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Using Meditation to Help Prevent Heart Attacks

It’s a rare day when I speak to a patient who does not note that they are under a particularly high amount of stress. There are many ways to help reduce exposure to stress, but there will always be stress in everyone’s lives. Therefore, I emphasize tools and techniques with my patience to help adapt to the inevitable stress that they will be exposed to. One of the most powerful is meditation.


Unsurprisingly, meditation has also been shown to offer significant benefits for cardiovascular health and so not only can it make you feel less stressed and more capable of handling each day, it can be a valuable addition to a heart-healthy lifestyle. Here are some key points on how meditation can help prevent cardiovascular disease:


Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Meditation helps lower levels of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which can contribute to high blood pressure, inflammation, and other risk factors for heart disease.[1][3] By promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety, meditation counteracts the negative effects of chronic stress on the cardiovascular system.


Lowers Blood Pressure

Numerous studies have found that regular meditation practice can modestly but significantly reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.[1][2] High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular events, so keeping it in a healthy range is crucial.


Improves Heart Rate Variability

Meditation has been linked to increased heart rate variability (HRV), which reflects better functioning of the autonomic nervous system that regulates heart rate.[2] Higher HRV is associated with lower cardiovascular risk and better overall health.


Promotes Healthy Habits

Beyond the direct physiological effects, meditation can motivate people to adopt and maintain other heart-healthy behaviors like exercising regularly, eating a nutritious diet, and not smoking.[2] The relaxation and mindfulness cultivated through meditation support positive lifestyle changes.


Cost-Effective Prevention

Meditation requires no special equipment and can be learned and practiced for little to no cost, making it an accessible preventive measure against costly cardiovascular diseases.[1] Even brief daily meditation sessions of 10-20 minutes can provide benefits.[2]

While more research is still needed, the available evidence suggests meditation can be a useful adjunct therapy for reducing cardiovascular risk when combined with other medical care and lifestyle interventions.[1] Its low risk and low cost make it a promising complementary approach worth considering.


A common starting point I recommend to my patients is a little book by Jon Kabat-Zinn called Mindfulness for Beginners. It is highly practical and does not delve into the more spiritual sides of some approaches to meditation, which some people are not into, so it really can be used by anyone.


Play. Rest. Eat. Repeat!


**Do you or someone you know need help preventing heart attacks and strokes? Looking for ways to do so that minimize or avoid use of medications? Please schedule a FREE CALL with me to see if we are a good fit.


**Are you already a patient of mine but looking to take healthy aging to the next level? Consider joining the Vital Human Healthy Aging Club and get all the support you need.


Sources

[1] Meditation and Cardiovascular Risk Reduction - AHA Journals https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/jaha.117.002218

[2] Mindfulness can improve heart health - Harvard Health https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/mindfulness-can-improve-heart-health

[3] Meditation offers significant heart benefits - Harvard Health https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/meditation-offers-significant-heart-benefits

[4] Meditation linked to lower cardiovascular risk - VA News https://news.va.gov/77357/meditation-linked-to-lower-cardiovascular-risk/

[5] Meditation, mindfulness and music for heart health - Providence blog https://blog.providence.org/blog/meditation-mindfulness-and-music-for-heart-health


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