Abolishing Heart Disease

The truth be told, coronary artery disease, the most common form of heart disease which is responsible for heart attacks need never exist and if it does exist, it need never progress.

How can one make that statement when coronary disease is the leading killer of women and men in western civilization?

Battle casualties from the Korean and Vietnam conflicts yielded an 80% incidence of coronary heart disease at autopsy despite an average age of 20 years. Hardly a family in this country does not have an immediate or distant relative or friend who has experienced heart disease. A study of civilian casualties between the ages of 16 and 34 who die from accidents, homicides and suicides reveal coronary heart disease in every person. Dr. Lewis Kuller, a professor of public health from the University of Pittsburg from his 10 years cardiovascular health study made the following statement in April 2006: “All males who are 65 years of age and older who have been exposed to the traditional western diet have cardiovascular disease and should be treated as such.”

Does this mean we are all destined to become ill from coronary heart disease? Not so fast. Dr. William Castelli, who directed the world famous NIH Framingham study in the mid 1980′s stated of the 5.5 billion people on earth, 4 billion will never have heard of heart disease. He meant at that time it was limited to persons living in western civilization and those populations who could afford to eat milk and dairy products, eggs, meat, chicken, white flour and processed oils on a regular basis.

World War II provided a graphic example of how the ravages [...]

High Blood Pressure

Learning to Live Without It

What is the epidemic condition that causes more death and disability in industrialized countries than any other?

What is the leading reason for visits to doctors and the single biggest justification for drug prescriptions?

What condition affects the majority of Americans over the age of 65, often has no symptoms, and is referred to as the “silent killer”?

If you said high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, you would be correct.

Blood Pressure Basics

Blood pressure measurements are recorded as two distinct numbers, the first one over the second. The top number is called the systolic blood pressure and this number represents the pressure of the blood in the vessels during the heart’s contraction. The bottom number, or diastolic blood pressure, represents the pressure of the blood in the vessels when the heart relaxes.

Both measurements are important risk factors that are associated with your risk of morbidity and mortality. That means your risk of becoming ill or dead.

For every point your systolic blood pressure rises over 90 there is a one percent increased risk of mortality. Looked at positively, this means that for every point you drop your systolic blood pressure all the way down to 90, there is a one percent reduction in mortality. Therefore, an individual who successfully reduces his/her systolic blood pressure from 150 to 110 through improved dietary and lifestyle habits would reduce their risk of all cause mortality by a whopping 40 percent. Said simply, this means that if you reduce your systolic blood pressure by 40 points, you are 40% less likely to die this year.

Blood Pressure Matters

When blood pressure is elevated the increased wear and tear on the blood vessels and [...]

Reversing Heart Disease with Diet

I would like to introduce you to my friend Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., a man you will be hearing a lot more about in coming years.

Having won a gold medal (Yale Crew team) in the 1956 Olympics, Dr. Esselstyn quickly advanced to a distinguished career in surgery at the renowned Cleveland Clinic Foundation. In 1985, when drugs were considered the treatment of choice for heart patients (as they mostly still are), Dr. Esselstyn embarked on a revolutionary course of action. The results of his investigation are being made available here for the first time to the larger public, thanks to Dr. Esselstyn’s gracious sharing of his pre-publication research findings.

His story is rather like that of Professor Dean Ornish, who is on our Advisory Board, and who convincingly showed that heart disease could be reversed in seriously ill heart patients when they used a low-fat diet, exercised, and managed their stress. Dr. Esselstyn’s findings contribute some important new information to the Ornish study.

Before I get to the research findings, however, it’s important to remember where we were 10 years ago. Doctors believed that by the time chest pains or a heart attack had occurred due to the blocking of vital blood vessels by cholesterol deposits, patients had absolutely no hope of ever again having a healthy heart. Their options: open-heart surgery, a lifetime of cholesterol-lowering drugs, or death. Scientific consensus held that diet could, at best, decrease blood cholesterol by only about 10-20%, an effect not considered substantial enough for disease prevention.

It was precisely at this extremely critical moment in science and medicine when Drs. Esselstyn and Ornish, at opposite ends of the country, stepped in and showed considerable courage. They asked not only [...]