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BobHamburger

My clogged arteries

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I'm looking for advice from the collective brainpower assembled on this site...

Four years ago, at age 45, I suffered a heart attack from a completely blocked LAD artery. I had an angioplasty to unplug the vessel, but there was some small residual antero-apical damage that left me with a mild arrhythmia. Since then, I've been taking aspirin, Plavix, a beta-blocker, and Lipitor. I've changed my diet to a very low sat-fat, low cholesterol approach, and I try to get regular strenuous exercise. I'm not a smoker, not diabetic, don't drink a lot, and have never been even close to overweight. I've religiously followed-up with my cardiologist in the interim. Over the last year or so I was starting to believe that the incident was a once-in-a-lifetime fortuitous early warning and that everything was under control.

Or so I thought, until the evening of Thursday, Nov. 19.

Out of nowhere my arrhythmia got much worse, accompanied by angina that would not go away with nitroglycerin pills. Long story short: Ambulance ride to the hospital, a battery of tests, and in the end, another angioplasty with three (yes, 3) more stents. The bright side was no heart attack this time, just three more dangerously narrowed coronary arteries (circumflex, obtuse marginal, and LAD again, further distal to the original blockage) that needed the Roto-Rooter treatment.

What's really depressing me is that I've done just about everything to reduce the risk factors within my control, but my body nevertheless seems hell-bent on clogging up my heart's circulatory system. I'm looking for ideas on new medications, new research, anything credible that the LAVA brain trust can suggest. Please keep your recommendations based in science and provable facts.

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[...]Please keep your recommendations based in science and provable facts.

Here's an article related to your condition, but it's not going to recommend a drug or medical procedure in the end. The article refers to many scientific works from such "reputable" sources as Circulation (AMA), The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, The American Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Remember that GIGO applies to our bodies as well as it does to the programs we write. I'm not sure how you'll feel about this, but it's worth mentioning because the world needs all the LabVIEW Architects it can get. Good luck. thumbup1.gif

Three quotes for those TL/DR-type readers:

Although angioplasty has been performed for nearly 3 decades and over one million procedures are done annually, you should be astonished to learn this fact: Angioplasty has never been shown to save the lives of patients who are treated for chronic heart blockages.3,4
The only indication for angioplasty is to relieve incapacitating chest pain—since this surgery has not been shown to save lives.3,4,7,9,13,14 To use the promise of prolonging lives as the sales pitch is dishonest.
I have studied heart disease for the past 35 years, and everything I know about angioplasties and bypass surgery makes me want to stay clear of these businesses unless there is absolutely no other alternative. The real alternative that too few people take advantage of is prevention: A low-fat, plant-food based diet, exercise, and clean habits will prevent this disease. Once the disease has started it can be stopped and in most cases reversed with this lifestyle medicine.18

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Thanks so much for your well intentioned reply. The article you referenced -- and accompanying physician's website -- illustrate some of the difficulties in researching this subject and getting a clear picture of the choices available and true, current state of the art. I've found that web content on this subject falls into three pretty clear categories:

1. Out-and-out fraud and quackery. It's been around since the beginning of time, and the Internet has just made it that much easier for all of the crooks and petty thieves out there to make a quick buck off of people's fears and misinformation. The sites that extol "oral chelation" for cleaning out atherosclerotic plaque are a prime example of this kind of BS.

2. Research articles published in refereed journals. At the other end of the spectrum entirely, they offer no quick fixes, only scholarly research that requires careful interpretation.

3. Sites created by legitimate medical practitioners which steathfully advance their own private for-profit agendas. These are probably the most misleading and insidious, because unlike (1) they hide their quackery under a thin veneer of legitimacy. Worse, they justify their positions by using carefully constructed argumentative techniques, picking and choosing reference articles which back their positions while ignoring those which contradict it. Read a little bit deeper and you see that Dr. McDougall is pushing his $4,000, ten-day residential "program." Hardly an unbiased source of data.

Every single mention of extreme lifestyle and dietary modifications, as a method for treating, slowing, or reversing coronary artery disease, ultimately funnels back to a single study performed in the 90's by Dean Ornish. His results were extremely encouraging and have been reported over and over again ad nauseum. Unfortunately, his study used a statistically insignificant sample and did not account for a whole host of confounding factors. Most damning, however, is that dozens of attempts to repeat or validate his findings have been completely unsuccessful. Ornish's studies are generally considered as bad research and pseudo-science by the cardiology community.

My personal cardiologist doesn't make money by prescribing drugs or referring me to surgical interventions; if there were some simple magic bullet lifestyle change he could recommend, that he hasn't already, he'd do it in a heartbeat (so to speak).

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Thanks so much for your well intentioned reply. The article you referenced -- and accompanying physician's website -- illustrate some of the difficulties in researching this subject and getting a clear picture of the choices available and true, current state of the art. I've found that web content on this subject falls into three pretty clear categories:

1. Out-and-out fraud and quackery. It's been around since the beginning of time, and the Internet has just made it that much easier for all of the crooks and petty thieves out there to make a quick buck off of people's fears and misinformation. The sites that extol "oral chelation" for cleaning out atherosclerotic plaque are a prime example of this kind of BS.

2. Research articles published in refereed journals. At the other end of the spectrum entirely, they offer no quick fixes, only scholarly research that requires careful interpretation.

3. Sites created by legitimate medical practitioners which steathfully advance their own private for-profit agendas. These are probably the most misleading and insidious, because unlike (1) they hide their quackery under a thin veneer of legitimacy. Worse, they justify their positions by using carefully constructed argumentative techniques, picking and choosing reference articles which back their positions while ignoring those which contradict it. Read a little bit deeper and you see that Dr. McDougall is pushing his $4,000, ten-day residential "program." Hardly an unbiased source of data.

Every single mention of extreme lifestyle and dietary modifications, as a method for treating, slowing, or reversing coronary artery disease, ultimately funnels back to a single study performed in the 90's by Dean Ornish. His results were extremely encouraging and have been reported over and over again ad nauseum. Unfortunately, his study used a statistically insignificant sample and did not account for a whole host of confounding factors. Most damning, however, is that dozens of attempts to repeat or validate his findings have been completely unsuccessful. Ornish's studies are generally considered as bad research and pseudo-science by the cardiology community.

My personal cardiologist doesn't make money by prescribing drugs or referring me to surgical interventions; if there were some simple magic bullet lifestyle change he could recommend, that he hasn't already, he'd do it in a heartbeat (so to speak).

Hi Bob,

You have spent more time looking into than I so at best all I can do is ask questions.

I was suprised to hear from more than one of those "oldest people in world" that mentioned alcohol in moderation. What have you read on that topic and how do you feel about that idea?

Ben

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Hi Bob,

You have spent more time looking into than I so at best all I can do is ask questions.

I was suprised to hear from more than one of those "oldest people in world" that mentioned alcohol in moderation. What have you read on that topic and how do you feel about that idea?

Ben

The extremists (Ornish et. al) advocate complete abstinence from alcohol. Most of the other studies that I've seen advocate moderate (not more than 1-2 drinks/day) consumption as being part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Some studies focus on red wine (with its corresponding resveratrol content), while others maintain that the source of alcohol is irrelevant.

I probably have about 5 drinks/week, averaging less than one a day. I like a good small-batch bourbon on the rocks before dinner, or some wine or beer with dinner. Both my personal MD and cardiologist think this is just fine. But if I really need to drink more, well, somebody twist my arm. :beer_mug::wub:

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I have to say "ditto" to what jcarmody wrote.

My dad is the best example of what seems to work the best for everyone: cardio exercise.

He's almost 80 but is in better shape and has more energy than I. He only needs to take a water pill for his BP and it's a solid 110/70. Around the age of 50 his cardiologist must have read him the riot act. Dad started walking, then running, working up to 20-30 miles a week and continued to do so until he had to quit a couple of years ago due to doctors orders- a hip replacement. He might be 10 lbs overweight now and I'm sure that came from his quitting running. He goes to the Y 5 days a week and works the free weights. He gets good walks in while volunteering at the hospital a couple of days a week pushing patients around in wheelchairs. Not only does exercise burn off calories it curbs your appetite. Except for a serious reduction of red meat he hasn't made any drastic changes to his diet. He simply doesn't need to eat very much.

His cardiologist said that what he is doing is the best thing you can do to help keep the arteries clear.

And excersise is not only great for your heart it's great for your mind. Dad's mind is still very much all there. When he's not doing something he's reading.

Oh, and Dad drinks. One or two glasses of wine daily. I've heard that might have something to do with a healthy heart as well.

Don't go running any marathons right now. Too many folks our age decide to make up for lost time and go Rambo right away - some of us dropping dead of a heart attack at the local fitness center during our first workout in 10 years. Talk to your cardiologist first. Dad started very slowly and wasn't really running until probably a year after he started brisk walking.

My $0.02

Good luck, Bob. I'm counting on seeing you around here for years to come. thumbup1.gif

Edited by PaulG.

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I have to say "ditto" to what jcarmody wrote.

My dad is the best example of what seems to work the best for everyone: cardio exercise.

[....]

I can't argue with exercise, Paul. The cardiac rehab program that I completed three years ago really brought me back to life after the initial MI. But it's no panacea either... does anybody remember the running guru, Jim Fixx? He croaked of -- you got it -- a heart attack at age 52.

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Bob

I am sorry that you got I ill.

Has any one told you what phenomena that gives clogged artheries? Its inflamation is not the saturated fat!

http://www.ravnskov.nu/cholesterol.htm

Get these books then you will see why the low-fat with a lot carbs are not that good for health.

http://www.amazon.co...41727510&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.co...59618130&sr=1-1

Even AHA, American Hearts Association are going towards recommending lowcarb diets, two years ago ADA American Diabetese Assoc. said low-carb diets are one options.

Look at this lecture with the praised New York times scicence writer Gary Taubes the author of Good-Calories-Bad-Calories

http://video.google....41487661765149#

My self I have lower my blood sugar and got better levels blood fats and lower my high blood pressure by lowering the carbs in my diet and some what raising the butter/milk/cheese fats. I was very skeptic to this in the start but there is simply no good science supporting the idea of the bad saturated fats.

I myself has read a lot of abstract at Medline and bought and downloaded alot of medical science journal articles around these issues.

By the way the world health organisation WHO released a report one-two month ago clarifying there is none support that saturated fats are dangerous.

http://content.karge...roduktNr=251867

Edited by Anders Björk

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I can't argue with exercise, Paul. The cardiac rehab program that I completed three years ago really brought me back to life after the initial MI. But it's no panacea either... does anybody remember the running guru, Jim Fixx? He croaked of -- you got it -- a heart attack at age 52.

I think what happened to Jim Fixx was an abberation. That kind of thing doesn't happen very often. But don't take it from me. Talk to your cardiologist. He will probably tell you to get off your @ss and start moving. I don't know where you live but here in suburban Detroit the neighborhoods are wide open with golf courses, big lawns and beautiful landscaping. Great scenery for a brisk walk. Pretty soon I might start jogging. yes.gif

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I'm looking for ideas on new medications, new research, anything credible that the LAVA brain trust can suggest. Please keep your recommendations based in science and provable facts.

I've heard there is a link between drinking homogenized milk and heart disease...although admittedly I have done no research on the topic. Just thought I'd throw it out there so you can look it up if you are a big milk drinker. I probably should do some research because I drink quite a bit of milk myself.

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Just thought I'd throw it out there so you can look it up if you are a big milk drinker.

Actually, I'm lactose intolerant, so cow's milk and I never cross paths. I use soy milk on cereal these days. Wonderful stuff.

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Having participated in a couple Diet Wars, I am leery to write this. Your cardiologist probably isn't going to like this suggestion, but here goes...

There are a lot of people out there who benefit greatly from a low carbohydrate diet. I personally lost 40 lbs low-carbing, and more to your issue, dropped my triglycerides (blood fat) from 283 mg/dL down to 80.

My dad, who was following a low fat diet, had to have emergency quadruple bypass surgery a few years ago. After his recovery, I finally convinced him to try low-carbing. His cardiologist was adamantly opposed, but as my Dad said, obviously a low-fat/calorie diet wasn't working for him. A year later Dad's cardiologist was astounded. He said my Dad's heart hadn't looked that good in ten years. Oh, and as an extra added bonus, Dad got completely off his high blood pressure meds, dramatically reduced his T2 diabetes meds, and dropped 20 lbs (yeah, Dad hadn't been in very good shape and could also have benefitted by getting his butt up off the couch every once in awhile. But I digress...).

Here are a couple articles:

http://www.annals.org/content/140/10/769.abstract

http://inside.duke.edu/article.php?IssueID=93&ParentID=6949

But if you want to research the actual science behind low carbohydrate dieting, pick up a copy of "Protein Power" by Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades. Reading that convinced me that low-carbing was definitely worth trying. They also have a someone less militant plan than Atkins who seems to be just about selling associated products.

Of course, as with all diets, 1) what worked for me, my dad (and lots of my friends) may not work for you, and 2) also as with all diets, if you go off of it, whatever good it's done you will stop.

Cat (duck and cover)

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But if you want to research the actual science behind low carbohydrate dieting, pick up a copy of "Protein Power" by Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades. Reading that convinced me that low-carbing was definitely worth trying. They also have a someone less militant plan than Atkins who seems to be just about selling associated products.

Of course, as with all diets, 1) what worked for me, my dad (and lots of my friends) may not work for you, and 2) also as with all diets, if you go off of it, whatever good it's done you will stop.

Cat (duck and cover)

Or listen to all podcast Jimmy Moore has done with pro lowcarb and pro lowfat professionals http://www.thelivinlowcarbshow.com/shownotes/

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since we have drifted to diets, I'll share mine but first I quote my wife who said

"It ain't fair!"

I used to always have a second plate so we did not have left-overs. I switched over to one plat only and to keep myself from feeling deprived, i was allowed one bowl of ice cream with no restriction on the size of the bowl. I lost 43 pounds by sticking to this diet. See my wife's quote.

Ben

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This is all very interesting, I don't need to lose any weight; I'm 5'10" and 163 lbs. I've never even been close to overweight. My cholesterol is also well under control (<140), between the low saturated fat intake and Lipitor. I could use a boost to my HDL, which averages in the high 20's, and which I've been told is genetic.

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This is all very interesting, I don't need to lose any weight; I'm 5'10" and 163 lbs. I've never even been close to overweight. My cholesterol is also well under control (<140), between the low saturated fat intake and Lipitor. I could use a boost to my HDL, which averages in the high 20's, and which I've been told is genetic.

That all sounds pretty good! Which probably just makes your health issues more frustrating for you...

That's why I mentioned the reduction in triglycerides with low-carbing. Do you know if your triglyceride level is okay? We're (obviously) wandering outside my level of research here, but intuitively I would think that high levels of blood fat would mean more of a chance to clog arteries...?

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Bob I think you could gain alot knowledge from reading Doctor Ravnskogs book it comprehensive with reference yet easy to read

http://www.amazon.co...41727510&sr=1-1

Listen to this you will find how liptor works and which side effects they have and what supplement that should be taken simultaneously. It is an old astronaut that is an MD that is interviewed.

http://www.thelivinl...ia-episode-308/

Edited by Anders Björk

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Hey Bob - how are you doing mate? I hope you're still doing okay...

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Hey Bob - how are you doing mate? I hope you're still doing okay...

Thanks for the kind thoughts, Chris.

Still here and kicking. Feeling fine most days, at least as fine as my advancing years allow me to :lol: My cardiologist prescribed a 12-week cardiac rehab exercise program for me, which is 100% covered by my health insurance (the topic of many other lively threads...) I go three times a week for supervised aerobics while wearing a wireless EKG monitor. At this point, each 45 minute session includes walking 1.5 miles on the treadmill at a 4% grade, followed by 2.5 miles on a stationary bike. Not bad for a middle-aged geezer with a bad ticker.

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Still here and kicking. Feeling fine most days... Not bad for a middle-aged geezer with a bad ticker.

Good stuff mate - glad to hear it. Now if only I could get on a program like that - I could do with the exercise motivation :D

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Good stuff mate - glad to hear it. Now if only I could get on a program like that - I could do with the exercise motivation :D

Hopefully, you can find a more cheerful motivation to start doing it. In my case, the very real threat of suffering a lingering cardiovascular disability, or, on the other hand, sudden cardiac arrest, act as strong incentives for me to get my arse off the couch.

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Glad to hear you're making changes Bob. My biggest problem with exercise is that it is so booorrriiiiinnnggg.

If there were a reasonable way for me to work on my LV ideas while going for a walk I'd be more inclined to do it. :)

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If there were a reasonable way for me to work on my LV ideas while going for a walk I'd be more inclined to do it. :)

I can't walk and chew gum at the same time either :rolleyes:

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Glad to hear you're making changes Bob. My biggest problem with exercise is that it is so booorrriiiiinnnggg.

If there were a reasonable way for me to work on my LV ideas while going for a walk I'd be more inclined to do it. :)

I agree exercise is boring. I have started to play tennis. This is FUN. You run around smacking the hell out of a little ball. Great for stress relief a lot of exercise and FUN!

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