Curing Heart Disease without Pills or Surgery

It has, of course, been known for some time that it is possible to prevent heart disease by changing your lifestyle. Family history is a major factor in the development of heart trouble and you can’t do much about your parents or grandparents. But whether you come from a line of people with healthy hearts or vulnerable, fragile hearts you can dramatically improve your chances of avoiding cardiac trouble by following such simple rules as avoiding fatty foods, taking regular, gentle exercise, learning how to cope with stress and keeping as far away from tobacco as possible.

The recent breakthrough (made largely through the work of an American doctor called Dr Dean Ornish) has been to show that it is actually possible to treat patients with existing heart disease by encouraging them to make significant changes in the way they live. Dr Ornish was the first clinician to provide documented proof that heart disease can be halted or even reversed simply by a change in life-style. After one year the majority (82%) of the patients who made the comprehensive lifestyle changes recommended by Dr Ornish showed some measurable reversal of their coronary artery blockages.

In a regime which, is it seems to me, a perfect example of holistic medicine in practice Dr Ornish and his colleagues have shown that by persuading patients to follow some simple basic rules – which include taking half an hour’s moderate exercise every day, spending at least an hour a day practising relaxation and stress management techniques and following a low fat vegetarian diet they can frequently help get rid of coronary artery blockages and heart pain. This advice is hardly likely to prove popular with surgeons and drug companies, of course. Sadly, I’m afraid that the potential for making money out of this sort of ‘commonsense’ regime is far too slight to please the medical establishment. If your doctor hasn’t heard of the non- surgical, non-drug treatment of heart disease it is probably because she obtains all her post-graduate medical information from drug company sponsored lectures and publications.

Dr Ornish isn’t the only doctor to have produced important work in this area. In a review entitled ‘The Natural Cure of Coronary Heart Disease’ (published in the journal ‘Nutrition and Health’ in 2003 Dr Allan Withnell concluded that the medical literature: ‘strongly suggests that lifestyle and particularly diet are the cause and the cure of coronary heart disease. The proof will lie in persuading the cardiac patient to change his lifestyle to the extent recommended and observing the result.’ Dr Withnell has put emphasis on the words ‘to the extent recommended’ and his point is important. It’s no good just cutting down from two burgers a day to one.

Naturally, patients with heart disease must get a doctor’s advice, help, support and guidance before following this sort of regime. And it is, of course, vitally important that patients who are already taking drugs do not suddenly stop them (stopping drugs too quickly can be extremely dangerous – many modern drugs are so powerful that they need to be tailed off gradually when the time has come to stop them).

But my advice to anyone suffering from heart disease is simple: before you agree to surgery or consent to starting on what may well be a long term course of drug therapy, do ask your doctor if she will help you follow the sort of programme initiated by Dr Ornish. If your doctor hasn’t heard of this type of therapy for heart disease and isn’t interested in finding out more then I suggest that you find another medical adviser. Any medical practitioner who is so wedded to drug company propaganda that she won’t even consider this type of minimalist interventionist therapy isn’t worth patronising.

And even if this holistic approach to heart disease does not completely remove all your symptoms (and, according to the evidence the odds are very much in your favour that it will) the chances are high that you will become much healthier and stronger. You will, therefore, be better able to cope with the traumas of whatever surgery or drug therapy you might need.

Taken from How to Stop Your Doctor Killing You by Vernon Coleman.

Dr Vernon Coleman’s bestselling book How to Stop Your Doctor Killing You is available on Amazon as a paperback and an eBook.