Chances are, several of your friends or family members have heart disease. Sadly, heart disease is our nation's leading cause of death for both men and women. Eighty-one million Americans suffer from cardiovascular disease, with 831,000 deaths each year, resulting in a heart attack every 34 seconds.
You may have heart disease as well and not even know it. "Approximately 50% of men and 64% of women who died suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms of heart disease. Although high blood pressure and high cholesterol is predictive of a heart attack or stroke, being told that you have 'normal' cholesterol can be misleading. Over 50% of all heart attack and stroke patients have 'normal' cholesterol."1
Hearing a diagnosis of coronary artery disease can be frightening. Feeling helpless, we turn to our cardiologist for advice. The sobering fact, however, is that the majority of physicians and specialists have had minimal or no training in nutrition. (See the links below). For this reason, patients are not commonly offered alternative treatment options. Consequently, with a sense of urgency, drug and invasive surgical procedures are commonly recommended. These conventional treatments however, do not protect patients from having future cardiac complications. Dr. Joel Fuhrman addresses many of these concerns in his article, Invasive Cardiology Procedures and Surgeries Are Not Effective. Dr. Fuhrman points out:
Bypass surgery and angioplasty only attempt to treat a small segment of the diseased heart, usually with only temporary benefit. Since atherosclerotic plaque blankets all the vessels in the heart, bypassing or removing the most diseased portion, still does not address all the shallow and non-obstructive lipid deposits. The major burden of disease is left intact and therefore the potential for a deadly heart attack is largely unaffected.
Incredibly, the human body contains 60,000 or more miles of blood vessels; all of which are effected from years of unhealthy food choices. Atherosclerotic plaque builds throughout our entire vascular system, not just the small section of arteries in the heart. When plaque begins to develop on the inside walls of the blood vessels, the walls are pushed outward. This maintains the lumen (inner open space) and normal blood flow. More importantly, these plaques are very unstable and are responsible for 70 - 80 percent of all heart attacks. Because these plaques don't obstruct the inner opening, they are not visible on angiography or stress tests. Dr. Fuhrman says that these plaques are the most vulnerable and very lethal.
Inflammatory cells and a large lipid core of cholesterol in the plaques are characteristic of the most dangerous lesions. Heart attacks result from a defect in the plaque wall which leads to a thrombus (blood clot). Even a small coating of vulnerable plaque, invisible to cardiac testing, can cause a heart attack and typically does. The breakage or rupture of these vulnerable lesions causes heart attacks. Stress testing only identifies blockages that obstruct greater than eighty-five percent of the vessel lumen. A normal stress test is meaningless and does not mean you do not have significant heart disease or won't shortly have a heart attack. Individuals without major blockages of their great vessels, with only 30 to 50 percent stenosis (narrowing), are even more likely to develop a fatal cardiac event, (compared to those with more significant blockages) yet these individuals are not even shown to have heart disease with a stress test or angiography. (coronary catherization)
According to Dr. Fuhrman, surgical interventions to small segments of our vascular system (such as angioplasty and bypass surgery) only treat the symptoms of the disease, they don't address the cause of the disease.
Using surgical and high-tech interventions as a substitute for a healthful diet is doomed to fail. When extensive coronary artery disease is present and surgical/high-tech intervention occurs, we still leave the vast bulk of plaque essentially untreated because atherosclerosis is a dietary-induced disease and is spread all over the heart, not only in those areas visualized by angiograms and then treated.
It is important for us to know that invasive cardiac procedures do not prevent future cardiac complications, or prevent deaths, as Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Most people think going to cardiologists and radiologists to get evaluated to see if they have a significant coronary blockage will enable an intervention at an early enough point to save their life; they are dead wrong. Cardiac surgery and angioplasty does not address one's risk of a later heart attack, as it does not remove or reduce the probability that these unrecognized vulnerable plaques will rupture and create a clot. The vast majority of patients who undergo these interventions do not have fewer new heart attacks or longer survival. The procedures themselves expose the patients to more risk of new heart attacks, strokes, infection, encephalopathy, and death. In addition, the symptomatic benefits erode with time. Patients undergoing bypass and angioplasty experience disease progression, graft shutdown, restenosis, and more procedures because their heart disease continues to advance. The vast majority of these treated patients needlessly die prematurely from heart disease because their disease remains essentially untreated.
The typical American diet has changed dramatically over the past 100 years. Diets once rich in minimally processed foods have been replaced with highly convenient animal-based, refined and processed foods. Consequently, the American diet contains an excess of calories, fat, cholesterol, refined sugars, animal protein, salt, and alcohol, and is deficient in fiber and nutrients from whole plant foods. Heart disease is a result from years of eating these rich, nutrient-deficient foods.
As Dr. Fuhrman explained, the vulnerable and unstable plaques lining our entire vascular system cause between 70-80 % of all heart attacks. These plaques cannot be identified using diagnostic tools such as coronary catherization (angiography). The greatest risk doesn't come from the stable, extensively blocked coronary arteries, (the ones which are bypassed), but from the small, easily ruptured, invisible plaques throughout our entire vasculature. Aggressive dietary and lifestyle modifications have been shown to both prevent and effectively reverse dietary-induced heart disease because it treats the diseased arteries, instead of just reducing the symptoms of heart disease. Achieving a lower LDL cholesterol level is also possible without the use of statins. Using this dietary approach offers "almost total protection from heart attacks" without the risks associated with the use of dangerous drugs and invasive surgical procedures. Dr. Fuhrman summarizes by saying:
The good news is symptoms, as well as blockages, easily melt away with nutritional excellence, without any cardiac intervention. Compelling data from numerous population and interventional studies show that the combination of a natural plant-based diet and aggressive lipid-lowering will prevent, arrest, and even reverse heart disease. Only via nutritional excellence can you address all the invisible, but potentially dangerous plaque throughout your coronary arteries. The risks and complications of cardiac interventions and bypass surgeries are simply not necessary when people adopt an effective nutritional strategy. Unlike surgery and angioplasty, this dietary approach does not merely treat your heart, but rejuvenates all your blood vessels and protects your entire body against heart attacks, strokes, pulmonary embolisms, venous thrombosis, peripheral vascular disease, and vascular dementia. Instead of expensive and invasive medicine, we need doctors to educate and motivate patients to take charge of their own health. While our population is committing suicide with their knives and forks, they run to doctors expecting to be saved. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to escape from the biological laws of cause and effect. Good health has to be earned, it can't be bought. It is your most valuable insurance policy to secure a longer life free of medical tragedy.
For more information on heart disease, see:
For information regarding doctors' lack of nutritional knowledge, see: