Friday, June 20, 2008

Tim Russert's Death- A big surprise? I don't think so.

A recent article in the Health section of the New York Times describes in detail how Mr. Russert's physicians were nothing short of shocked at his recent death from sudden cardiac arrest. After all, he was on an "aggressive" treatment regimen to lower his significantly elevated risk of heart disease, including high blood pressure medication and statin drugs to control his cholesterol.

What more could one ever need to prevent heart disease?

Well....Lots of things!

For starters he should never have started that statin drug, a class of drug that research shows is completely useless in all but a small minority of cases. The fact that even though he was on this drug, his triglycerides were still too high and his HDL was still too low, proves that statins do nothing to affect these more accurate predictors of heart disease.

High triglyceride and low HDL levels are caused by excessive consumption of carbohydrates, and too little exercise. This deadly combination results in excessive outputs of insulin and the storage of fat in both the mid-section (another true risk factor for heart disease) and around the internal organs.

High insulin levels also contribute to systemic inflammation in the body, which in all likelihood is the truest risk factor for heart disease of all.

It's also important to remember that statins actually reduce your body's ability to manufacture Coenzyme Q-10, a key component for proper heart function!

The strangest thing about this article is that in one section it does everything short of literally telling you that statin drugs are not nearly as helpful as improving dietary habits and exercising:

"If there is any lesson in his death, his doctors said, it is a reminder.... that people, especially those with known risk factors, should pay attention to diet, blood pressure, weight and exercise — even if they are feeling fine." If statin drugs were as effective as they are touted to be in drug ads, why the important reminder?

Because they aren't.

If you want to start truly reducing your risk factors for heart disease, at the very least consider the following:

  1. A "primitive" diet, that avoids the majority of high carb foods like sugars and flour, reduces or eliminates grain and dairy intake, and instead focuses on lots of veggies, a moderate amount of fruit, good quality proteins and fats from healthy animals raised in a natural way, and other healthy fats from nuts and seeds, fish oil, avocados and olive oil.
  2. Exercise at least 5 days a week, with at least 2 of those days involving an interval based exercise routine. (If you have known heart disease or risk factors, check with a doctor first to learn how to properly implement this style of exercise)
  3. Practice stress reduction techniques such as meditation, prayer, progressive relaxation and deep breathing exercises on a regular basis.
  4. Get your vitamin D levels checked.
  5. Drink green tea every day.
  6. Consider a vitamin K2 supplement, or one with it as a component.

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