Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD; paperback, 176 pages, 2007
We all know somebody who suffers from heart disease or who has died from it, including members of our own families. Heart disease is our modern plague. We hear about it in the popular media, every time we see a doctor, every time we talk to friends and neighbours, and every time we buy our food. It has become a background noise for many of us, so we don't stop and think: what on earth is heart disease and should I be concerned about it? People may suffer from many different heart problems, such as rheumatic fever, congenital heart defects, infections, tumours, heart muscle disorders, injury, damage from drugs and other toxins, genetic disorders, and heart failure. However, when people talk about "heart disease", what they mean is Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). Why? Because it is the number one killer in the Western world: more than a third of people in developed countries die from CHD. The majority of people with heart problems have got this particular problem.
Despite the fact that the death rate from CHD has reduced somewhat in the last 15 years, the number of people falling prey to the disease is still growing. And yet at the beginning of the 20th century CHD was so rare that it was not described in major medical textbooks because doctors virtually never saw it. Today almost 3 million people in the UK have this disease, in the USA more than 2,500 people die from heart disease each day, in Australia it claims around 50,000 lives per year and similar numbers are published in many other developed countries of the world. CHD is caused by atherosclerosis. What is atherosclerosis? It is a disease of the arterial wall that leads to narrowing and obstruction of the artery. The narrowing is due to the sclerotic deformation of the artery and the development of raised patches called atherosclerotic plaques in the inner lining of the arterial wall. Depending on which organ in the body the artery feeds, atherosclerosis in its walls will impair the blood flow to that organ.
Let us have a look at the organs that are most affected: 1. Atherosclerosis of the arteries feeding the heart (called coronary arteries) results in our single most common cause of death - Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) - the disease this book is about. 2. Atherosclerotic damage to the arteries feeding the brain causes strokes our third most common cause of death (after cancer). 3. Atherosclerosis of peripheral arteries causes Peripheral Vascular Disease with symptoms of painful muscles, cold extremities, ulcers and gangrene. 4. Atherosclerotic damage to kidney arteries leads to high blood pressure and kidney failure. 5. Atherosclerosis of intestinal arteries would lead to severe abdominal pains and digestive abnormalities; it may also result in the gangrene of the intestines. Wherever atherosclerosis develops it impairs blood flow, and hence the function of the organs and tissues fed by that artery.
Let us have a better look at Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), as it is our number one killer. The two major forms of the disease are angina pectoris and myocardial infarction (heart attack). Angina pectoris develops when the lumen (the space inside) of the coronary artery is narrowed, but not closed up. So, when a person is resting the heart can cope with the lowered blood supply. But when the person does some physical activity and the heart muscle has to work harder, the atherosclerotic artery cannot supply enough blood to feed the heart muscle. The result is a very typical gripping chest pain behind the sternum, usually radiating to the neck and left arm, rarely the right arm. The pain disappears with rest in the initial stages. As the disease progresses the person has to take medication (glyceryl trinitrate or other nitrate drugs), which dilates the artery and improves the blood flow, so the pain stops. Heart attack, or myocardial infarction, happens when the coronary artery closes up completely and the blood supply to the heart muscle stops. The result is the death of the portion of the heart fed by that particular artery. It can happen in a person who has never had any heart symptoms, or in a person who has suffered from angina for years. Typically the heart attack is manifested by severe chest pain that is not connected with any physical activity and not helped by nitrates. The pain is usually accompanied by extreme fear, cold sweat, nausea and shock. In rare cases heart attack may be silent, without the pain. About half of all people who have a heart attack die in the first 2 - 3 hours. Those who make it through the first few hours take weeks to recover. They are left with a scar in the heart muscle, which may lead to arrhythmia, heart failure and other complications.
Arrhythmia is an abnormality in heartbeat caused by a disturbance in the electrical conduction system of the heart. Both angina and infarction can lead to arrhythmia. Atherosclerosis has been known for centuries; Hippocrates and Galen outlined its symptoms. Rembrandt, in his famous painting Old Man, skilfully described the appearance of a person with advanced atherosclerosis: hard, twisty blood vessels visible under the skin, a yellowish lipid ring around the iris of the eye, signs of poor circulation on the nose and cheeks, yellowish, fatty deposits around the eyes (called xanthelasma), hair loss and dry skin. Conventional medicine does not know what causes atherosclerosis or how to cure it.
Risk factors have been identified, which are thought to contribute to the development of atherosclerosis. However, they are only risk factors; they are not causes of the disease. Among them are smoking, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, male gender, family history of arterial disease, stress and an anxious and aggressive personality. There are about 200 of them - and the list is still growing. However, what people hear the most about are cholesterol and dietary fats. The popular media, doctors, pharmacists, government bodies and the food industry all keep telling us that cholesterol and dietary fats "cause" heart disease and all other manifestations of atherosclerosis. They tell us not to eat natural fats and natural foods containing cholesterol but to replace them with vegetable oils and margarine. They tell us to remove meats and eggs from the diet and replace them with carbohydrates. They initiated and keep promoting a fat paranoia in the population. They use powerful drugs and other procedures to reduce our blood cholesterol. They have been waging a war on cholesterol and fats for the last 40 - 50 years. Yet, the rates of atherosclerosis and heart disease are still steadily growing. People in the Western world are having just as many heart attacks and strokes as before, despite following "heart healthy" diets, exercising and taking cholesterol pills. Marginally fewer of us are dying from heart attacks and strokes today because medicine has better ways of saving our lives when it comes to it. But heart disease and other manifestations of atherosclerosis show no signs of declining. All the efforts of our medicine, our governments, our pharmaceutical industry and our food industry are not making any difference whatsoever. The "War on Heart Disease" that they declared decades ago is being lost. So, are we doing something wrong?
In this book we are going to try and understand what exactly atherosclerosis is and what really causes it. We will then look at what each and every one of us can do to prevent, and even reverse, atherosclerosis in our bodies. But before we get to those points we have to dispel some myths; myths that have become so ingrained in our society that people do not even question them any more. In 1700 Sir Robert Walpole said, "When people will not weed their own minds, they are apt to be overrun with nettles." So, let us pull the nettles out to clear the way, so that we can see without obstructions what the reality is behind our heart disease epidemic.
Dr. Campbell-McBride graduated with Honors as a Medical Doctor in 1984 from Bashkir Medical University in Russia. In the following years she gained a Postgraduate Degree in Neurology. After practicing for five years as a Neurologist and three years as a Neurosurgeon she started a family and moved to the UK. Fairly shortly after that her son was diagnosed autistic, which prompted an intensive study into causes and treatments of autism. It was during this time that Dr. Campbell-McBride developed her theories on the relationship between neurological disorders and nutrition, and completed a second Postgraduate Degree in Human Nutrition at Sheffield University, UK. Having treated her son off the autistic spectrum, Dr. Campbell-McBride has returned to practice in 2000 and runs the Cambridge Nutrition Clinic. She has specialized in using nutritional approaches as a treatment, and has become recognized as one of the world?s leading experts in treating children and adults with learning disabilities and other mental disorders, as well as children and adults with digestive and immune disorders. In 2004 she published a book Gut And Psychology Syndrome. Natural Treatment Of Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Depression And Schizophrenia where she explores the connection between the patient?s physical state and brain function.
In her clinic Dr. Campbell-McBride works with many patients with heart disease, high blood pressure, arrhythmia, stroke and other complications of atherosclerosis. She has become acutely aware of the existing confusion about nutrition and these conditions, which spurred an intensive study into this subject. The result of this study is the new book Put You Heart In Your Mouth. What Really Is Heart Disease And What We Can Do To Prevent And Even Reverse It. Dr. Campbell-McBride is a speaker at many professional conferences and seminars around the world. Here's what others have said about Put Your Heart in Your Mouth: "Another vintage Dr Campbell-McBride book - controversial in its take on natural fats, but refreshing in her candid, no-nonsense style and approach to much needed lifestyle and dietary modifications." Kenneth Bock, M.D., FAAFP, FACN, CNS Author of the book "Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies" "Put Your Heart in Your Mouth provides not only a well-written, easy-to-understand expose, but also a practical plan for preventing heart disease and regaining health, one that involves a return to traditional foods and an avoidance of environmental pollutants and common household chemicals. And her recipe section is fantastic!
Put Your Heart in Your Mouth is must reading for anyone interested in diet and health." Sally Fallon, President The Weston A. Price Foundation Author of the book Nourishing Traditions "It has been my pleasure to read this book. The style of writing is both pleasing and easy to understand. Its organization is appropriate to the stated goal of keeping your body healthy. I particularly like the statement, "If your body fails you where will you live?"
"Dr Campbell-McBride has blended an abundance of information from the cause of atherosclerosis to a delightful assortment of old country recipes in such a manner that every word seems appropriate and flows evenly. I thank you for this book and its cutting edge information." Duane Graveline MD. MPH, former NASA astronaut, aerospace medical research scientist, flight surgeon and family doctor. Author of the books "Statin Drugs Side Effects" and "Lipitor, Thief of Memory"
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