In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the heart is the most important organ and a great deal of attention is given to its health and function. A good pulse diagnostician can often pick up coronary spasms or occlusions before they are revealed in a treadmill test.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH
The number one cause of death in the United States is cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, the gold standard for finding coronary occlusions is an angiogram, which insurance companies typically do not cover unless the patient fails a treadmill test and/or has a pretty severe case of angina. Even in this case, a treadmill test can only register blood flow blockages of 70% of more. Because of this, many people are walking around with early-stage heart disease without realizing it. Occasionally symptoms may arise, including an uneasy feeling or sudden discomfort in the chest, which is fortunately short lived. If the patient tells their doctor, they will usually be given an EKG, which is pretty useless in spotting coronary blockages and will only tell the doctor if they have already had a heart attack or if they have some form of irregular heartbeat. At this point in time, cardiac testing is still being developed and is often unable to pick up heart disease in its earliest stages. The intention of Chinese Medicine is to catch these issues before they reach crisis stage, and restore normal function without the onset of severe symptoms.
The patient may be told there is nothing wrong when, in fact, there is a problem. In Western medicine, an angiogram is the only sure way to know there is a problem in the early stages; but this is a somewhat risky procedure and the doctor has to have good reasons for ordering it. The only preventative procedure for mild undetected heart problems is taking an aspirin, which from a Chinese medical point of view is too simplistic. Our approach is to widen the coronary arteries, clean them out, and increase blood flow to the heart with use of acupuncture, herbal therapy, and dietary/nutritional suggestions.