Judy's Heart Attack
I just learned from her post on Facebook that my friend and former colleague, Judy, had a heart attack. Like me, Judy has suffered from heart disease needlessly! Let me share with you Judy's post (with her permission) and then describe what you need to do to avoid a similar or worse fate.
I haven't been all that enthusiastic about Facebook, however today I have a very important message to all my loved ones, friends and associates. On Saturday, June 29th at approximately 8:00 A.M. I had a heart attack. I was rushed to ... Hospital and told that I was in fact having a heart attack and taken into surgery and a stent was placed in my 100% blocked right artery. My family sat in the waiting room experiencing all the fear and sadness that families do when a loved one is in surgery and not knowing if that person will be coming out alive. Well I was one of the lucky ones, I did come alive and the surgeon and staff were the best of the best. After everything settled down and the test results were starting to come back I kept asking "why me". I exercise, I eat healthy and I felt that I was doing everything that I needed to do to continue to live a long life. The message was this "your cholesterol was high or it can be attributed to genetics". Two simple tests could have prevented my heart attack. The first make your doctor give you a cholesterol test and an EKG, so simple, painless and so effective. I did take statins about two years ago with my cholesterol count at 222, however the side affects were horrific and I complained and I was told to go out and buy flush-free niacin and that was what my doctor told me to do and my doctor didn't seem to think 222 was that high. So I do take some blame in not being pro-active and demanding these tests. Don't let everyone tell you "wow, you look great and everything must be fine". Those that were told about my heart attack were in shock and told Andy, "wow, Judy looked so good". I hope that my message will not scare you into having these tests done, just educate you and take what happened to me as an example. I have damaged my heart and now I will take medication for the rest of my life. Lots of Love and good health to everyone!
And below this post on Judy's Facebook page many wellwishers share that they are glad that Judy is OK. I'm sorry, but Judy is not OK! She is still suffering from the causes of heart disease. The doctor's have not cured her. Long term studies show that the stent and the medication Judy is taking will not improve her long term prognosis. She needs to fix the root problem that causes heart disease, but sadly most doctors do not have a good understanding of it. I will explain it below so please read on.
I suffered sudden cardiac arrest in 2009 at age 52. Since then I have been studying the causes of heart disease and its prevention and cure. There is a tremendous amount of good science out there, but it was challenging at first to separate out the nonsense and misleading statements from the solid science. Here is what I have found.
But first, for Judy's Facebook friends and anyone else reading this, lets talk about who has heart disease. Judy is right that a simple cholesterol blood test can be a good indicator of heart disease. And 222 is not OK, as Judy learned the hard way. My last blood test before my heart attack showed a cholesterol level of 188. This level also is not OK. You should be below 150 and have an LDL cholesterol level of 80 or below in order to be clear of heart disease. Some doctors know this. Others think around 200 is OK because this might be an average figure. But understand, average is not OK. Heart disease is the leading killer in this country, affecting about half of us and killing about a quarter of us. So average is not healthy - not by a long shot.
What causes heart disease? Simply: what we eat. Judy states that she ate healthy. I've observed that 90 or 95% of the people I ask believe they are eating healthy. Yet very few have studied the nutrition research to understand which foods protect us and keep us healthy, and which foods harm us and kill us. Let me be very clear: the Standard American Diet is killing us. Needlessly. There are a small handful of Americans that truly eat a healthy diet and there are larger groups of people in other societies around the world that eat a healthy diet. These people don't just have less heart disease, they have none. And also they have much fewer incidences of the most common cancers, they have no diabetes, no strokes, and they have less or none of about 30 other diseases. And studies show they live about 10 years longer on average. Longer life, fewer diseases.
So while a cholesterol test may be a good catalyst to get you to make a change, I can save you the money and trouble. If you want to know if you have heart disease, just answer the following question: Do I eat animal products on a daily basis? If the answer is yes, then you have heart disease. Autopsies of teen-age soldiers and even kids as young as two-years old who eat meat, cheese, eggs, or drink milk show clear signs of disease in their arteries. Now it takes most of us many years of abusing our arteries before we drop dead in the street. But make no mistake. If you eat these foods, you are damaging your arteries, and it is a race to see if you die from it before you die of some other cause, perhaps from some other disease caused by this same poor diet.
At this point some of you are saying that you don't need to change your diet. You can just depend on drugs. Sorry. They don't work. The statin drugs like Lipitor that Judy took for awhile have nasty side effects that include liver damage, muscle pain, and cognitive problems that are often mistaken for Alzhiemer's disease. But even for those who seem to tolerate the statins, they don't increase longevity. Long term studies have shown that statin drugs do reduce the cholesterol measurement in the blood, but they do not cause you to live longer. For more about this, please see my previous post.
If you're thinking that stents and Coronary Artery Bypass Grafts can save you, think again. These invasive procedures do nothing to address the root cause, and so it is no suprise that they fail. My first stent failed, and even though I had fixed the root cause of my heart disease, I had to undergo another heart procedure to try to address the problem caused by my stent. And bypass operations don't cure the problem either. Just ask former president Bill Clinton who ate so many cheesburgers that his arteries were clogged. The best surgeons on the planet performed a bypass on him. But he continued his same poor diet and a few years later he was back in the hospital for another heart procedure. So I'm sorry Judy, your "best of the best" heart surgeons did not cure your problem and very likely caused you more problems. You are undoubtedly now on drugs with dangerous side effects that you must take because of the stent in your heart.
But Clinton got smart. He read some of the same books I found. And you can read them too. If you do, you will soon know more about the root cause of heart disease than your "best of the best" surgeon, who should have been helping you to know about what foods to eat instead of installing a hunk of metal in your chest. But don't blame your doctor. About 75% of the medical schools in this country offer no classes on nutrition and those that do typically offer very minimal coverage of this topic. Diseases caused by our poor American diet end up killing about 3/4 of us, so you'd think that medical schools might put some focus on nutrition. But they don't, and we're not going to fix the medical school problem any time soon. So its up to you to get smart. Here are some concrete steps that you can take:
- Watch the movie Forks Over Knives or read the books Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease or The China Study. If you act on the knowledge it can save your life. I feel so strongly about this that I will give a book or DVD to any of Judy's friends at no charge. Just call me at (626) 872-4050. You can look at the books that I feel represent the best science of nutrition and health here.
- Come to one of my workshops in Monrovia. In a small group setting, we'll spend three hours talking about how to avoid heart disease, cancer and other diseases and I'll throw in another free book and a free meal that demonstrates how tasty healthy food can be. I provide these workshops at no cost to you. To learn when the next workshop will be, please sign up for my newsletter here.
By the way, Judy was told that genetics was the cause of her heart disease. Science says otherwise. Big pharmaceutical companies and others that make money off of your illness would like to make you believe that you a helpless victim, that there is nothing you can do to overcome bad genes, except perhaps to take the expensive and harmful drugs that they produce. But genetics takes a very small role in heart disease and most other common chronic illnesses. Studies that track immigrants find that their disease patterns do not remain constant as they move from one country to another but that they follow the eating patterns. And the Standard American Diet is about as bad as they come.
Some people are dissappointed or downright scared to learn that their doctors cannot cure heart disease or many of the other chronic diseases that kill us. But I look at it differently. The fact that you can prevent and cure many of these disease yourself is powerful. You are not dependent on anyone else to banish these diseases from your life. You can do it yourself. However, you need to know what to do and then to act on it.
Don't delay. I don't want to hear that another friend or colleague has suffered a heart attack. Needlessly.