Why Won’t More Doctors Tell Their Patients How to Make Themselves Heart-Attack Proof?
Back in 1855, a prominent Baptist preacher told his flock, “A lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on.” Nowadays, lies can travel even more quickly, thanks to the magic of the Internet. On Friday, February 11, 2010, the Associated Press sent around a news item titled “No cure for heart disease, Clinton’s case shows.” According to the article, former President Bill Clinton has just had more surgery to unclog his coronary arteries. He had a quadruple bypass in 2004, and now he has just had surgery to open up one of the bypasses. According to the Associated Press, Clinton’s cardiologist, Dr. Allan Schwartz, told a news conference, “This was not a result of his lifestyle or his diet.” That’s a lie.
Compare what Dr. Schwartz said with the opinion of Dr. William Castelli, who had been chief of the famous Framingham Heart Study. When an interviewer asked how many heart attacks can we wipe out by changes in lifestyle, Dr. Castelli responded, “All of them. There are five billion people on this earth. Four-billion-plus will never get a heart attack. Why can’t we be like them?” Castelli explained that keeping cholesterol low through eating a healthy diet has added benefits: “Studies from China show that if your cholesterol is low, you won’t get breast or colon cancer or diabetes either.”
To make ourselves immune to coronary artery disease, we simply need to keep our total cholesterol below 150 mg/dL. Castelli explained, “Your cells need cholesterol to make cell membranes and hormones. But when your total cholesterol is over 150—or your LDL [“bad”] cholesterol is over 90—the cells have more cholesterol than they can use and no way to get rid of the excess. They can’t break down or oxidize it, so it starts to pile up as a waxy deposit that will eventually choke the cells.”
Population studies have shown that people who eat a low-fat, plant-based diet are “immune” to coronary artery disease. Even when a population with a high risk of heart disease is deprived of their favorite fatty, animal-based foods, as a result of food rationing during wartime, their risk of heart attack plummets. It comes right back after people resume their old eating habits, so the problem is dietary, not genetic. Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn (http://www.heartattackproof.com/) has shown that even patients with advanced coronary artery disease can make themselves “heart-attack proof” by switching to a low fat (<10% of calories), plant-based diet.
Bill Clinton’s heart disease could have ended his life and may still do so. One prominent physician has pointed out that bypass surgery does almost nothing to save lives, and he provoked a controversy by arguing that Clinton’s bypass surgery has had a detrimental effect on the former President’s mental functioning. The bypass surgery itself dislodges bits of crud from the major arteries, which then cause tiny blockages (mini-strokes) in the brain. The decline in mental functioning after bypass surgery is so well recognized in medical circles that they have a slang term for it: “pump head.”
Like the sex scandal that led to his impeachment, Clinton’s heart problems result from his indulgence of unhealthy appetites. Articles about Clinton’s heart problems represent a “teachable moment” to tell the American public what a healthy diet really is. Yet once again, this opportunity is squandered.
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