Late last year, health enthusiasts in Bangalore were stunned by the sudden death of a local doctor. He had no history of heart disease, maintained a healthy lifestyle and was a fitness freak who never missed a workout. Yet he collapsed while jogging on the treadmill and died of a massive heart attack shortly afterwards. He was only 43 years old.
Cardiologists say there is nothing one can do in such cases since the attack comes without warning. They also say angiograms cannot pick up the blocks that cause such sudden attacks. And yet fitness experts insist we should have regular checkups. They also say people over 40 should be “practical” and not go overboard with their workout. This is how the experts explained away the tragedy.
Since the victim was a doctor and extremely health-conscious, we can safely assume that he had regular checkups, stuck to a healthy diet and was “practical” about his “cardio” workout routine.
This raises an important question: How could someone who diligently followed expert advice with checkups, diet and exercise succumb to the very disease he worked so hard to avoid? Is it just bad luck or is there a missing piece to this puzzle?
Here are some possible answers...
The “risk factors” that doctors focus on in standard tests, often miss the real underlying causes of heart disease.
The “one-size-fits-all” low-fat diet that experts recommend does not build a healthy heart.
Long duration exercise such as cardio, creates over-trained, under-fit, immune-compromised “exerholics” with reduced heart and lung reserve capacity.
Note: While the above statements may sound incredible and contrary to everything you’ve been told, they are based on sound science and worth considering if you don’t want to be caught off guard like the unfortunate doctor.
Let’s take each of the above in turn
Standard Health Checkups and Subsequent Treatment Give a False Sense of Security
Undue attention is placed on cholesterol while far more important risk factors are ignored. This is in spite of knowing that...
“Half of all heart attack victims have normal cholesterol levels”
- The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide
A study reported on August 22, 2011 in the journal ‘Atherosclerosis’ where 82,000 adults in the UK were followed for an average of 8 years concluded that:
- Higher total cholesterol levels were NOT associated with an increased risk of death due to heart disease.
- Higher total cholesterol levels were actually associated with a REDUCED risk of death due to stroke.
Researchers in The Fukui Study, Japan, classified 22,971 participants into groups according to their cholesterol levels. They concluded that:
Those in the 160-169 mg/dl group (both sexes), suffered significantly HIGHER all-cause mortality than those in the 240-259 mg/dl category.
High Blood Pressure Is Not Caused By A Blood Pressure Drug Deficiency
Doctors consider 95% of high blood pressure cases to be of unknown cause. Yet there are real reasons for high blood pressure. Here are some root causes:
When scientists need lab animals with high blood pressure for experimentation purposes, they inject healthy animals with sugar because glycosylation leads to high blood pressure. Hormonal imbalances, infections, mineral deficiencies, repressed emotions and exposure to chemicals or heavy metals can also do the trick.
Because blood pressure readings reflect body mineral and electrolyte balances and toxicity levels, as well as kidney and cardiovascular function, discovering the root causes for malfunction can be a complex and challenging endeavor. It is rare to find a practitioner who properly monitors blood pressure (taking comparative readings in both arms, calf and ankle areas and measures central arterial pressure). Rarer still is the practitioner who will properly test for, and treat underlying causes, as opposed to masking symptoms with drugs.
One thing is for sure: this epidemic was not created by a shortage of blood pressure medication. In fact, most drugs prescribed for the condition merely exacerbate its underlying causes while creating additional serious problems that should alarm any patient.
Warning: Relying exclusively on standard health checkups to protect you from heart disease is like crossing a two-way street while looking in only one direction. You are bound to get run over.
Time for doctors to order better predictive tests
Cardiologists must look at other risk factors for coronary artery disease that may have more significance than the usual cholesterol, hypertension and family history.
Here are some important indicators to look for:
High Insulin (whether the patient is diabetic or not)
High C-reactive protein
High (or Low) Cortisol
Low Coenzyme Q10 (especially for those on Statins)
Low 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D3
Other predictive tests worth looking at are: N3/N6 Ratio and Blood Viscosity.
Optimizing each of these risk factors can dramatically reduce heart attack and stroke. This approach goes far beyond just taking pills to suppress cholesterol and blood pressure.
Low-Fat Diets Do Not Protect Against Heart Disease
Last September, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition carried a remarkable overview of studies that have examined saturated fat intake. Here are some of the results found by researchers with the Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California, Davis (UC):
- One analysis of 50 years of research on the link between saturated fat intake and heart health found no evidence that a low-fat diet prolongs life
- Results of studies on the association of saturated fat intake with atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease were found to be "inconclusive or even contradictory"
- To state flatly that saturated fat causes heart disease is to ignore the many common factors that have been shown CONCLUSIVELY to contribute to heart disease, such as an intake of carbohydrates with high glycemic index, smoking, obesity, diabetes, high homocysteine, high C-reactive protein, lack of exercise and oxidative stress
- Abstaining from saturated fats has not been shown to lower the incidence of coronary disease or total mortality
And finally, it is worth noting that fatty acids are essential to all the tissues of the body.
Cardio Does Not Strengthen Heart and May Expose You to Sudden Attacks
The Harvard Health Professionals Study followed over 7,000 people and found that the key to exercise is NOT length or endurance but intensity: The more intense the exertion, the lower the risk of heart disease. Contrary to popular belief, high intensity exercise is also safer.
The Harvard Alumni Health Study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association came to the following conclusions:
Those who performed more vigorous exercise had a lower risk of death than those who performed less vigorous exercise.
Aerobics, jogging and marathon running are low-intensity, long-duration exercises. The Harvard study clearly shows that this kind of exercise increases your risk of heart disease and death.
Here’s why: When you exercise for long periods at a low to medium intensity, since there is no demand for high energy output, you train your heart and lungs to get smaller in order to conserve energy and increase efficiency at low intensity.
Action Steps for Better Heart Protection
As you can see, one needs to go way beyond conventional medical advice in order to achieve optimal wellness.
Ask your doctor to focus on better predictive tests as described above in addition to the usual tests.
Once you isolate true risk factors, work to correct underlying causes rather than to go on medication to suppress symptoms.
Don’t be afraid of fat. Learn to distinguish between good, bad and ugly fats. Eat a diet rich in good fats and notice the dramatic difference.Focus on short bursts of high intensity exercise followed by periods of recovery to build a strong heart and powerful lungs.