Stress diseases involving the heart and blood vessels all too often leave their victims severely disabled, and it is not only the arteries of the heart and the heart muscle itself that suffer. The blood vessels that supply the kidneys can be involved, and those organs suffer partial or complete failure. Stroke illness is another sequel to the combination of blood vessel disease and high blood pressure; in fact, a stroke is often the first signal that the ‘disease without symptoms’ is there -and has been there for several years, maybe for half a lifetime.
Just what can be done in individual circumstances varies enormously. The physiotherapist can, however, do much in the acute stage of these illnesses, and provided a degree of stability can be established teaching the relaxation response can be subsequently added to any treatment package. There is no condition that I have come acrpss in the disabled and the very elderly which is not improved by the introduction of a first aid programme of relaxation training.