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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