By Dr. Jarom Ipson, NMD
If you look at all the prescriptions that are written in the United States, there is one class of medications that comes to the top: Cholesterol Lowering drugs. Lipitor, Simvastatin and Crestor being the biggest culprits. It is obvious that conventional cardiology and primary care love cholesterol medicines. It is easy to run a simple blood test, give someone a script and send them on their way.
But what impact has had on the heart health of millions of Americans? When you look at the actual studies on cholesterol medications and the outcomes the benefit is hard to see. Statistics are a tricky thing and drug companies love to use them in their favor but looking at the actual numbers the benefits aren’t so clear. A closer look at one cholesterol study (others are very similar) reveal those taking cholesterol medications ‘may’ have a 1.1% decrease in heart attacks. What does that mean? For every one hundred people taking cholesterol meds, the medication may reduce one heart attack for one person. (for the rest of the group don’t worry, the cholesterol med will increase your risk of muscle pain, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, cataracts, and much more) This is actually pretty sad because isn’t the reason that all 100 people take cholesterol meds to prevent heart attacks? Are you going to be the lucky one?
Angioplasty (stent placement) and coronary bypass are two of the most common surgeries performed today. There are over 600,000 angioplasties performed every year and 500,000 bypasses. The number is probably higher.
But despite the procedures’ widespread use, how successful are they really? Research tells us that up to half of all angioplasty patients experience restenosis (another blockage of the same artery) within six months of the procedure. And up to 20 percent of bypass patients see their grafts close again within one year of surgery. In another comparison study between the United States, Hungary and Poland in 8,000 patients who had a heart attack, Angioplasty was done three times more often and bypass surgery seven times more often in the United States. And the kicker, there was no difference in mortality in the different countries. With no change in outcome why are we performing so many procedures.
How many more stents do you need to get before you realize it is just a big band aid? In reality you are a ticking time bomb that could have a heart attack at any moment.
With hundreds of millions on medications and millions having these procedures and billions upon billions being spent we surely must have solved the heart disease epidemic! Maybe we should hold the applause, despite all conventional medicines best efforts cardiovascular disease is still the number one cause of death in the United States with no sign of slowing down.
The craziest part of all this, and many conventional doctors will agree, is that 99% of all heart disease is preventable and reversible without drugs or surgery.
Conventional Medicine is great at labeling your signs and symptoms with a diagnosis. They can then prescribe the right drug or perform the right procedure based on your diagnosis (and insurance approval). Leaving you with a chronic disease to manage. I love being a naturopath because I get to investigate the ‘why.’ When I see a patient I’m not concerned with the label but rather what is causing their symptoms, because I know that If I can correct the cause of what they are feeling their condition will reverse. Helping remove obstacles so your amazing body can heal.
How does this fit in with heart disease? Basically all (99%) of heart disease, or atherosclerosis, comes down to the same initial problem, endothelial dysfunction. Your endothelium is the innermost layer of cells in your blood vessels, your first line of defense. There are a wide variety of culprits that can damage the endothelium but once the endothelial layer of the arterial wall has been damaged it starts a chain reaction that if left unchecked will lead to plaque buildup, heart disease and death. This plaque buildup reduces the flow of blood, raising blood pressure, damaging or starving vital organs, including the heart, for oxygen and other nutrients.
The issue is not a lack of cholesterol meds or bad blood vessels but rather the damage to the endothelium. Everything else is secondary. Lucky for you, me and everyone else your blood vessels can heal. If you are wondering what you can do to reverse heart disease and plaque buildup in your arteries you can start with the following list:
- Reduce and eventually eliminate most grains and refined sugars in your diet. Your heart disease risk is directly connected with your blood sugar levels and healthy insulin sensitivity
- Consume 6-9 servings of vegetables daily. Ideally your diet would be heavily plant based.
- Make sure you are getting plenty of high-quality fatty acids. Fat is good for you (replace harmful vegetable oils and synthetic trans fats with healthy fats). Healthy fats include olive oil, organic butter, avocados, and coconut oil.
- Optimize your Vitamin D levels, ideal ranges are between 70-100.
- Exercise regularly. Make sure you incorporate a variety of forms including walking, high-intensity interval exercises, and resistance training.
- Avoid smoking and tobacco products or drinking alcohol excessively.
- Get plenty of restful sleep. You should wake up in the morning feeling rested.
- Routinely manage your stress with methods that work for you.
If you are high risk for developing heart disease or already know that you have heart issues you might want to consider more aggressive natural supporting treatments and supplements to heal your arteries.
Phosphatidylcholine and glutathione, two beneficial nutrients that act as an amazing combo fighting against the two major causes of endothelial dysfunction oxidation and inflammation. These two nutrients (especially in high dose IV form) can promote long-term health and longevity by counteracting the processes that damage the cells of your endothelium (and all the rest of your cells as well) and can even work to reverse the plaque buildup in your arteries.
See our article on our Heart Protect Program if you have more questions about PC and glutathione.
If you wish to discuss your individual case or have more questions schedule an appointment with Dr. Ipson or one of our other doctors at San Tan Natural Medicine. Call 480-636-1068 or schedule online today.
Yusuf, S. Organization to assess strategies for ischemic syndromes (OASIS registry). J Am Coll Cardiol 1997; 30: 3
DR. JAROM IPSON, NMD
Dr. J is a certified Naturopathic Doctor and author, who’s passionate about teaching others how their body works and putting them on a path to better health. Jarom is an expert in weight loss, pain relief, hormone balancing, natural aesthetics, digestive issues, and anti-aging.
Call (480) 636-1068 for an appointment with Dr. Ipson, NMD or schedule online at our Online Scheduler.
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