Use of Complementary Therapies in Patients With Cardiovascular Disease

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
The American Journal of Cardiology (Impact Factor: 3.28). 09/2006; 98(5):673-80. DOI: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2006.03.051
Source: PubMed


Previous studies have suggested that patients with chronic medical conditions use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) at a higher rate than the general population. Despite recent interest in CAM for cardiovascular disease, few data are available regarding patterns of use in patients with cardiovascular disease in the United States. This study used the 2002 National Health Interview Survey and analyzed data on CAM use in 10,572 respondents with cardiovascular disease. Among those with cardiovascular disease, 36% had used CAM (excluding prayer) in the previous 12 months. The most commonly used therapies were herbal products (18%) and mind-body therapies (17%). Among herbs, echinacea, garlic, ginseng, ginkgo biloba, and glucosamine with or without chondroitin were most commonly used. Among mind-body therapies, deep-breathing exercises and meditation were most commonly used. Overall, CAM was used most frequently for musculoskeletal complaints (24% of respondents who used mind-body therapies, 22% who used herbs, 45% who used any CAM). Mind-body therapies were also used for anxiety or depression (23%) and stress or emotional health and wellness (16%). Herbs were commonly used for head and chest colds (22%). Fewer respondents (10%) used CAM specifically for their cardiovascular conditions (5% for hypertension, 2% for coronary disease, 3% for vascular insufficiency, < 1% for heart failure or stroke). Most, however, who used CAM for their cardiovascular condition perceived the therapies to be helpful (80% for herbs, 94% for mind-body therapies). CAM use was more common in younger respondents, women, Asians, and those with more education and greater incomes. In conclusion, CAM use, particularly herbs and mind-body therapies, is common in the United States in patients with cardiovascular disease and mirrors use in the general population. CAM use specifically to treat cardiovascular conditions, however, is less common.

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    • "Several patients with a proven or perceived intolerance to statins and other established lipid lowering agents use alternative products to influence their lipid levels. Also other persons e even without dyslipidemia or increased cardiovascular risk e use alternative products to lower their cholesterol [4]. It is a common belief that these 'natural' agents do not have side effects. "
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    • "A recent survey showed that 82.5% of the outpatients with cardiovascular disease (CVD) reported use of CAM therapies [1]. Biologically based therapies and dietary supplements are among the most commonly used CAM modalities in patients with CVD [1] [2] [3]. These products have become largely accepted as a part of the treatment for elevated serum cholesterol and/or triglycerides and for the maintenance of vascular wall health [4]. "
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    • "In addition, a review (32) reported a positive correlation between sulfonylurea/TZD and weight gain. It is important to note that GbE has been described as protecting against congestive heart failure, becoming one of the most common complementary therapies used by patients with cardiovascular diseases (33,34). GbE has also been recognized as protecting against bone loss, reducing the progress of osteoporosis (35). "
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