It is a fact that heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States in both men and women, surpassing even cancer. As a cardiologist who is passionate about heart health and the prevention of heart disease, I find this statistic to be alarming and troubling, as most cases of heart disease are preventable. I know this may seem contrary to the information given by other medical professionals, health advocates and mass media. However, I can assure you that heart disease can be prevented. To address how it can be prevented, I would like to share with you my top 3 reasons why prevention is often hindered.
But before I do that, let me first share a story with you about a real patient that I saw for the first time in September of this year. For privacy reasons I will call him “Phil”. Phil, a white 44-year-old male, worked hard to support his family while dealing with the typical stress load that most Americans face. He had no medical conditions and would only see his primary on rare occasions. He exercised three times a week, was not overweight, however his diet was not ideal, and his father died in his 40s due to heart disease. About 6 months before seeing me, Phil began experiencing heartburn. Like most people, he would just throw back the Tums and thought nothing of it. His wife urged him multiple times to see their doctor. Phil just did not have the time and turned to “Dr. Google” where he read “heartburn” was nothing to be concerned about. Phil continued to buy more and more Tums and figured it was just stress. In September Phil had a massive heart attack.
I share this story with you first because “Phil” is the typical patient. His heart attack could have been prevented if he was properly informed, acted and remained engaged. This brings me to what I believe are the top three obstacles in preventing heart attacks. You will be surprised to read that they have nothing to do with medical treatment but are mental blocks that keep most people from seeking medical attention.
Let’s explore my top three causes:
I see patients on a daily basis who express to me how scared they are to schedule any testing. Fear of finding a heart problem is so intense in some patients that it prevents them from getting an adequate check up. If you are one of those individuals who is fearful of getting a cardiac check up, you are not alone. However, it is important to understand that, no matter how bad your heart condition is, it can be treatable and fixed (and in majority of the cases, without surgery) if it is diagnosed early enough. With the newest technologies at our disposal, a great majority of patients with advanced heart disease do not even require any major surgeries but rather a much easier procedure.
The lack of knowledge about heart disease in our society is astonishing, even among the most educated. It is my belief that no one should die of heart disease before the age of 100 as long as they have had adequate testing to identify their burden of heart disease, and as long as they follow the advice of a cardiologist who knows how to prevent heart disease. People are just unaware of how simple prevention is when it comes to the heart and unfortunately cardiologists have not done a good enough job providing you with adequate knowledge to avoid what is possible. Most cardiologists are well trained in managing heart disease when the disease has already developed, but they are poorly educated, or not motivated enough to help patients PREVENT heart disease. This was one of my motivations when I decided to write my book, Heart Attack, Will It Happen To Me?
Want to hear something crazy, but true? I have never had a patient under my care, who has followed my advice and treatment, have a heart attack, yet I have had thousands of patients come see me for the first time after having a heart attack. What a shame! What is disturbing is that 99% of all heart attacks could have been prevented. That is a fact! The problem is, we as human beings tend to procrastinate, especially if we don’t see an immediate need. So, if you don’t have any chest pain at the moment and have a busy week ahead, you tend to push back your appointment with your cardiologist, as that does not seem to be on top of your priority list. However, what you should realize is that, if you wait to have chest pain to see your cardiologist, it is too late. Chest pain is a sign that the arteries to your heart have already been narrowed to the point that they are causing your chest pain. My recommendation is that anyone over the age of 45 shoudl have a cardiac check up regardless of their sex or ethnicity (the tests will defer depending on the indiviual’s risk factors for heart disease of course). Furthermore, you know your body better than anyone. You know when something doesn't feel right. Don’t ignore the problem, you will just create a bigger problem. You could save your life by acting on your instincts instead of running from your fear.
I want you to be informed, eager and excited about getting with the B100 movement, where life does not end before the age of 100 due to heart disease. This is my passion. Which is why I am known as, “The Heart Doctor.” Remember, you can live to B100! Take your first step by ordering the B100 Choice Home Test.
To your heart health,