For the past 40 years prevention measures and treatment strategies for heart disease have basically remained the same while this almost ‘completely’ preventable disease continues to devastate Americans.
Heart disease remains the number 1 killer in America, killing nearly one person every minute and every 25 seconds someone has a heart attack. Now for those that are lucky enough to survive a heart attack they will feel the financial burden of our medical system.
According to the journal Circulation, by the American Heart Association, even a “minor” heart attack will cost upwards of $760,000 for direct and indirect medical costs!
So why then after all this time and billions of dollars invested to research this, does heart disease remain the same? Well, for the past 40 years we have relied on medical myths to guide us in our attempts to prevent and treat heart disease. Americans have been told to reduce their cholesterol, saturated-fat intake, and to take lipid-lowering medications.
Unfortunately, these recommendations have actually been shown to increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, depression, suicide, Alzheimer’s/dementia, congestive heart failure and even premature death.
Myth: “High cholesterol causes heart disease, and cholesterol lowering medications save lives.”
Reality: Cholesterol itself is NOT the cause of heart disease! In fact it is well documented through the current medical literature that cholesterol is a transport protein used by the body to repair damaged tissues, along with many other physiological functions. But before we look at the research ask yourself this, “Could God make a mistake by allowing our bodies to produce almost 90% of the cholesterol in our blood stream?”
Let’s look at some research
- The Lancet has reported that most individuals with heart disease have normal cholesterol levels.
- The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that there is no evidence linking high cholesterol in women with heart disease. In fact, low cholesterol levels, especially after the age of forty-seven, increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, depression, and early death.
- The Journal of Cardiology states, “low cholesterol increases the risk of a heart attack.”
- Framingham study: For each 1 mg/dl drop of cholesterol there was an 11 percent increase in coronary and total mortality (death from all sources). Basically saying that the lower your cholesterol, the sooner you die!
- Journal of the American Geriatrics Society showed that elderly individuals with low total cholesterol levels (less than 189 mg/dL) were at higher risk of dying than those with cholesterol levels from 276 to 417 mg/dL.
So what about cholesterol medications? Do they “help?” If you want to know the truth, just read BusinessWeek from 2008 “Do Cholesterol Drugs Do Any Good?” As reported by Dr. Wright in the article, cholesterol medications have “no overall reduction in total deaths or illnesses requiring hospitalization—despite big reductions in “bad” cholesterol.”
Let’s not forget though that roughly 10 to 15% of statin users will suffer side effects, including muscle pain, cognitive impairments, depression, stroke, liver failure, and sexual dysfunction.
If you wanna ask me, we’d be far better off eating an apple a day than taking a pill a day.
See the problem that arises when we fall for these medical myths is that it draws our attention and efforts away from the things that could be truly “life-saving” without all the “side effects.”
The fact is though if we are truly going to make a dent in heart disease that equates to reducing the death toll from this disease and reducing the overall financial burden, there has to be a paradigm shift. That shift must go from a focus on symptoms to a focus on the restoration of health through applicable changes in lifestyle and the increase in proven treatment strategies!
Dr. Brown’s action steps
- Start eating more “God food” and less “man food.” As I always say, if you can’t pluck it, pull it, or peel it then don’t eat it! Oh and by peel it, I don’t mean the wrapper on a Twinkie.
- Eliminate bad fats and switch to good fats. Starting with your cooking oils: get rid of all vegetable and other cooking oils and only cook with coconut oil or grape seed oil!
- Begin supplementing with a quality source of Omega-3’s/fish oil. In fact in countries such as Italy if a cardiologist doesn’t prescribe Omega-3 after a heart attack it’s considered malpractice! Dr. Terry Jacobson, a preventive cardiologist at Emory University in Atlanta says, “Most cardiologists here are not giving omega-3’s even though the data supports it — there’s a real disconnect.”
- Another area of critical importance that is often overlooked is posture! In fact studies in both men and women have shown that bent over posture and height loss, that occur primarily through spinal deterioration, can increase overall mortality specifically from heart disease! In fact one such study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, showed that people who lost 3 centimeters or more of height had a 64% increase in “all cause mortality and coronary heart disease!”
Dr. Dale Brown, Maximized Living Chiropractor