Internal medicine with the heart as the
The heart is the major internal organ, the motor for the entire body. A healthy heart enables
and guarantees that all other internal organs function properly. Disorders in cardiac activity
cause a chain reaction of disorders in the other organs and vice-versa.
The heart can easily adapt to changes in stress and respond flexibly and dynamically to
disorders and diseases independently with its own nervous system and humoral regulation
mechanisms, as well as highly sophisticated reparatory mechanisms. Nature has provided the
human body with a great number of tools it uses to heal itself, and it is our job to recognize
and support them. Modern technology can be used to depict, measure, and follow the course
of these healing processes and their effect on the heart and blood vessels.
Diseases of the heart
In Western society, heart disease and circulatory system diseases are caused by a lack of
physical exercise, negative stress, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, and an increased
energy supply. When energy is not discharged, the latter leads to so-called metabolic
syndromes with increased blood fat and sugar levels, increased inflammatory proteins and
increased blood clotting. Environmental pollution such as fine dust and noise can also cause
damage to the heart over the long term.
Other organ diseases can affect the heart, for example, internal diseases such as rheumatism,
storage and muscular diseases, or more rarely, metabolic and immune system disorders.
The heart and the internal organs
Heart and lungs are anatomically related and have a direct influence on each other. With
shortage of breath, which can be caused by the heart or the lungs, sophisticated measurements
and functional analyses are necessary to determine which of the two organs are diseased; the
cause can frequently be found in both.
Laboratories can aid in diagnoses by testing, for example, for BNP, a protein that is secreted
in the blood of patients with heart failure; the amount measured correlates to the severity of
Heart and kidney functions are also closely related along with the associated regulation of
blood pressure and body fluids. Deterioration in the activity of the heart causes less blood to
flow through the kidney. As a result, this impairs the body’s ability to regulate itself which in
turn is important to counteracting heart failure.
Hyperthyroidism frequently leads to arrhythmia. Increased metabolism requires the heart
work harder. This causes overexertion in the circulatory system and the heart and can lead to
serious heart failure. If treated in time the heart can recover completely.
Strain on the right ventricle causes the body to retain blood, increasing pressure on the blood
vessels in the liver, stomach, intestine, and spleen which inhibits proper metabolic
functioning. This can manifest in liver dysfunctions (even cirrhosis!), gastric irritation, loss of
appetite, and weight loss.
The heart and the entire organism.
Symptoms of heart failure such as lack of activity, shortness of breath, and exhaustion are
frequently seen in undetected anemia. The symptoms and the prospect of heart failure can
grow worse with anemia, but can frequently be improved greatly by treating the patient for
iron deficiency. On the other hand, in lung diseases with chronic oxygen deficiency, high
hemoglobin levels make the blood “sluggish”. In such cases venesection to withdraw blood
can relieve the heart.
For chronic rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia syndrome, the
cardiac valves are frequently altered by infections and the coronary vessels are constricted.
The risk of a heart attack is then similar to that of a heavy smoker.
Pain in the vicinity of the heart often appears that has nothing to do with the heart but with the
thoractic spine, esophagus, or the stomach. The nature and the source of this pain need to be
The heart and the mind
As with almost all illnesses, heart disease affects both the body and the mind. Heart disease
creates fear and can lead to depression. If left untreated, depression or anxiety can damage the
heart over the long-term. Treating depression and eliminating anxiety has been proven to help
patients and their hearts. Countless proverbs and song lyrics allude to this connection.
The fact that some forms of dementia and neurological breakdowns improve by treating the
patient for heart disease is primarily due to improved blood and oxygen supply to the brain. A
major correlation exists between brain function and blood pressure as well as heart beat.
Atrial fibrillation, the most frequent dysrhythmia seen in aging patients, is caused by blood
clots in the atria leading to strokes. Series of smaller strokes can be expressed in a disease
pattern similar to dementia.