I know a few things about heart disease, both professionally from the study of nutrition and disease, but perhaps more importantly from a purely personal view by living with heart disease through a loved one. For the past 15 years I’ve watched the patient go through multiple angiograms, angioplasty, stents, and by pass surgery. It’s not fun for the patient and it’s not fun for the person standing at the other end of the bed. It’s a helpless feeling, trying to be supportive, trying to stay focused, and trying to absorb what you are being told so you can provide care when the patient comes home.
The procedures are one thing but the endless stretch of visits with physicians of all specialties is another. And the medications, yes all the medications and their side effects. Despite all of this, the worst part of it all is the message your are receiving, whether it’s verbal or non-verbal, that this is how it’s going to be, it’s genetic and there is no hope of ever stopping or reversing this disease. That’s the worst part of it all.
For 15 years I’ve looked, believe me, I’ve looked for answers. I’ve tried to understand this disease that affects 81 million Americans. I’ve sat in doctor’s appointments, adjusted our diet, encouraged exercise, traveled to see specialists but at every turn the recommendation was always for a new drug, more drugs and ultimately more side effects and less quality of life. I know we can’t be alone in this raging battle against heart disease, either as a patient or the person standing at the other end of the bed, so I’ve decided to write about it.
The reason I’ve decided to write is because we are finally finding answers, we are learning that heart disease can be stopped and because we are seeing the beginning of the reversal of heart disease! Could it be as simple (not exactly simple and I’ll write about it) as dietary medical intervention? It’s been clinically proven over the past 20 years that there is a way to prevent and reverse heart disease. I am sorry that I missed this bit of research and the answers. Maybe we weren’t ready for it. t don’t know how I missed it but I want others to know about it.
Research has proven that heart disease is, most of the time, a food borne illness and it doesn’t need to exist. If that seems too simple consider this; populations who are not eating the typical western diet do not have a large number of their population suffering from heart disease. In fact, it’s rare. Also consider this; as fast food and the commercialization of our diet has grown, so has heart disease along with the cost to our nation. Treating heart disease in the U.S. alone costs $500 Billion dollars. The American Heart Association tells us that every 25 seconds an American will have a “coronary event.”We spend $21 Billion dollars per year on statin drugs; $5 Billion on stents and a whopping $500 Billion dollars on by pass surgeries! If for no other reason to consider medical dietary intervention, we must consider it because we are on a crash course economically. We simply cannot afford to ignore the conclusive research and benefits of a plant based diet.
This is not a disease that we have to just accept. Estimates from thought leaders working to eradicate heart disease tell us that only one in 500 people have a genetic pre-disposition to heart disease. We’ve become so accustomed to the fact that when people get a little older (and the number of years is getting less and less) that they will just have this disease. It’s wrong thinking.
Next time I will write about why we are getting heart disease and why a plant based diet is so effective. I’ll also keep you posted on the results we are seeing.