Heart failure, once understood to be a symptom of Hyperinsulinemia and of Diabetes, is today the leading cause of death in this country. Since 1949, when the medical community reorganized its disease classification system, this disease and its treatment has grown to become a dominant influence in the health of the nation. It is instructive to realize that it was once relatively rare and usually associated with the Insulin Resistant Diabetes epidemic that started in the early 1930's.
Basically, although there are other important factors which we will touch on, the overwhelming cause of Heart Failure in this country is due to the effects of elevated Glucose and Insulin levels on our bodies. Both of these two Bio-active organic chemicals are directly implicated in the severe damage done to our Vascular systems and they are specifically implicated in Atherosclerosis in our Coronary Artery. They are also implicated in Cardioneuropathy and in stimulating changes in the blood which play a role in Heart Failure.
There are other pathological conditions, genetic, environmental, bacterial and viral that also produce Heart Failure of various types but these, taken all together, contribute little to the statistical significance of Heart Failure in this country.
Coronary Artery damage generally results in one of three clinically differentiated events. They are Angina Pectoris, Myocardial Infarction with accompanying Necrosis and sudden death.
Angina Pectoris is precipitated when the Myocardium (Heart muscle) does not receive sufficient oxygen to maintain its work load. Sudden chest pain manifests and the work load on the Heart must be quickly reduced. This stage of Heart Failure often occurs more than once and is usually not fatal. This stage of Heart Failure can cause Necrosis (muscle tissue death) and thus may possibly result in permanent weakening of the Heart function, but often no remnant effect results at all.
Myocardial Infarction is the classic Heart Attack that is caused by a sudden decrease in the blood supply to a part of the Myocardium. It results in severe prolonged pain and requires immediate remedial asistance to sustain life. It produces Necrosis (Heart tissue death). It is always caused by obstruction of the Coronary Artery, Atherosclerosis of that Artery. Often a blood clot is found in the Coronary Artery which has been found to be a result of the Infarction rather than a cause of it. How well the Heart can continue to function as a pump after such an event is directly related to how severe the Necrosis was.
Sudden death from acute Myocardial Infarction occurs in about half of the Heart attacks that occur. The Heart attack occurs when the blockage of the Coronary Artery is so severe that insufficient oxygen is delivered to sustain life in the heart tissue during the period before medical aid can be effective. When remedial action comes too late to prevent the death of a critical mass of heart muscle cells; the Heart then, as a whole, can not be revived and restarted.
In addition to the class of Heart Failure produced by oxygen deprivation of the Heart muscle, there is another class of Heart Failure mechanisms that are beginning to be recognized. This has to do with the damaging effect that Glucose has on the nervous system. In this scenario the autonomic nerves that time the Heart beat and synchronize the complex events involved in proper pump operation are damaged by the high blood Glucose load. Arrythemias and faulty Heart operation result. The disease is referred to as "Cardioneuropathy".
The diabetic state is known to make the blood thicker and to make it coagulate easier. It also makes the blood stickier so that the platelets tend to aggregate easier due to the higher Triglyceride levels encountered. All of these factors tend to make the Heart work harder in order to transport the same amount of blood around the system.
Here, as in most areas of degenerative disease, modern medical practice is to "treat" the disease without curing it. For insight into the economics of why this must be so see our history page.
There are a number of popular, and very expensive, protocols that are widely used to treat heart disease. It is important to understand the implications of these "treatments" clearly before committing to them.
Perhaps the most widely known "treatment" for Heart Disease is bypass surgery; this surgery became popular in the early 1970's. It is purported to be necessary to prolong life in those with severely occluded Arteries. However a 1977 study financed by the Veterans Administration revealed no significant difference in three year life expectancy between those who had the bypass and the control group that did not have it. Several similar studies have similarly concluded that there is no evidence to support the idea that bypass surgery can prevent Heart attacks. In addition to this, it is known that approximately 5 1/2% of those who undertake the surgery die on the operating table or soon after due to post operative complications. It is important to note that even in the successful cases of bypass surgery, the new bypass Arteries soon start to develop Atherosclerosis and a new surgery is soon required. Even in that vanishingly small number of cases where there may be some justification for the procedure, none of the other damaged Arteries are repaired. Like many modern medical "treatments" it does not "cure" the disease.
Another "treatment" for Heart Disease popular with Heart specialists, is Balloon Angioplasty. This procedure requires that a special small balloon on a catheter be inserted into the Coronary Artery and moved to where the blockage is. Once there, the balloon is inflated and presses against the Arterial plaque that blocks the Artery. Sometimes it succeeds in partially clearing the Artery by compressing the plaque. Sometimes it ruptures the Artery and immediate emergency chest surgery is required to save a life. Sometimes it provokes an immediate Heart attack. The death rate from this procedure in the hospital varies around three percent. It is, at best a temporay matter; even if successful the Artery soon clogs up again because the cause of the Atherosclerosis is not addressed.
There are a few other mechanical "treatments" based on similar ideas. All of them, including the ones described above, have significant undisclosed risks associated with them, all of them are enormously expensive, all of them are, understandably, very popular with Heart specialists and none of them cure the condition which continues to worsen.
In order to prevent Heart Failure it is necessary to prevent the development of Atherosclerosis. This means prevent the changes in the endocrine system that are known to cause Hyperinsulinemia and Type II diabetes which are the causal agents in much of the Heart disease that we experience.
We include a starter list of references for those who wish to further pursue this study. More specific information, useful in understanding and greatly minimizing Heart risk and in preventing Coronary Artery occlusion, is contained in our Special Report. Also included is basic information that you may find handy when you are called upon to discuss this type of surgery with your physician.
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