Why Surgery + Meds Won't Save Your Heart

You probably know someone with heart disease or someone whose died from it.  My grandmother died when she was just 52 from a heart attack.  She didn't even make it to my first birthday.  My grandfather -- congestive heart failure.

Many people feel a naive sense of security when diagnosed with heart disease, high cholesterol or blood pressure.  Why?  Because there's "medication and surgery that will save you!"  For most people, that's just WRONG!

Even with technologically advanced surgeries and new medications, heart disease still kills 385,000 Americans annually, while another 715,000 Americans have a heart attack each year (1).

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr, internationally renowned clinician at the Cleveland Clinic, writes how currently modern cardiology is a complete failure, in an article published in the American Journal of Cardiology.

Esselstyn cites Forrester, JS when he writes... "modern cardiology has given up on curing heart disease.  Its aggressive interventions -- coronary artery bypass graft, atherectomy, angioplasty and stunting -- do not reduce the frequency of new heart attacks or prolong survival except in small subsets of patients" (2).

Modern cardiology is treating the symptoms of disease -- pain and high biomarkers, not the underlying cause of the disease which is from diet and lifestyle.  As Dr. McDougall commonly says, "it's the food!"

It's important you understand there are other means for treating heart disease other than risky surgery and expensive medication.  Dr. Caldwell Essestyn Jr. and Dr. Dean Ornish have both stopped the progression of and reversed heart disease via diet and lifestyle changes (2), (3).  

Unfortunately, your doctor probably won't present this research as a viable treatment option to you.  Likewise, your doctor probably won't advocate for your cholesterol to be below 150 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L) which was the goal of Esselstyn's patients.

Esselstyn notes in his article (citing Castelli) that "in the Framingham study, people with cholesterol between 150 and 200 mg/dL accounted for 35%  of those with coronary heart disease."  

You can still have heart disease with a 'good' cholesterol level of less than 200 mg/dL advocated by your doctor and the American Heart Association! (4)

Esselstyn continues to cite Castelli stating that "amongst those with levels <150 mg/dL, heart disease was rarely encountered" (2).

If you're interested in lowering your cholesterol levels via diet and are looking for support from your doctor, here is a PDF from the Phycisian's Committee for Responsible Medicine that you can take to share with your doctor.  It references Dr. Ornish's work and gives you practical tips for lowering your cholesterol levels.

Too many doctors are either unaware of this information or just aren't informing their patients.  But it's important you know you have options.  And if you need support and guidance through the transition, I am always here to help.

Take Control Now

Is your total cholesterol above or below 150 mg/dL or 3.9 mmol/L?  

Now is the time to find out and put your answer in the comments section below!

1.  CDC.  Heart Disease Facts. August 2013.  Accessed online Feb. 2014.  

2.  Esselstyn, CB Jr. Updating a 12-Year Experience with Arrest and Reversal Therapy for Coronary Heart Disease (An Overdue Requiem for Palliative Cardiology. American Journal of Cardiology. 1999: 81; August 1 339-341.  

3. Ornish D et al. Intensive lifestyle changes for coronary heart disease. Journal of the American Medical Association. 1998 Dec 16;280(23):2001-7.

4. American Heart Association. What your cholesterol levels mean.  Dec. 2012. Accessed online Feb. 2014.