Survival Doc Says
Circulatory System Pointers for Preppers
What to do about your heart medications when the SHTF:
You can of course stockpile your medicines, and you should if there are medicines that you don't think you can live without. However, remember that most prescription drugs are sold for drug company profits and are not necessaryquite likely doing more harm than good.
"I firmly believe that if the whole materia medica, as now used, could be sunk to the bottom of the sea, it would be better for mankind-and all the worse for the fishes." Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., American physician: (Holmes did mention a few exceptions including opium and anaesthetics.)
Holmes would agree, that most heart patients would be better off without their medications. However, (and that's a BIG however), I'm not the one to make that determination for you. You must make it on your own and take responsibility for your own decision. So never interpret anything I say here, or anywhere else in this course, as a directtive to get off your prescription drugs. I don't know you or your health history. Besides, I am not a medical doctor, and so I'm not legally allowed to prescribe prescription medicines, nor take people off them (which in itself is a type of prescription.) I am simply relating what I know, and then you can make your own decision. If in doubt, ask your pharmacist or doctor what the consequences might be if you stop taking your drugs, and if appropriate see if he will help you get off of them. (Some drugs have to be withdrawn slowly to prevent potentially life-threatening side effects.)
The most useless and dangerous of the heart drugs are the statins prescribed for high cholesterol, which are the primary cause of dementias such as Alzheimer's disease. As I mentioned in the lesson on the circulatory system, cholesterol is your friend. But if you feel like you need to lower your cholesterol (keeping in mind that the numbers the drug companies promote as "normal" are dangerously low, in order to sell more drugs) then eat more protein and less simple carbohydrates and especially avoid sugar. (See Dietary Guidelines for more on diet.) Remember too that saturated fats are the good fats. Avoid the polyunsaturated vegetable oils, including margarin, and trans-fats, and above all avoid statin drugs.
Many heart abnormalities are a result of magnesium deficiency. This important mineral is removed by food processing, so as many as 80% of Americans are deficient. Is there any wonder why heart disease is the biggest natural killer? Why won't your heart doctor tell you this? In fact, some do. But most don't think of it, because they get their information from the drug companies, who are out for profits, and they make more profit when they keep you sick. There are many good natural sources for magnesium including green leafy vegetables, particularly spinach. If you have heart problems you will probably not get enough to remedy your situation through diet alone, so magnesium supplementation is recommended.
Many herbs are beneficial for heart and circulation problems. Perhaps the best one is hawthorn berries (Crataegus laevigata.) The twigs, leaves and especially the berries have tremendous benefit to the heart, strengthening heart muscle function and improving heart health. Garlic is a very effective blood thinner and also helps keep blood pressure in check. Garlic possesses important sulfur-containing compounds, including allicin, which support the immune system. Garlic is also a powerful natural antibiotic. Capsicum or cayenne, ordinary "hot" red pepper, is great at increasing circulation, including circulation into the extremities. It also aids digestion and can be combined with any of these other herbs to increase their effectiveness.
50% of cardiac deaths occur in people who were never diagnosed with cardiovascular disease!
The most likely time for a heart attack, or any kind of cardiovascular emergency including sudden cardiac death, stroke or rupture of an aneurysm, is during the first three hours after waking up in the morning and during the last phase of sleep.
Know the symptoms of a heart attack: According to the American Heart Association, most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. There may be shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort. Other symptoms may include panic,breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
How to know if someone has had a stroke (again according to the American Heart Association): Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "the sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?
What to do for a heart attack or stroke due to a blockage when there is no medical help available:
A heart attack occurs when there is an interruption of blood flow to the heart muscle, when for example a coronary artery becomes blocked. A stroke occurs when there is an interruption of blood flow to the brain. The heart or brain tissue can survive for a few minutes with inadequate blood flow, but after that damage to the tissue can occur, and the longer the heart or brain tissue goes without blood the more likely the damage will become permanent, or that death will occur. So after calling 911 (if available) the first thing to do is to increase the circulation to the area that is cut off. You can do this with aspirin, which is a blood thinner, or with blood thinning herbs like garlic, and with arterial dilating herbs like capsicum. If aspirin is available, chew and swallow one or two adult aspirin (or the equivalent number of baby aspirin.) Other pain relievers like Tylenol will not work! You chew the aspirin first so that some of it will be absorbed immediately in the mouth. (Don't give aspirin to someone who is allergic to it.) Alternatively (or in addition) swallow some garlic and capsicum (or cayenne.) Don't over do it because too much of any blood thinner, even a natural one, can do harm. These blood thinners make your platelets less sticky and inhibit clotting, helping keep the blood flowing through narrowed arteries.
If you are dealing with an unconscious individual check their pulse and breathing and if there is a problem administer CPR. This brings me to my next point:
Take a First Aid Class, such as one given by the American Red Cross. This is an ABSOLUTE NECESSITY for any prepper or survivalist! You need to know CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and how to treat traumatic injuries including bleeding, the reasons for this are so obvious that I won't say any more about that!
The Single Largest Cause of Unnatural Death is Smoking, and smoking greatly increases your chances of heart disease, including heart attacks and strokes.
If you are a smoker, I'm sure you are tired of hearing this. And you have probably tried to quit many times. I understand that it is difficult. You are addicted to nicotine, the most addictive drug known! But if you want to be serious about any of this you must quit now, no matter what! You can not consider yourself a serious prepper or survivalist and continue to be addicted to nicotine. I'm sorry if I offend you. But those are the facts. The best way to quit is to do it cold turkey! Forget the patches. Forget the gum. Forget the pills. Acupuncture (auriculotherapy) or hypnosis may help, but you will still have to do it cold turkey. But quit the excuses! Quit the procrastination! Just suck it up and DO IT!
I have wannabe preppers tell me that they will quit smoking when the SHTF. I've got news for you. No you won't! As I said, you are addicted to the most addictive drug known. If you can't quit during good times, you have little chance during bad times, when the stress is really on. When push comes to shove, you will do whatever it takes to satisfy your addiction. Your addiction will take over your brain. It will possess you. It will deceive you. It will change your personality. You will have little say in the matter. You will trade your last can of food for a pack of cigarettes, even as children go hungry. You will spend valuable time, that should be used with other critical activities, in pursuit of your drug. If your addiction doesn't kill you before the SHTF, with heart disease, stroke or cancer, it will kill you WHEN the SHTF. But even worse, it will endanger those around you. A smoker is a dangerous liability for any survival group! So quit the excuses. Just suck it up and QUIT!
Get in Shape:
You know what you need to do. You also know why. Can you carry a 50 pound back pack across rugged terrain and up a hill?...While carry a child? If so, you probably don't smoke, and your heart health is probably okay. If you can't, get with the program! Train!
Of course you should also be eating healthy because an ounce of prevention now is worth a pound of cure later (to paraphrase Ben Franklin.) Follow Natural Health School's Dietary Guidelines for an important healthy eating program. If you need to lose weight, these dietary guidelines will be your best friend.
Here's one final tip for you:
If you are even slightly over weight, and sure, most of us are, when you stockpile clothing, stockpile some clothes that will fit you when you drop a few pounds. Yes, when the SHTF you will drop some weight, because you will be exercising more and eating less. If you don't want your pants dropping to your ankles, stockpile a few of the next lower waist size. And don't forget the suspenders!
For more information on heart disease and heart attack click here and then here.
(Note: The "Survival Doc Says" supplements are under construction and are not yet available for all lessons. I will add them as they are completed.)
Where to Next?
Complete the Self Evaluation for Lesson 8, or
Go to the Home Page and Click on Lesson 9.