The Nation's Health + [Heart disease reversal]

Heart disease is reversible

In a previous post, Take this survey: I double-dare you, I posed a challenge:

Ask your doctor: Is heart disease reversible? Their answer:

1) No. Heart disease is definitely not reversible.

2) Yes, in rare instances, like lightning striking twice.

3) Yes, of course it is! Let's talk about how to do it!

I predicted that few readers of this blog would respond. I also predicted that the few who did would respond with the first answer, Heart disease is definitely not reversible . After all, in nearly all medical practices, the only parameters routinely followed to track risk for heart disease are LDL cholesterol and blood pressure. A measure of the disease itself (i.e., coronary atherosclerotic plaque) is not followed. So how can your doctor actually tell whether heart disease is reversed or not? When I engage in this conversation with colleagues, it goes no farther than rolled eyes or a snort. In my experience, talking about reversal of heart disease is a wasted effort.

To my great surprise, this simple survey received a total of 177 responses. Even more surprising, 122 (69%) of respondents chose number 3, claiming that their doctor said that heart disease is reversible.

Overall results:

1--31 responses (17.5%)

2--24 responses (13.5%)

3--122 responses (69%)

Now wait a minute: Where is the disconnect? Why are doctors saying that heart disease is reversible, yet not following this concept in practice? Contrary to the survey results, I have yet to meet a patient who said their doctor was trying to reverse their heart disease. Of course, this may be a skewed population, but I find it hard to believe that the prevailing view is that heart disease is reversible.

Anyway, this simple survey cannot settle the why or how , nor can it suggest just how prevalent this opinion is.

I am encouraged by these results. If true, it means that the message that heart disease is a reversible process is spreading. It may be make-believe heart disease reversal as preached by Dr. Dean Ornish or claimed by statin drug manufacturers. It may be the hocus-pocus of practices like chelation, or scams like nattokinase. But perhaps the seed of this notion has been planted in the minds of the medical community.

I'd be interested in hearing from the respondents who reported that their doctor said heart disease is reversible. How exactly are they going about achieving reversal?