I was diagnosed with chemotherapy-induced cardiomyopathy on 1/3/11. I was prescribed a beta blocker as therapy but I want to add as many evidence-based, non-toxic therapies to improve my heart health as possible.
One of the other things I’ve learned since my cancer diagnosis in early 1994 is the benefit of complementary therapies. A good example of a complementary evidence-based but not FDA approved therapy would be exercise and nutrition. Both oncology (cancer doctors) and cardiologists (heart doctors) agree that frequent, moderate exercise as well as eating low-fat, nutritious foods are two important complementary therapies for both cancer and heart health.
Several chemotherapy regimens damaged my heart during my active therapy back in 1995. Adriamycin, cytoxan, busulphan and melphalan are known to be cardiotoxic. My goal is to prevent my heart from developing severe or end-stage problems. I want to figure out how to put my heart problems into complete remission, like my cancer. I would prefer to identify therapies that are 1) evidence-based 2) without side effects 3) safe and 4) effective.
The studies linked and excerpted below document the ability of sauna bathing to decrease blood pressure safely and effectively. Though my blood pressure is pretty normal (120/80), I know that by taking a sauna at least once a week, I am practicing thermo-vasodilation. Did I say that correctly? I am exercising my heart by taking a sauna, according to the studies linked and excerpted below. Plus, I find sauna’s to be very relaxing.
Have you been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy? What do you do or take for heart therapy? I need all the heart help, both conventional and non-conventional, out there. Let me know.
“Vasodilation is the widening of blood vessels. It results from relaxation of smooth muscle cells within the vessel walls, in particular in the large veins (called venodilators), large arteries, and smaller arterioles. The process is the opposite of vasoconstriction, which is the narrowing of blood vessels.
“A warm-water bath (WWB) or sauna bath (SB) has generally been considered inappropriate for patients with severe congestive heart failure (CHF). However, a comprehensive investigation of the hemodynamic effects of thermal vasodilation in CHF has not been previously undertaken…
We sought to determine the safety and efficacy of repeated 60 degrees C sauna bathing in patients with chronic systolic congestive heart failure (CHF).
METHODS AND RESULTS: This study included 15 hospitalized CHF patients (New York Heart Association class = 2.8 +/- 0.4) in stable clinical condition on conventional treatments. Sauna bathing was performed once per day for 4 weeks. Repeated sauna bathing was safely completed without any adverse effects in all patients. Symptoms improved in 13 of 15 patients after 4 weeks.
Sauna bathing decreased systolic blood pressure without affecting heart rate, resulting in significant decrease in the rate-pressure product (6811 +/- 1323 to 6292 +/- 1093).
Echocardiographic left ventricular ejection fraction was significantly increased from 30 +/- 11 to 34 +/- 11%. Sauna bathing significantly improved exercise tolerance manifested by prolonged 6-minute walking distance (388 +/- 110 to 448 +/- 118 m), increased peak respiratory oxygen uptake (13.3 +/- 1.8 to 16.3 +/- 2.1 mL/kg/min), and enhanced anaerobic threshold (9.4 +/- 1.2 to 11.5 +/- 1.9 mL/kg/min).
Four-week bathing significantly reduced plasma epinephrine (40 +/- 42 to 21 +/- 23 pg/mL) and norepinephrine (633 +/- 285 to 443 +/- 292 pg/mL). Sauna bathing reduced the number of hospital admission for CHF (2.5 +/- 1.3 to 0.6 +/- 0.8 per year).
CONCLUSION: Repeated 60 degrees C sauna bathing was safe and improved symptoms and exercise tolerance in chronic CHF patients. Sauna bathing may be an effective adjunctive therapy for chronic systolic CHF.
“Hemodynamics improve after WWB or SB in patients with chronic CHF. This is attributable to the reduction in cardiac preload and afterload. Thus, thermal vasodilation can be applied with little risk if appropriately performed and may provide a new nonpharmacological therapy for CHF.”
“Hemodynamics or hæmodynamics is the dynamics of blood flow. The circulatory system is controlled by homeostatic mechanisms, such as hydraulic circuits are controlled by control systems. Hemodynamic response continuously monitors and adjusts to conditions in the body and its environment. Thus hemodynamics explains the physical lawsthat govern the flow of blood in the blood vessels…”