

Ayurveda mentions several plants and herbs; Triphala, in particular, is highly beneficial for hypercholesterolemia when combined with behavioral modification and external ayurvedic interventions. In addition, a specialized treatment udwarthana, where herbal powders are massaged over the body upwards, in combination with virechana (monitored purgation) and vasti (herbal and medicinal enemas), are helpful.

Hypertension is also known as high blood pressure. It is a common condition but is called the silent killer because it can have profound implications when present long-term such as heart attack and stroke. It can be caused by lifestyle variables like an unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, and tobacco use, among others. 

The condition vyanavata vaishamya mentioned in ancient ayurvedic texts can be correlated with modern-day hypertension. It has also been referred to as a Vata imbalance known as raktagata vata. Ayurveda prescribes a combination of herbal medication, routine management, positive lifestyle changes, and external therapies, including panchkarma like basti, virechana, and Shirodhara.

The term varicose means swollen. This condition occurs when the veins become twisted and swollen due to backflow. This can happen in veins close to the skin, particularly the ones on the legs. As a result, in extreme cases, people can suffer from itching around the varicose veins, leg pains, muscle cramps, and bleeding. Varicose veins are described as siraja granthi in Ayurveda. Its root cause is believed to be in pitha dosha, which ends up influencing the Kapha and Vata dosha, ultimately leading to tridoshic instability. Therefore, Ayurveda promotes diets restricting individuals with varicose veins from eating certain food categories like bitter and pungent foods while encouraging the consumption of garlic and foods rich in vitamin c. In addition, panchkarma, kashaya dhara, dhanyamladhara,etc are recommended.

Edema occurs due to water or fluid retention in various body parts. It can cause pain and inflammation. Edema is referred to as sotha in Ayurveda and is attributed to Kapha doshas. However, this can cause abnormalities in Vata and pitha doshas too. 

There are four types of sothas:

  • Kaphaja sotha- here the swelling is observed in the pits of the eyes that can spread to other places. It can be attributed to Kapha doshas due to kidney impairments. 
  • Pitthaja shota- occurs because of pitha dosha, which occurs due to liver malfunctioning. The swelling is first seen in the abdomen, which spreads upwards. 
  • Vataja sotha- this sotha emerges from Vata imbalance due to cardiac issues. It manifests as swelling on the feet that increases during the day and subsides at night.
  • Abhigatajha- here, the edema occurs due to external factors like trauma, bites, exposure to the poison, etc. Treatments like abhyanga, lepam, and virechan can be utilized. 

A stroke or a cardiovascular accident is a typical health-related crisis that can happen anytime and is the primary cause of death worldwide. It is caused by the abrupt demise of neurons because of the absence of oxygen when the bloodstream to the brain is lost by the blockage of an artery to the brain. According to Ayurveda, stroke is equated with pakshaghata, a condition credited to an irregularity of Vata dosha. 

According to Ayurveda, a stroke might occur due to Vata (degenerative), pitha (inflammatory), or Kapha (atherosclerotic) doshas-based changes in vascular structures. Vasty is the most suggested solution. Virechana is recommended for improving nerve functioning and metabolism. Snehana and swedana measures have also been found useful.

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