Yes, it’s been awhile. But have you ever gone thru a period of time where you just felt like you didn’t have anything to say? Or perhaps you felt like no one was listening. Today that ends, at least for a moment.
Recently, in our community, a hand full of individuals have passed away suddenly. The culprit of course was heart disease, which is not a surprise. Many thousands die every year, so why should anyone, and I do mean anyone, think they are immune to the possibility. A cardiologist once told me he had a patient who’s only symptom was a toothache. She first had a root canal, but ended up in the ICU, with stents, at the ripe old age of 28.
My point here is that if you are an adult, you should entertain the possibility that you at least have the beginnings of heart disease. If you don’t believe, please refer to any respectable Medical Journal on the subject, where you will find that most westerners, due to diet, lack of exercise, and other factors, have the beginnings of heart disease early in adulthood.
Now the question becomes, what to do about it ? Caldwell Esselstyn MD calls heart disease a ” food borne illness”. His hypothesis that a plant based diet, no meat or dairy whatsoever, can cure heart disease, is gaining traction. However, being realistic, many people will never get there. Those that do however, find themselves with great health improvements, and living better lives.In that way, I have been truly fortunate.
But what about the rest of the world. Meaning the very large group of people that find change so very difficult? Perhaps they have food addictions, or an unsupportive spouse or family member. What’s the plan for them?
I speak here from experience.Incremental change can have a huge impact. Try cutting out one and only one thing that you know is bad. Than start with just a walk around the block every day. Do the easy things first. Once you are feeling better, it will motivate you to do more.It will also get the people you care about behind you, and motivate them as well.
I am going to go out on a limb here and talk about the practice of Medicine for a moment. First of all Physicians have saved my life at least twice, so I owe a debt of gratitude to the medical profession. However, no Physician is perfect, and certainly no patient is perfect.
Physicians sometimes make mistakes, and patients often minimize symptoms in the hope that something will just go away. In heart disease, both can be deadly. If you or anyone you care about has symptoms that are remotely related to heart disease, go in and get it checked out. No matter the time of day or night, if you have symptoms, you must go in.
And here is another thing. Chest pain can easily seem like indigestion.Thats what happened to me, and others. So be mindful of that.
And finally, testing. What happens if you go in and it turns out it wasn’t a heart attack. Meaning the initial tests for cardiac enzymes show no evidence of a heart attack? I strongly urge you to follow up and have further testing with a cardiologist. A treadmill or a cardiac CT can show evidence of the types of heart disease that will not necessarily show up in a quick ER visit.
Don’t let anyone, a Physician or otherwise, tell you that you have nothing to worry about. If you have symptoms, you need to get to the bottom of it and the only way to do that is thru treadmills, cardiac CT, or perhaps a cardiac catheter.
The thing is, your physician might know that it is unlikely that you have heart disease from a study that says only a very small percentage of people that go to the hospital with chest pain and are found to be healthy go on to have heart attack at a later date. But you are not interested in percentages. You only need to worry about one case. You. So ask questions, push if you have to, and get to the bottom of it.
The good news is that heart disease is very treatable, and even preventable, with diet, exercise, and good medical care. So take care, and don’t allow yourself to become a statistic.