When you get a diagnosis that is serious and your risk profile jumps from a 12% chance of a cardiac event to a 25% chance in the next ten years, basically what the doctor is doing is turning on the sirens and red flashing lights trying to get you to “change” what you are doing. They don’t talk about lifestyle or nutrition. They may pay a little bit of lip service to the idea, but the guaranteed way is to push pills which will change your chemistry using chemicals.
The change written out as a prescription is to start taking pharmaceutical drugs which is meant to lower your risk factors and do it fast and do it in a way where your secondary risks factors may jump but their primary concern is longer life, even if quality of life is compromised.
Unfortunately, being the recipient of such a diagnosis along with a medical report that contains 15 phrases that are unintelligible gobbly gook. You can’t search Google to understand the significance of what a high Agatston score means except that “you are in trouble.” I am sure they do not intend this purposefully, but in practicality, they invoke fear as being a motivator to get you to take the damn medicine.
I have nothing against medicine, especially if it is to save a life from dire harm used as an intervention and buy time for the body to heal.
The basic premise of holistic health is that the body has the capacity to heal using various mechanisms to enhance and create health. You can smoke for 40 years develop lung problems and if you can quit and change your habits, the lungs will heal. It takes about a year to heal five years of smoking. So if you have enough time and some holistic therapy, you can heal. The body with a mind attuned to possibility will heal, eventually.
If you get a negative diagnosis, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. 1. Get a second opinion from another doctor, perhaps a functional medicine specialist or a naturopath may have another way to look at the diagnosis and how if fits into the larger picture of who you are. There is no one size fits all in medicine. 2. If you need support to counteract the worry or fear that is invoked, then reach out to your medical team / wellness team and see if you can get help putting the diagnosis into perspective. Statistics can be framed in such a way as to perpetuate fear, or they can be viewed a little more objectively in the case of a negative diagnosis. I know you have heard of the placebo effect where scientists will clinically discount a medicine’s effectiveness by 30% to counteract the mind-body ability we have to induce a better result through belief. However, there is another word, nocebo, which the negative effect of thoughts and feelings that lead to a worsening effect through thought alone.
There is an old adage, “If you think you can, you are right, you can. But if you think you can’t, you are also right, you can’t.” Do not underestimate the power of mind and attitude when it comes to your health. There is plenty of support for this type of managing stress and belief systems. Maybe, I will explore more of this in the future with the ways I have developed to learn this.
People with diabetes, heart disease and even cancer have experienced “spontaneous remission” which is a medical term for “cured” “healing” or a “miracle.” Doctors cannot explain it, but it happens. Does it happen with regularity, yes. Does is happen for everyone, no. What makes the difference? It is generally, a mind body connection, a spiritual awakening, a faith event, or something as mundane as a change in diet or ridding one’s self of environmental toxins.
Very basic. Very fundamental.
We look at sports figures who are highly talented and successful and we see a shiny finished product of years of practice. Literally taking 10,000 foul shots to be a 90% foul line shooter. Hours every week in the weight room, prepping for a physical challenge. High prices are paid to be the best at who you are. But what’s little know or celebrated is the concept that fundamentals must be practice without fail. No top talent reminds the top without a commitment to daily practice.
So let me use the high cholesterol phenomenon and give you one example: If you get a high score, then statins will be prescribed. The chemical in statins are high upstream from the manufacture of cholesterol in the liver. So high up it will also affect many other downstream processes necessary for health. For example, it lowers the production of Coenzyme Q 10, a chemical only discovered in the late 1950s. CoQ10 is significant in the role of energy production in the biology in that it allows food to be converted to energy by the mitochondria. Some people complain of muscle cramping and this can very well be a sign of deficient coQ10.
But there is another way to lower cholesterol that is dietary. It is a well-known fact that soluble fiber is masterful at binding with excess cholesterol to excrete it from the body. Ordinarily, the body will recycle bile which is used to suck up and digest excess fat from the digestive system. However, if you eat processed food, live in a city with polluted air, jog along a road way with car exhaust, or have other environmental toxins compounding health issues, better to excrete the bile rather than recycle the bile. The liver has a hard-enough job keeping up with endotoxins along with all the exotoxins we are exposed to. That’s another subject for another day.
So how do you get enough soluble fiber? Make sure you eat oatmeal or beans or any other legumes or add psyllium husks capsules to your regimen, add an apple daily for dessert, have hummus with your breakfast. Maybe add bran to your cereal or smoothie. It is not really hard, it’s pretty basic, I think you’ll have to agree. How about oatmeal with breakfast, hummus at lunch and chili for dinner? If you can commit to soluble fiber at every meal, then your cholesterol numbers will improve.
Now a word of caution, you can read this, think that you know it but not do anything about it. You can even start buying some of this food stuffs or supplements, but then you forget to take them. Having Omega-3 supplements in your cupboard will not improve your heart health unless you take them. It’s critical to cardiovascular health and brain health. If this is a problem, are you willing to practice your foul shots everyday of eating calmly and choosing wisely every day, every meal?
The difference between soluble and insoluble fiber
Soluble fiber is means it is water soluble. This type of fiber (beans, oatmeal, psyllium husks) binds with cholesterol and removes it from the body. Insoluble fiber is not water soluble, but it is also not digestible. It will bulk up the stool and help with elimination, it helps with weight loss, and can prevent diverticulitis.
Fast facts on soluble and insoluble fiber: (Medical News Today)
- Soluble and insoluble are the two main types of fiber. Many fiber-rich foods contain some of both.
- Both forms of fiber have health benefits.
- Humans have been using fiber as a dietary aid since ancient times.
- In a society built on refined carbohydrates, or white breads, pastas, and sugar sweeteners, getting enough fiber can take effort.
Centenarians, those that live to 100 eat legumes
Here’s an article I think is worth reading. “If you want to live to 100, eat beans.”
Mayo Clinic on Fiber
Excellent article: Dietary fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet
Coming Soon: More on Immunity in the time of Covid-19. We’ll explore prevention and what’s been learned so far about this novel coronavirus. Yes, if you are thinking I am going to talk about Vitamin D and Zinc, I am. Among other strategies…Get ready.
In conclusion: The body wants to be healthy, it takes a little bit of knowledge, then application to make sure it happens. Let me know if I can answer any questions surrounding heart health or dietary changes from a coaching perspective. The goal is Deep Health, which simply means, all aspects of health: physically, emotionally and spiritually,