Cardiovascular Diseases – Article 24 of the Healing Series of TruLight Radio XM called “The Doctor Says – The Bible Says” by Dr. Michelle Strydom MD
Coronary Artery Disease (Atherosclerosis) and Heart Attacks
Most heart problems result from poor or insufficient blood supply to the muscle of the heart. The coronary arteries are the arteries that supply the muscle of the heart. They carry blood with oxygen and energy to the heart so that it can keep pumping.
The majority of heart attacks are caused by coronary artery disease which is the leading cause of death in America. Coronary artery disease is where the arteries are narrowed by fatty plaques (lumps) on the walls of the arteries. These fatty plaques are made up of cholesterol. High cholesterol and atherosclerosis is rooted in self-hatred, self-rejection, self-condemnation and people who are very, very angry with themselves. You have become your biggest enemy because you don’t feel loved. This can also be inherited in family trees that don’t know how to receive love. When you don’t like yourself and you are attacking yourself spiritually with self-hatred in your thoughts, the brain converts this into a physical reaction and you have killing off of your body tissue (in this case the heart) by blocking off the blood supply.
In order to understand coronary artery disease (and heart attacks) and the spiritual root behind it, it is important for you to gain a background understanding of cholesterol on page 328 before reading this section any further.
As you read in the chapter on cholesterol, fatty plaques (called atherosclerosis) on the blood vessel walls narrow the arteries. This obstructs the flow of blood. Therefore not enough blood reaches the heart, and the heart muscle does not get an adequate supply of oxygen and energy. This damages the heart muscle and can eventually cause areas of the heart muscle to die. The dead tissue is replaced by a scar. Unlike heart muscle, scar tissue cannot contract. Therefore if the heart has lots of areas of muscle that have been replaced by scar tissue, it will not be able to contract and pump blood efficiently, and the heart will eventually fail (heart failure). Another complication of coronary artery disease (mentioned in the chapter on cholesterol) is angina which is pain in the chest. Whenever there is insufficient blood supply to an area of your body, it causes intense pain. It is the body’s way of letting you know that that area of tissue is in trouble! (Angina is discussed in more detail below).
The fatty plaques damage the blood vessel walls. This causes cracks (fissures) and ulcers to form in the blood vessel walls, which cause the walls to bleed. If you fell off your bicycle onto a tar road, you may end up with a few grazes or cuts on your arms and knees. These grazes and cuts bleed, but eventually the bleeding stops. This is because clots form which are like plugs that cover the holes in the damaged blood vessel so that no more blood is lost. After the clot forms, the tissue in your graze or cut is able to heal. The same thing happens when the walls of your blood vessels are bleeding due to damage by the fatty plaques: A clot forms which covers the bleeding area in the blood vessel wall, as well as the fatty plaque. The problem with a clot forming is that it often totally blocks the already narrowed blood vessel. This then completely cuts off the blood supplied by that artery to the heart – this is a heart attack. A heart attack is where an area of heart muscle dies because of lack of blood supply.
There is more than one coronary artery supplying the heart (as you can see in the picture above). Thus the heart will still have some blood supply from the other arteries that are narrowed, but not completely blocked. However the damage to the heart during a heart attack is often severe enough to cause heart failure, shock and death. 85 to 90% of people who survive a heart attack develop life threatening complications. 35% die within the first year after the heart attack, 45% within 2 years and 55% within 3 years. (However, it doesn’t have to go that way – this can be stopped by dealing with the spiritual roots behind it).
When a coronary artery is blocked, an operation called a ‘by pass’ is performed. For example, if there is a stretch of tar road that is full of pot holes and needs to be repaired, construction workers will block off that portion of road. They will create a detour (another dirt road) for cars to travel on past that stretch of road that they are busy repairing. The concept is the same in a by pass operation – a vein from the leg (Great Saphenous vein) or from the chest (internal mammary artery) is used to create a detour for blood to travel through, around (i.e. by-pass) the blocked coronary artery. If three coronary arteries are blocked, it is called a triple by-pass because three veins are used to by-pass three areas where the coronary arteries are damaged. Similarly a quadruple by-pass involves four by-passes. However, because this doesn’t sort out the underlying spiritual problems behind the disease, the veins that were used to by-pass the blocked coronary arteries also become blocked within 10 years.
Heart attacks can also be caused by high blood pressure. When the heart has to pump out the blood against a high pressure in the vessels it puts strain on the heart, as the heart has to work much harder. To try to compensate for this increased workload the heart muscle gets bigger. When the heart is enlarged, it requires more oxygen (there is more muscle, therefore more oxygen is needed for energy to make it pump). The normal blood supply to the heart with the usual amount of oxygen is no longer adequate. This relative insufficiency of blood supply can result in a heart attack. When a heart attack is caused by high blood pressure, the spiritual root is different – fear, anxiety and stress. High blood pressure is discussed in more detail below)
There are two areas in your heart called an SA node and an AV node which generate electrical impulses. These electrical impulses spread through the heart muscle causing it to contract rhythmically… when you listen through a stethoscope, you hear lub dub lub dub lub dub (i.e. rhythmic sounds of the heart beating). These electrical impulses continuously stimulate the heart muscle to keep it pumping. If the blood supply to these nodes is cut off, this results in malfunction of the SA node and AV node. The nodes then stimulate the heart abnormally, leading to an abnormal heart rhythm. The contractions of the heart in this abnormal rhythm are not effective, and the result is what is called sudden cardiac death, where the heart suddenly stops beating. This is where a person drops dead suddenly, without having had any significant symptoms previously, except within an hour before the person dies. Of the 750 000 deaths every year in America caused by heart disease, approximately 50% are sudden cardiac death.38
Of the 750 000 deaths every year in America caused by heart disease, approximately 50% are sudden cardiac death
If you have had a heart attack, don’t be scared by the above statistics, just be warned. It is not too late for God to bring healing and restoration. All you need to do is sincerely repent for your self-hatred, selfcondemnation and guilt, and in faith trust God to work a healing creative miracle by giving you a new heart (see Ezekiel 36 v 26). God is a merciful God – His mercy is new every morning and it endures forever. He is faithful to fulfill all of His promises, when you line up with His Word and meet His conditions for healing. My grandfather had a massive heart attack. God healed him and gave him a totally new heart. At the age of 82 he has a heart and blood pressure like that of a 20 year old man. When he goes to the doctor for a check up, they cannot believe his blood pressure for his age. They often take his blood pressure two or three times to see if the blood pressure machine is possibly not working properly. What God did for my grandfather, He will do for you! Acts 10 v 34 says that God is no respecter of persons.
Psalm 36 v 5: “Your mercy and loving kindness O Lord, extend to the skies, and Your faithfulness to the clouds.”
Psalm 136 v 1: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His mercy and loving kindness endures forever!” The rest of this psalm goes on to say that “God’s mercy endures forever” 26 times. So if God tells you that His mercy endures forever 26 times, are you going to finally get the message?
Isaiah 30 v 18: “And therefore the Lord [earnestly} waits [expecting, looking and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship!]” That is one of my favorite scriptures. If you will take a moment to think about it, it will bring you tremendous hope. God is literally sitting on the edge of His seat, looking for an opportunity to bless you. Rather than having a negative pessimistic attitude, expect God to be good to you, to heal you and to give you a new heart! Have faith! He is a merciful and faithful God. However you also have a responsibility to deal with the spiritual issues behind coronary artery disease. Turn to the chapter “Who You Are In Christ” on page 498 which will help you.
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