The Great American Heart Hoax – Book Review

by Annie on February 15, 2009 · 3 comments

in Healthcare & Health Insurance,Product Reviews


American spends at least $600 billion a year on invasive cardiovascular care. For a country with only 5% of the world’s population, we sure seem to spend more money than anyone else on our heart. Money aside, the risk involve in bypass surgery, stent placements, and coronary artery angioplasties might not be as effective as the medical community lead us to believe.

In The Great American Heart Hoax, Dr. Michael Ozner dispel the myths of why heart surgeries such as bypass surgery, stent placements, and coronary artery angioplasties do not work and how diet, exercise, and medical therapy might achieve better results for a majority of patients with heart disease.

I am going to change the format of my book reviews a bit. I want to capture the essence of each chapter in a quick synopsis under the chapter titles (at least the chapters that is not titles that are self explanatory). That way, my readers can quickly scan to see if this book has the type of information they are looking for. I will end this review with my opinion of whether this book is worth reading.

Part 1: The Problem

Chapter 1: The Heart Surgery Hoax

Heart surgery is a lifesaving procedure, but only benefits a small fraction of the patients. Besides the high mortality rate (15,000-25,000 deaths per year), 80% of patients also experience cognitive side effects.

Chapter 2: Heart Disease – It’s Not Worth Dying For

The majority of heart disease is related to the hardening of the arteries from chronic inflammation from fat deposits. I love the discussion in this chapter about large blockage vs small blockage of plague.

I am surprised that it is the small blockage of plague that we should be worrying about because they have a larger chance of rupturing.

Chapter 3: Understanding Heart Surgery

This chapter is a discussion of bypass surgery, stent placements, and coronary artery angioplasties.

Chapter 4: Why Bypass Surgery and Angioplasty Seldom Work and Why We Keep Doing Them Anyway

The heart surgery from chapter 3 are meant to address the large blockage of plague that usually show up in CAT scans.

Chapter 5: Pharmaceutical Follies

A list of the commonly prescribed heart medication and what they do.

Chapter 6: The Radiation Ruse

Do you know that radiation is accumulative throughout your entire lifetime? The amount of radiation in a 64 slice CAT scan for females are equal to 7.1 years of natural radiation exposure. While a chest x-ray is only equal to 2.4 days of natural radiation exposure. Hmm… something to think about if your doctor recommends a CAT scan.

Part 2 – The Solution

Step 1: Follow a Mediterranean Diet

The food that the author recommends are probably known to your average health blogger. Though I find myself smirking when Dr. Ozner put in two lines about how there are more recipes available in his previous book (talk about product placement).

I found the two paragraph discussion on potassium and magnesium in relation to blood pressure interesting. You often hear about lowering your sodium intake when you have high blood pressure, but it is good to know that eating more bananas might also be part of the solution. Have I told you that I am big fruit fan?

Step 2: Exercise Regularly

30 minutes a day, every day. Nuf said.

Step 3: Manage Your Stress

Step 4: Take Command of Your Blood Pressure

Step 5: Control Your Cholesterol

Step 6: Reduce Free Radicals and Oxidative Stress

Step 7: Avoid Chronic Inflammation

Step 8: Prevent Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes

Step 9: Have an Annual Physical Exam with Comprehensive Lab

A list of recommended specific heart disease screening.

Step 10: Avoid Unnecessary Diagnostic Test and Procedures

A description of the common diagnostic tests. Sounds like this is one area where we are better off ignorant of any potential blockage in our arteries.

Is The Great American Heart Hoax Worth Reading?

Yes. Even though I do not have a family history of heart disease, I learned a few things about the treatment of the disease from The Great American Heart Hoax. I am a big advocate of prevention vs intervention as practice by our current medical system. I would recommend The Great American Heart Hoax to any friend to read at least the first part of the book before making any decisions.

Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sagan February 17, 2009 at 11:04 am

Thanks for such a comprehensive book review! I’m always on the lookout for new health books so I really appreciate you reviewing this one :)

Sagans last blog post……Life Lessons: Aikido Part Two


asithi February 17, 2009 at 12:28 pm

@Sagan – I really like this book. But the interesting thing is that it made me think about radiation exposure. Sure I am afraid of heart disease, but with a relatively healthy lifestyle and being fairly young, it is something that is on the back burner.

But the fact that radiation is ACCUMULATIVE throughout our lifetime freaked me out when I was reading the book. I started thinking about the x-rays I got a few ago from my car accident and the MRI (which by the way does not exposure you to radiation since it uses magnetic imaging). Then I started thinking about the x-rays from my tooth canal and when I fractured my wrist… the list goes on. But let’s just say that I made a pact with myself always question any recommendation from any medical person for radiation exposure. After all I do not want to use up my allotment early on in my life. :D


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