I was sitting around a table with three "lipidologists" (cardiologists who have been declared cholesterol gurus through certification), an invasive cardiologist (stent and cath person), and little old me, the Naturopathic Cardiologist.
There was an intense conversation going on about lipid particles and atherogenicity, specifically about which ones tend to cause heart disease more than others. I chuckled under my breath (to the ire of my colleagues) and said openly that "it is not the particle that's the problem; it's the oxidation of that particle."
In other words, LDL is safe, all of it, unless it becomes oxidized, and when it does, it not only can cause heart disease but probably cancer as well.
Imagine having rancid oil running through your veins all day, that's what causes the problem.
There was a pause, and than one of my lipidologists colleagues said, "That does not fit into this discussion." I answered sternly that you are arguing over which particles do what, but you are not discussing how to stop the disease. He answered, "That is a discussion for a different day." I chimed in, "When are we going to discuss how to stop the disease?" I received blank looks and the conversation continued.
Let's say you or a friend of yours is trying to get pregnant - after all it is fun and patriotic (more on that below).
Let me give you some hints on how to make this happen:
1. Exercise with your partner 2. Pick a partner that doesn't watch TV sitting 3. Avoid Frenchmen or those who use aftershave (and men, you'll want to avoid women who have this chemical in their cosmetics or perfume)
Yes, three new research studies came out - that we talked about on YOU The Owner's Manual Radio Show (you do listen live or at least on podcast...live 5-7 pm every Saturday; podcast anytime at RadioMD.com - on each show we cover the most important medical stories of the week, and what they mean for you).
In the first, couples who exercise together regularly report better and more frequent sex. You may not like to see sweat on treadmills, or on public speakers, but you apparently get turned on by it, and want to see it on your honey, even if you don't think so.
Exercise stimulates the production of make-you-happy brain chemicals, and increases your libido and your feelings of arousal. (Even I get aroused watching my Nancy exercise.)
From the moment it begins to the moment it stops, life itself is supported by one of the most fascinating structures in the human body, the heart.
Based on an average lifespan of 75 years and an average heartbeat of 72 beats per minute, the average heart, that big muscle in the middle of the chest, beats around 2,838,240,000 without ever taking a rest. Tirelessly pumping the energy we need to sustain life.
What an amazing organ!
That is why the fact that heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States shakes me to the core as a practitioner. Why is this the case?
After all, we are one of the most scientifically advanced, educated and economically savvy countries in the world. We have Rhodes scholars and Noble Prize winning scientists and researchers conducting studies and drafting pieces of literature about health, disease, medicine, you name it.
But we continue to have a staggering number of individuals affected by a diseased heart. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control & Prevention) in 2008, 631,636 people died of heart disease - that is 26% of all deaths; more than one in every four. Every year about 785,000 Americans have a first heart attack. Another 470,000 who have already had one or more heart attacks, have another.
This isn't just a tragedy of life and loss, this burden we bear as a nation also carries an extremely steep financial price. It is predicted that for 2010, heart disease will have cost the United States $316.4 billion. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications and lost productivity.
Being a Naturopathic Doctor, I am fueled to think about troubling situations like this in a very comprehensive manner.
Is this a shameless gun analogy, or am I trying to make a point?
Actually, it is a little of both.
Mort, Matt, and Seth.
Mort is a 78-year-old male who was brought in by his son Matt who was 58, and Matt's son Seth who was 35 years old.
Two years ago Mort had his fifth stent implanted into his coronary arteries to help repair the two bypass surgeries, which had failed over time to keep blood pumping into the heart muscle. Mort was told by his previous cardiologist that he was lucky to have a technology, which could "buy him a few more years", because he just had bad genetics.
Matt, Mort's son, had already had a heart attack at 45 with a nice little Mort starter kit of three stents. He felt that bypass was inevitable in the next few years. Seth joked with me that he was looking at his future, but uneasily.
Combined, Mort and Matt where on 14 medications. The cardiologist wanted to start Seth on cholesterol lowering medications even though he was without symptoms and still a young man.
"Collaborating to create the expertise, information, and tools that people and communities need to protect their health – through health promotion, prevention of disease, injury and disability, and preparedness for new health threats"
In my opinion - as well as many other doctors, physicians, PhD's, pharmacists, chiropractors, public health officials, and health care practitioners - the CDC is failing in it's mission.
The CDC is like any other giant government organization, in that it tends to change course only after it hits the iceberg. In the first portion of the above mission statement it says collaboration, but in reality, that's not what happens. True collaboration would mean to work with anyone who has a hand in health care, which is not just medical doctors, osteopathic doctors, and PhD's.
I have reversed thousands of cases of heart failure, treated and reversed thousands of patients with heart disease and have never received a call from the CDC to "collaborate". In addition, the best people I know in all fields of medicine who are integrating models and systems with amazing documented success have never received a call from the CDC.
Simply put, my patients are intimidated by the phrase "mind-body" connection. As a cardiologist, the majority of my patients are in their 5th-8th decades of life, and they look at the "mind-body" connection in three ways.
The first is as a 70's pot smoking, acid dropping rebel. The second is as a pagan (not necessarily bad as many of my seniors have embraced eastern religions) monk who lives a simple life and meditates on a daily basis, or third as a pious Christian holy person who hits their knees in supplication on a daily basis and is a regular confession.
I explain to them what their simple mistake is; the mind-body connection does not have to be a mind-body-spirit connection; especially at first.
With any chronic disease there is either a life threatening aspect to it, a quality-of-life threatening aspect, or both. A person's perspective on their disease state can be doom and gloom, a hand-over of power, or an embracement of the issue to learn about who they are.
Medically, we know that negative emotions decrease the healing systems of the body, including the neurological system with neurotransmitters (hard to get well with adrenaline shooting though veins all day), the immune system, the endocrine system, as well as the inflammatory/anti-inflammatory components of the body.
As a Naturopathic Doctor and cardiologist I split my time between heart and everything else about 60/40, so when a 16 year old with rheumatoid arthritis was coming in I wasn't surprised.
However when she showed up, I found a fluid-bloated young girl in a wheel chair.
Turns out she was maxed on medication including steroids and a drug which has a side effect of lymphoma. The mother was overweight with poor skin, the father refused to come saying that the daughter was already seeing the finest physicians in the world at the Mayo Clinic.
I did a brief physical and had an explanation that because of her food and life habits, along with environmental toxicity, her body had become allergic to her joints. The family although reasonably wealthy, lived on processed (junk) foods. The mother stated that the other two children where obese, and that the father although thin, had a heart attack before the age of fifty.
I explained to the mom that they had a toxic and sick house, and that all the junk food needed to go. I arranged for one of my interns to take the family to Whole Foods, and the mother started to cry.
Avoiding the flu may be more than just washing your hands.
The flu is back and with a vengeance. It's now considered one of the worst flu seasons in recent years. Hitting the U.S. unusually early and hard this year, the flu has officially arrived and it won't be departing anytime soon. Many local hospitals are closing their doors to flu and respiratory patients, and sending them on to other facilities.
Sometimes, I feel that we underestimate the crippling powers of the flu.
We really need to have a healthy appreciation for it, and take every precaution to avoid it. New research tells us it's never too soon to be prepared, and certainly not too late to get vaccinated against one of the most insidious and aggressive strains of flu in recent memory.
As a naturopathic doctor and author, I lecture quite frequently all across the country. Last week I was on the blue-line train from O'Hare to downtown Chicago to address a group of doctors on subclinical hypothyroidism. As I approached the city, I thought, What the heck?, and decided to connect with my friend Maddy, who lives downtown. To my surprise, Maddy was on the green-line train coming home from work and free to meet after my lecture. I was thrilled! We had a wonderful time catching up on all aspects of our lives. She was upbeat as she shared that her career and finances were better than ever been and that she was beginning to date someone she really liked. But there was one area of her life that she was quite frustrated with—her overall health.
She looked at me and said simply, "Hol, my body is doing funny things, and I don't like it." It was obvious that she had gained some weight, but I asked her to be more specific and look beyond the weight gain. She told me that her annual blood work showed elevated cholesterol levels and the doctor had diagnosed her as prediabetic, with her blood sugar regularly running high and blood pressure measuring slightly high. I then asked her a myriad of questions regarding her lifestyle, diet, and habits—similar questions I would ask patients in my practice.
Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, and Mike Bibby. What do these NBA stars all have in common, besides the fact that they are all guards?
You guessed it - according to their Nike advertisements, it's their love for the game of basketball - they love it irrationally and unconditionally - meaning independently of other benefits.
As an enthusiastic spectator of many sports and player of one or two (I captained the US squash team in its inaugaural foray into the Pan American games), I enjoy seeing the dedication of athletes and am always amazed by the sweat and tears left on the court and in the stands afterwards. So, why do fans get so wrapped up in the team's performance?
We talked about the science of this on the YOU The Owner's Manual Radio Show during the 11-24-2012 program...but here's the summary: What fuels an athlete to give 110% effort is more than making bank, or being famous. The fame and cash flow aren't too shabby for many of the professionals, but we all know that money can't always buy happiness.
Whether athletes are playing under the spotlight or at the neighborhood courts, sports competitions trigger the release of something much deeper to humans - oxytocin, the love or cuddle hormone that's released by couples in love and by mom's in tremendous amounts during early bonding with their newborns.
Hello All, The news from Connecticut has hit us all really hard. This is a message from the AAP President that we hope will assist you in dealing with this tragedy.
A Message from AAP President Thomas McInerny, MD, FAAP, in Response to Connecticut School Shooting
Today is a day of sadness and grief for everyone who cares for children. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers its deepest sympathies to everyone affected by today's tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Pediatricians and other child health experts strongly recommend that schools and parents avail themselves of resources to help them talk with children about this disaster. As in any frightening situation, young children should not be exposed to the extensive media coverage of the event -- in other words, turn off the TV, computer, and other media devices. The AAP offers resources for talking to children about disasters, and advice on watching for signs of stress and trauma. Parents also can use their child's pediatrician as a source of advice and support during this time.
Hello again. When last we met, I was speaking about losing weight, and getting fit. If you are a busy mom, and if you have to work a job, or 2 as I do, as well as take the kids to various activities and (try to) keep a clean house, it can become overwhelming.
So I would like to offer some bits of information on making it all come together with out driving yourself nuts.
First thing is..ENLIST THE HELP OF YOUR SPOUSE.
Too many women think they are an island. We cannot, I repeat cannot, do it all alone. If you are a single mother - especially - you have to enlist the help of others. I know many of you are saying to me, "but they don't do it right, or the way I would do it".
Well yes, that is true. However, one thing I have learned is...
wait...still trying to learn.... haha...
....is you can not control the way other people do things for you. Yes we certainly try, and its frustrating that other people can't do things as well as we can. But we must learn to settle down and take the help that is given.