How Bill Clinton Can Reverse His Heart Disease
Dear Mr. Clinton,
I'm sorry to hear that you needed to undergo another heart procedure just six years after undergoing a bypass operation. I've heard that your doctors successfully implanted stents into one of your heart's arteries to make up for a bypass graft that failed.
I am a bit concerned, however, that your heart disease has progressed. I know that your cardiologist, Dr. Alan Schwartz, has stated that coronary disease is a chronic process that gets worse over time.
I'd like to suggest something a bit different: I believe that coronary disease is not necessarily a progressive process and that some simple steps can be taken to stop, even reverse, coronary disease. Such steps could prevent the future need for more procedures like stents or another bypass and allow you to focus on the work you are doing, rather than being unexpectedly sidelined again.
My view is that, in your situation, adding these few strategies can maximize your hopes of never--never--needing another heart procedure.
Here's the list:
1) Take fish oil--Or, if your doctor has already advised you to take fish oil, perhaps you have not been taking enough. An omega-3 blood level ("omega-3 index") is an easy test to be certain.
2) Take Vitamin D--Vitamin D is probably the most incredible health find of the last 50 years, including its effects on reducing heart disease risk. A typical dose for a man your size is 8000 units per day (gelcap only!).
3) Eat a true heart healthy diet. I've noticed in media photos that you are a little generous around the middle. This means that you've got some excess central body fat. It is therefore a virtual certainty that you have a substantial small LDL pattern, the sort that is worsened by grains, improved with their elimination. In other words, in this situation, the conventional advice to follow a low-fat, high-grain diet increases risk for heart disease. Eliminate grains, especially wheat products, and small LDL plummets, central body fat shrinks.
4) Make sure that hidden causes are addressed--In addition to the "hidden" small LDL, lipoprotein(a) is another major factor to consider. Lipoprotein(a) tends to be the province of people with greater than average intelligence who enjoy aerobic exercise. (No kidding.) I would not be at all surprised, Mr. Clinton, if you conceal a substantial lipoprotein(a) pattern. Incidentally, lipoprotein(a) tends to exert even greater danger when small LDL particles are present.
5) Regulate after-meal blood sugars--Postprandial (after-eating) blood sugars are a major trigger for atherosclerotic plaque growth. There are easy-to-follow methods to blunt the after-meal rise of blood sugar. Reducing or eliminating grains, especially wheat products, is a great start.
6) Thyroid normalization--Thyroid regulates risk for heart disease to a surprising extent. Correcting thyroid might be as simple as taking iodine. or it might involve a little more effort, such as supplemental T3 thyroid hormone (i.e., a pill). Regardless, thyroid normalization is an easy means to substantially reduce coronary risk and slow or stop coronary plaque growth.
Surely your doctor can help you manage a few or all of these changes. While they require little effort, they yield substantial benefits in gaining better control over your heart disease.
My hope would be that, with a bit more effort and insight, you could be spared the life-obstructing dangers of coronary disease. In fact, I predict that, given the above menu, you could make this most recent heart procedure your last.
Yours in health,
William Davis, MD, FACC