Non violence in action, thoughts and actions can prevent heart attacks




                              Non violence in action, thoughts and actions can prevent heart attacks, said Padmashri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee Dr KK Aggarwal and Vice Chairman World Fellowship of Religions on the occasion of  Mahavir Jayanti the birth day of Mahavira, the last Tirthankara (human beings that achieve enlightenment and become spiritual leader). During Mahavir Jayanti celebration, devotees and practitioners go to Jain temple to pay respect, by bathing Mahavira statues, then proceed to offer prayers and meditate. Monks lead special services and teach the virtuous path. Donations and other charitable acts are encouraged on this day.

To practice non violence one should practice the 3C’s of non violence and they are Not Criticizing, Not Condemning and Not Complaining. Being cynical is also a part of the same, which is fault finding for everything. Cynicism has been studied as a potential cause of heart disease. Studies using American and European populations have demonstrated that high levels of anger/ hostility are predictive of coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality.

Anger, hostility and aggression are three risk factors for heart attack with the fulcrum at the level of anger.  A thought arises from the thoughtless state of mind called consciousness, which is then analyzed by the intellect and converted into an action, which is either egocentric or ego-fugal. All actions lead to memory and memory leads to desire. If the desire can be fulfilled, it will end up into action again and the cycle of action, memory and desire continues leading to habit or an addiction.

 If the desire is not fulfilled, the first reaction is anger. The response to anger can be an acute reaction with aggressive behavior or chronic suppression leading to cynicism and hostility. It can also be sub-acute transient suppression, which, if repetitive, has the same effects as hostility or cynicism.

While aggressive behaviour after an episode of anger can raise blood pressure and pulse rate acutely, chronic suppression of anger with resultant hostility can cause a permanent over-sympathetic state – clinically characterized by a persistently higher pulse rate.

It is a well-known phenomenon that people who have higher resting basal pulse rate die prematurely and also chances of sudden cardiac death are higher amongst them.

Anger phenomenon was well described in our Vedic literature by Lord Shiva who is also named as Neelkanth. In Vedic language, Vish is acute poison and Vishaya  is slow poison consisting of attachment, anger, desire, greed and ego. The message from Neelkanth Shiva is – one should neither drink poison (chronic suppression of negative thoughts) nor spit poison (aggressive behavior) but instead one should manage stress by transiently suppressing emotions (keeping the poison in the throat by Lord Shiva).  Stress, therefore, should be acted and not reacted upon.

Amongst anger, hostility and aggression, anger is the root cause. A burst of anger can release chemicals like adrenalin and non-adrenalin, which can rupture a soft blockage inside coronary artery supplying blood to the heart. The rupture of the blockage can initiate the process of formation of clot within the coronary artery leading to cessation of blood flow. In acute heart attack, the patient may present with sudden cardiac arrest or acute chest pain. This clot, if not dissolved in time either by clot dissolving therapy or by angioplasty device can end up with high mortality and morbidity.

 High risk patients, defined as uncontrolled diabetes, uncontrolled blood pressure, obesity, strong family history etc. should avoid acute anger and chronic anger states.

 While evaluating a person’s cardiovascular risk, many new parameters now have been added which include hostility score, basal pulse rate, pulse variability and heart rate response to exercise. To reduce sympathetic over activity and to reduce resting heart rate, the methodologies available are pranayam, regular exercise, mind-body relaxation techniques, regular massage etc. Other techniques include acting at the level of thoughts and its analyses using cognitive, behaviour or both therapies.

Learning meditation, relaxation, pranayam etc. can therefore bring about changes in the body, which can withstand a burst of anger more positively. New researches for the last few years have shown that patients who have frequent burst of anger or have higher pulse rate because of suppression of repeated episodes of anger benefit when they are given low dose of prophylactic aspirin as a preventive drug.

 Aspirin has anti-platelet action and has been advocated in higher risk individuals with uncontrolled diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol. This is for the first time aspirin is now recommended in patients with frequent bouts of anger episodes. The Ayurveda and naturopathic counterpart of aspirin is one glove of garlic a day, which has aspirin like properties.


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