Heart & Arterial Disease

Heart & Arterial Disease

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Atherosclerotic Arterial Disease

Concern about arterial disease has high priority in the public perception of disease. Drugs used to manage arterial diseases are among the most profitable chemicals ever invented. The extraordinary growth in variety and profitability of drugs to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and manage heart attacks and strokes is unmatched in medicine. Big money is invested in marketing and vested interests compete to control the public perception of these diseases.

The main event of a heart attack is the occlusion of one or more blood vessels supplying the heart muscle. Fatal heart attacks tend to occur in the morning with an 8 AM peak and in the late afternoon peaking at 6 PM. When blood flow is critically short, muscle cells die. This is called a myocardial infarct and the clotting event a thrombosis.

Thrombosis occurs in arteries narrowed by fatty lesions in the arterial walls. Thrombosis often starts with rupture of a fatty lesion, especially during exertion. All the surgical procedures that increase blood flow through critically narrowed arteries may not prevent heart attacks and strokes although placing a stent in an obstructed artery can rescue someone who is having a heart attack.

Stroke is the leading cause of permanent disability in the U.S. and Canada, second leading cause of dementia and the third leading cause of adult death. Stroke is the third leading cause of death and a major source of disability in the US where 700,000 people have a stroke and 158,000 die from stroke. From 1993 to 2003, the stroke death rate fell 18.5%, but the actual number of stroke deaths declined only 0.7%, according to 2006 statistics.

Atherosclerotic arterial disease is a whole body disease, but tends to be managed by physicians and surgeons as a localized disease. Heart attacks are studied and treated by cardiologists who know that atherosclerosis is a disease caused by eating too much of the wrong foods and exercising too little, but they are primarily interested in prescribing drugs. They tend to ignore the advantages of changing disease-causing conditions and focus on treating the consequences. In all fairness to physicians, most of their patients will not follow good advice and do not alter their disease-causing lifestyle. Taking drugs is a default option for most preventable diseases.

Cardiologists realize that medical interventions tend to occur late in the disease process, if at all. People in their 20s can have fatty tumors in their arteries, but may not show up for medical care until they are older than 50 years. The evidence does suggest that some interventions are beneficial in terms of preventing heart attacks and strokes and that disease progression can be halted by important changes in diet and increased exercise. The occurrence of a heart attack or stroke confirms that atherosclerosis is advanced, damage has been done and that the rules of intervention have changed.

In a discussion of the progression of atherosclerosis, Weintraub suggested: “I think it is important that we recognize that this process is not something that we were supposed to have to endure. We eat things that are wrong and our lipid levels are far higher than they were ever designed to be. As a consequence we are experiencing injuries that were never part of our biologic programming. We are not born with the ability to successfully handle the overload we place on our system, and this is why we develop heart failure after a heart attack -- because our normal, healthy, compensatory system is ill-suited for our bad behavior.”

The book, Heart and Arterial Disease is an intelligent guide to some of the most common diseases that everyone develops with age. This book is written to inform people who are at risk of vascular disease or who already have diagnosed disease. The issues are complex and patient study is required to form an educated opinion about what strategies are desirable to prevent and to manage these common diseases. Medical management of high blood pressure and arterial disease has become a complex of high tech diagnostic machines and procedures. There are many uncertainties and many disappointments with drugs and interventions. The smart reader will need to more than ever before to select the best strategies of prevention and intervention. This book provides the best explanations and current reviews of options available.

Your family doctor is supposed to help you prevent heart attacks and strokes but his or her time is limited and resources may be meager at the office. It turns you that the only person in the whole expensive medical/surgical network that can make sense of arterial disease is the patient. It is up to you, dear reader to solve this problem by removing the causes! This book is dedicated to the effort of intelligent well-motivated people to become well-informed and to take charge of their own management. You learn in detail about the causes of arterial disease. Preventive measures are explained. Diagnostic techniques and drug treatments are reviewed.

Some Topics

Atherosclerosis is a food disease.
Coronary Artery Disease
High Blood Pressure
Preventing Heart Attacks
Preventing Strokes
Peripheral Arterial Disease
Heart Failure

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