Last April, after eating ham for Easter, I suffered chest pain for 4 days which got worse and worse. I am very reluctant to visit doctors so I just did nothing until thurs evening, having babysat for my grandson, going home then being in so much pain that I called my daughter to take me to the ER. I almost didn't call her. At first they thought it was a g i problem but then two blood tests in a row showed I was having a heart attack. They wanted to put a stent in and I absolutely refused, having read that stents do not save lives. Then I coded, passed out and when I woke up I agreed to a stent. There was a clot in the obtuse marginal artery. Did I do the right thing? Esselstyn says in some cases a stent can be lifesaving. I hope it was in my case because I am not happy about the stent and the drugs I must take and questions about the dangers of stopping plavix and the fact that it can be the cause of late stent thrombosis.
I also think there might not be a difference between those who have stents and those who don't because nothing is mentioned about lifestyle and diet changes. I do not know if my plant based diet will prevent another heart attack. I do not know if stopping plavix will cause another heart attack. How would I know if such a thing should occur if it is because I have a stent, because my diet wasn't the best or because of the plavix? And I am not such a religious devotee of the plant based diet that I don't wonder if maybe H is right after all and I should have switched to his type of diet (although to me it would be very unpalatable.)
speaking of blood pressure. I was thinking about Atkins claim that his diet reduced blood pressure, It didn't sound right to me but I now think it might. The reason? On the Atkins diet you lose lots of water weight. On a diuretic people also lose lots of water and their blood pressure goes down. Could the two mechanisms be similar?
I don't think so...Every time I try eating meat my blood pressure rises from around 120- 125 to 140 in just a few days and in a week it up in the 160s.....thats every time I have tried it.....and it goes back down when I return to a plant based diet.I don't know if thats just me or if its scientific....
But right now according to Prof Willet its not at the level of science and he in a possition of authority to look at the requirements,the research data and make the call.I do however think when the research is all in it will eventually rise to level of science.....but someone would need to fund a massive study to get there.
I am sure I would have done the same thing. In a critical situation the stent may be the only feasible option. Lifestyle and diet changes need some time to kick off. If you can accpet that risk then say "no". In the long term, it is not the stents that save lives, but being under continuous control and handled with more stents and bypass that add a couple of years. After all saying no to treatment means you are on your own.
Since you were having a heart attack, a stent or bypass is absolutely the right thing to do, as it had a great chance to minimize or prevent the damage being done by the heart attack.
For those reading, is anyone having a heart attack or stroke, RIGHT NOW?
If so, get to a hospital immediately, because as a modern miracle of medicine, a stent or bypass may be able to prevent the damage from the heart attack or stroke.
OK - happily, nobody replied that they are having a heart attack or stroke RIGHT NOW.
If you want to prevent a heart attack or stroke next month, should you go get a stent or bypass? Unfortunately, no. 70% of heart attacks or strokes occur at fresh, new plaque, which ruptures and causes a clot. The old established severe blockages often have considerable collateral circulation, and the plaque does not rupture as easily. The only way to prevent next month's heart attack is to promptly and diligently adopt a healthy lifestyle. And a diligent healthy lifestyle can take effect that quickly. Don't forget lots of sleep, too.
Dolores, eating ham in one meal on Easter, I don't think should cause a heart attack. True, Dr. Esselstyn has no tolerance for "moderation", but ham on Easter is not really "moderation". It's one meal.
Please understand, I am only trying to be helpful. Please absolutely believe that the heart attack was not "your fault". You have worked very hard to have an excellent lifestyle, and you are to be congratulated for it. You can rightfully be very proud of your accomplishments, to take control of your health.
Should you take H's advice? Well, bless H for his perseverence and dedication. But H still points to the Masai as an example of a healthy population on a program similar to his. And this is even after Dr. Mann publicly reversed himself, to Dr. Mann's credit, and stated that "The coronary arteries showed intimal thickening by atherosclerosis which equaled that of old U.S. men. The Masai vessels enlarge with age to more than compensate for this disease. It is speculated that the Masai are protected from their atherosclerosis by physical fitness which causes their coronary vessels to be capacious."(1) Ultimately, H attributed the bad results of the Masai to occasional white flour use, which H completely dreamed up. And, if H were right that occasional white flour use was the Masai's downfall, that would imply that the SAD was actually very protective against heart diesase, compared to H's program, since the SAD has vastly more white flour than the Masai, but the SAD makes less atherosclersis.
My recommendation is to carefully consider Dr. Fuhrman's recommendations, compared to your present program.
I was pretty shocked, 5 years, ago, after faithfully and strictly following the Pritikin program for 2 years, and pre vs post IMT tests showed the development of lipid inclusions (fat pockets) in my carotid arteries. Well RATS.
After 2 years on Fuhrman, (with occasional binges) my lipid inclusions are gone.
We all have different heredity. Our heredity tells us how hard we have to work to be healthy.
Below I am listing aspects of our program, only as suggestions for your consideration. Whether you decide you might work to improve some aspect of your program, only you can decide.
Are you very lean? Are you near to pinching 1 inch by the navel? Some people are very sensitive to abdominal fat, and for some sensitive people, even 5 pound of extra fat, can make problems. Do you exercise daily? Do you get plenty of sleep?
DO NOT FORGET - You are a CHAMP !! Congratulate yourself for what you have accomplished, which is PLENTY. Do not beat yourself up or blame yourself. That is simply counterproductive anyway. Almost any other person in your place, would have succumbed long ago, but you have gone forward and taken care of business, with a great lifestyle.
OK, so we get a surprise that we have to do more.
More ideas, for your consideration:
You eat 4 meals daily, as I recall. You might read "The End Of Diabetes, and consider if you want to reduce to 3 or 2 meals. (I used to eat 6 meals, for 30 years on Pritikin, but dropped to 3 meals daily, and usually 2 meals on weekends.) There is a huge amount in The End of Diabetes. And, anything that is good for diabetes, is good for heart disease, and good for everyone. I certainly follow all advice in the book, for myself. I think I'll re-read it, just to make sure that I am not forgetting something.
Work with your doctor to analyze your blood tests, to look for clues as to where you should work, based on your individuality.
I got a more expensive cholesteol test, called the VAP test. I believe there are other excellent tests, today, also. The improved tests break down the LDL and HDL to small, medium and large particles. The VAP cholesterol test told my I have famlial type B lipid profile, so my LDL is mostly the small dense type, the worst type. My HDL runs very low, and is mostly the small dense HDL, the only type of HDL that is bad. The take home message is, that familial type B lipid profile is very sensitive to abdominal fat. So, I have to be very lean, to prevent heart disease. This is just an example of using blood tests, etc. to try to determine particular sensitivities that have to be addressed, particular to an individual.
Dolores, you are a treasure, and jc and I and H and all of us care for you.
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