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Heart 411: The Only Guide to Heart Health You'll Ever Need Paperback – January 31, 2012
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Featured Interview: Marc Gillinov and Steven Nissen
Q. What are some of the risk factors of coronary heart disease that we are least likely to know about?
A. Unfortunately most people don't know the simple, basic risk factors--LDL (the "bad" cholesterol), blood pressure, and body mass index (a measure of obesity). Together, these three risk factors plus smoking and diabetes, predict more than 80 percent of the risk for heart disease. We also have a growing list of emerging and sometimes surprising risk factors for heart disease. These include rheumatoid arthritis, sleep apnea, periodontal/gum disease, and even air pollution.
Q. Do 1-2 glasses of wine a day really stave off heart disease?
A. People who drink moderately are less likely to develop coronary artery disease and more likely to live longer than people who abstain from alcohol. This makes biological sense, as alcohol increases HDL cholesterol and reduces blood clotting. The evidence is solid, but we don't have conclusive proof that wine staves off heart disease. Nevertheless, a glass of wine (or a beer or a scotch) a day can be part of a heart healthy lifestyle.
Q. How does stress affect the heart?
A. Today we understand the link between emotional stress and heart attacks. In the patient with coronary artery disease, stress can trigger a heart attack by causing release of hormones and chemicals that increase blood pressure and heart rate and also increase the tendency for blood to clot. Anger is a common heart attack trigger, with up to 3 percent of heart attacks preceded by bouts of intense anger. Managing emotional stress can be life-saving for the patient with coronary artery disease.
Q. Is red meat really that bad for the heart?
A. Red meat contains large quantities of saturated fat, which is linked to increased LDL cholesterol and an increased risk of heart disease. An occasional steak or hamburger is fine, but a diet that includes daily consumption of red meat, especially when compared to a diet rich in fish, is associated with an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease. If you do eat meat, choose less fatty cuts and limit portion sizes.
Q. Why is this book so important? How is it different than other books on heart disease?
A. This book is about proven strategies to achieve and maintain heart health. Today there is simply too much health information on the Web and on the bookshelves. Some of it is accurate, but much of it is completely wrong. Your heart-health is too important for you to get sucked in by ridiculous fads. You can't afford to make critical mistakes based upon incorrect and confusing information. In this book, we detail the evidence, dispel the myths, and distill the truth. Let us guide you to a life of sustained heart health.
Top Customer Reviews
Not because of any specific information or advice they offer (although there is a wealth of that, all backed up by the latest scientific findings explained in an engaging and accessible way for the intelligent layman), but rather because Drs. Gillinov and Nissen provide their readers the tools with which to evaluate the myriad health claims that daily clamor for our attention. Can we really "Reverse Heart Disease" or "End [...] Illness" now, as the titles of recent bestsellers assert?
A chapter devoted to evaluating medical evidence (Chapter 9) explains how to interpret and judge the scientific evidence behind the day's health headlines. The qualitative difference between the validity of observational studies and that of randomized controlled trials is thoroughly explained, as well as such concepts as surrogate endpoints (just because a drug is effective at raising HDL, or "good" cholesterol, does not necessarily mean that it saves lives), confounding factors (what else may be responsible for this result?) and causality (an "association" between low vitamin D levels and heart disease does not necessarily mean that vitamin D deficiency causes heart disease.) With this knowledge, the reader can begin to navigate the tricky shoals of medical information with confidence.Read more ›
My qualifications for writing this review are four college degrees, research in many fields, extensive study of experimental design, and a history of three heart attacks, two angioplasties (before stents), and a triple bypass 22 years ago. At that time, I went on the Pritikin/Ornish/Esselstyn diet and have had no problems since. I run 5k races with full exertion and no chest pain.
The authors recommend the Mediterranean Diet and statins. They say: "If you follow our advice, our waiting rooms will empty out, and you just might put us out of business." (p.531). Let's examine the truth of their assertions.
In the Lyon Diet Heart Study (1999), the Mediterranean Diet was compared to the standard American diet. The subjects were patients who had one heart attack. The Mediterranean Diet did better than the standard American diet, but here is the bad news. Nearly one quarter (24%) of those on the Mediterranean Diet had another heart attack or died. Is a 1 in 4 chance of dying or having a second heart attack satisfactory for you? Those are bad odds in my opinion. The Pritikin/Ornish/Esselstyn diet has a success rate of nearly 100% in preventing future cardiac events. Although the Mediterranean diet may slow disease progression, you can actually stop your heart disease on the Pritikin/Ornish/Esselstyn diet.
Do statins reliably stop heart disease? On page 53, the authors celebrate the, Scandinavian Simvastatin Survival Study, the 4S Study (1994), calling the study "proof" of the effectiveness of the statin and the results "stunning". They cite the dramatic reduction in the relative risk of those taking the statin.Read more ›
As they say in the book: "...many of our colleagues claim that there are two types of people in the world - people who have coronary heart disease and people who are going to get it."
This book is aimed at helping both types of people - I highly recommend it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very informative book and written for the layman. Answered a lot of questions I never think of when visiting my Cardiologist.Published 1 month ago by J. Smith
I started this book while recovering from open heart surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. While on the treadmill I saw many of my own questions answered. Read morePublished 1 month ago
Excellent. Written for the lay person. Good info anyone can understand.Published 1 month ago by Buffalo Bob
A family member read this book and recommended to me. Even though it is very heavy subject matter, it was written in an easy to understand manner, plus it was interesting to read. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Cynthia Fuster
Last November I was diagnosed with Coronary Artery disease. Since then I have dedicated myself to learning all I could about heart health. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Robert Bayer
I was introduced to this book because I was informed by local cardiologist (after extensive testing) that I had moderate-severe mitral valve leakage which required repair. Read morePublished 6 months ago by E. Adamy