Friday, November 23, 2012
I wanted to tell this true story of someone who did the best they know to beat heart disease. It is a distant relative of mine who had his first quintuple bypass at age 48. I don't know details of his diet and exercise habits before his first bypass but I know that he is a (now retired) physician by profession and this was 25 years ago. After his surgery he started exercising regularly. He gradually increased riding his bicycle to where he now rides many miles, somewhere around 50, almost every day. The fact that he is still alive is considered unusual in itself. I assume that he managed to raise his HDL cholesterol through exercise and he probably lost weight and body fat, too. The other part of the story is that after 25 years the plaque in his arteries finally caught up with him again. He convinced his doctors to do a second quintuple bypass surgery, something that is rarely done, and he is doing ok now. I suspect that it will take a while for his body to recover from this procedure and I'm glad he is alive and doing comparatively well.
The thought immediately crossed my mind of what may have happened if he had been on a low-carb diet for the last 25 years. From the reading I have done I have every reason to believe that he could have reversed his arterial plaque, exercised a lot less and and not ever needed the second bypass surgery. But the information he needed to try this approach was not available to him. Most of the research that would have supported this approach is very recent with most data that is older being considered anecdotal evidence.
I have a feeling that he would have liked to have known about this anecdotal evidence. But anything that does not fit our current belief system does not get spread very quickly.
I wonder how many bypass and stent surgeries will be done in this country alone in the coming year and how many could be completely avoided if people changed their diet and added even minimal exercise. I'll leave it to someone else to do the math on how much money could be saved annually, probably enough to save our health care system.