Heart attack and stroke kill more Americans than any other illness, despite all of the attention we give to high blood pressure, cholesterol and taking an aspirin daily. The fact remains that our current approach to vascular disease still results in a 50% failure rate! The most typical scenario in heart attack fatalities is that it strikes without warning to the individual, who is in the prime of life and didn’t know of their disease.
An increasing number of physicians, including me, are questioning the current status quo and we think we can do better.
As a physician, I thought I was doing my best by treating LDL, HDL, triglycerides, blood pressure and getting patients to stop smoking. Getting my patients to lose weight and exercise seemed like an exercise in futility, maybe because I wasn’t such a good example until a couple of years ago.
In May 2012, I was challenged to improve my own weight and fitness, guided on a Paleo diet and Crossfit exercise regimen. I learned about and started sharing the dangers of our highly processed, high sugar diet. I was screened for vascular disease using Carotid Intima Media Thickness, which provided further motivation as I saw the condition of my arteries in an ultrasound image.
As I offered this same test to patients, I was struck by how many exceptions there are to the rule. Many patients with high risk had significant disease, but there were a few who did not. Maybe they did not need all those drugs?
And then there were those with lower risk who had more than the expected amount of vascular atherosclerosis. How do we explain that? Is there no hope? What advice do I give to those patients who are doing everything right but are still in harm’s way?
Enter the Bale/Doneen Method. I heard about it in October 2013 and attended their educational program in November. What an eye opening experience! I was aware of the connection between periodontal inflammation and vascular disease, but realized how much of a threat dental health is after hearing the evidence presented. A large number of patients may not be diabetic, but have insulin resistance and are also at risk for vascular complications. Inflammation and measuring vascular inflammatory markers are now an integral part of my patient evaluation.
I now recommend Beat the Heat Attack Gene, the book published by Dr. Bradley Bale and Amy Doneen. Written for the public, it describes the opportunity to dramatically decrease death and disability from heart attack and stroke by addressing the “red flags” that go unheeded in standard of care practice.
I also offer Carotid Intima Media Thickness scanning as the optimal, noninvasive, affordable way to detect atherosclerosis. The test is performed right here in our clinic on specific dates. After the scan is complete, I provide you with a report and we discuss what your next steps should be. It is important to note that I don’t have to be your primary care physician in order for you to take advantage of the screening and post-screening consultation.
To find out when the next screening is, please call us at 217-321-1987.