February is Heart and Stroke Awareness month. Both diseases affect the critical arteries that supply blood to vital organs through a process we refer to as “atherosclerosis” or “hardening of the arteries.”
Much energy and payment is spent treating the acute events of heart attack (myocardial infarction) and stroke (brain infarction). We have wonderful facilities and specialists who can rescue many victims if they survive to get to the hospital. Opening clogged arteries with balloons, stents, clot retrieval devices, endarterectomy and bypass procedures is dramatic and gratifying! I’m all for it when everything else fails!
What about the aftermath? Check out this article from the United Kingdom.
Sounds like something that would be nice to avoid, doesn’t it? Why is there nothing in this article about prevention?
What if it could all be avoided? That sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Yet that is the premise of the Bale Doneen Method for heart attack and stroke prevention. I first heard about this program in late 2013. Upon investigation, I decided I needed to learn more about this doctor and nurse practitioner that guarantee their program will prevent your stroke or heart attack or your money back!
Somewhat skeptical, I attended their preceptorship in November 2013. 17 hours of lectures later, I walked away with a combined sense of opportunity, excitement and shame:
- The sense of opportunity and excitement were based on a new awareness of what optimal treatment for my patients could mean in adding years to lives and life to years.
- The shame was for all the time I had spent delivering standard care and thinking that was the best that could be accomplished and that some simply were too much burdened by risk to do anything but hope to slow down the unrelenting progression toward a fatal or disabling event.
“Follow the guidelines" is the expectation for providers today. Payment increasingly depends on it. Everybody gets the best care for the average person. What if everybody could only buy average sized clothes?
As I have been implementing the Bale Doneen method in my care of patients with vascular disease over the past year, the results have only reinforced what I learned at the preceptorship.
By following the 6 principles of the Bale Doneen Method, we are seeing improvement in arterial health! The 6 principles are embodied in the acronym ED FROG:
- Understand what really causes acute events and manage accordingly.
- Image the disease rather than estimating risk; reassess to evaluate effectiveness of actions.
- Evaluate for and treat inflammation in the arteries and address the sources in the body, including gum disease.
- Root Causes
- Understand that high blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking and diabetes are common but not the only causes of atherosclerosis that should be assessed to achieve our goal.
- Don’t settle for standard care, the equivalent of a C in a class. Shoot for the A+ by individualizing assessment and care.
- Newly available and more affordable genetic testing can make the difference between the just right treatment and guessing totally wrong; a key to individualized personal medicine.
Prevention or intervention well before the heart attack or stroke is not as exciting as the story of the collapse, the ride in the ambulance and trip to the cath lab, the bedside vigil and the cardiac and stroke rehab. Nor is it as burdensome on the family due to disrupted schedules to provide care, make hospital visits, and cut back due to lost income. Fewer vacations and holidays are disrupted. Stories other than “remember the Christmas dad had his heart attack?” will have to fill the conversation around the Thanksgiving table.
But, hey, there has to be some sacrifice, right? Eating healthy and clean, exercising regularly, losing weight and taking a few supplements and medications can accomplish so much more than many of us think. And we feel and look better in the process. Who would want to do such a thing? :-)
Why not try it? What have you got to lose? The depression, pain, financial stress and suffering following your heart attack? Let someone else go on that ride!
Let’s talk soon.
P.S. Pick up a copy of “Beat the Heart Attack Gene” to learn more about the Bale Doneen Method and ED FROG!