Heart Health

Tim Russert's Death Affects Us All

Yesterday was a shocking day for me – as I imagine it was for you, as well. Although I didn’t watch Tim’s show, he was an almost ubiquitous presence in many of the news programs I listen to – often quoted or even interviewed. What was clear to me was that he loved his family deeply; and he made time in a very busy life to write an entire book as a tribute to his father. That, to me, put him in the category of “a wonderful man.”

Today I read the autopsy reports and his medical history released by NBC news http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25145431/. I also heard some morning news shows where the hosts were baffled by his sudden death. I don’t want to seem ghoulish, but for the benefit of everyone, I think it is important to look critically at this event, with the intention of giving all of us insights into what we can do to avert heart disease for ourselves and those we love.

One of the newspeople – sorry, I don’t actually know her name – made a very good point. She said, “But, he was doing everything right. He was taking his medications and had exercised on the treadmill the morning he died.” (Or, words very similar to these.) What struck me was the plaintive tone in her voice, and it got me to thinking.

If someone with Mr. Russert’s resources couldn’t avert an untimely death, what can we do? I assume that he had the very best in medical advice and care, since his medical history is a roster of diagnoses: diabetes, high cholesterol, enlarged heart and arteriosclerosis; and – oh, yes – he was obese and under a lot of stress – as though those issues somehow accounted for everything. Many subsequent interviews I saw focused on reducing life stress. When all else fails, blame the victim! http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20080613/sc_livescience/

What I guess I find most disturbing is the trite repetitions of the very same medical advice that didn’t help Tim. For example, eat a low-fat diet, lose weight, exercise and reduce stress. Oh, yes, and consult your doctor for medications. These canards seem particularly empty in the face of such a devastating loss.

I feel compelled to offer dissenting – and hopefully, more effective – advice.

First of all, the medications routinely prescribed for high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes ALL contribute to heart failure (an enlarged heart). These medications are, in fact, mandated – a doctor has to prescribe them unless s/he wants to be sued for malpractice. But, the drug cocktail Mr. Russert was taking, believing he was doing everything he should, was clearly not effective, since he suffered a heart attack secondary to a piece of plaque breaking loose in an artery.

Secondly, none of the drugs in use medically today can remove plaque from the arteries, thereby averting such a deadly event.

And, thirdly, the standard dietary advice is just plain wrong! This is probably the item that makes me the angriest. The medical profession is in thrall to the drug companies as they push ever more toxic drugs to lower cholesterol while, at the same time, recommending a dietary regime that guarantees that cholesterol levels will continue to rise. The single deadliest misconception in America today is that high fat diets lead to high cholesterol. If you consult any first-year biochemistry text, you will discover that the precursor to elevated cholesterol is a diet high in carbohydrates. In fact, when the blood supply to the heart is cut off – resulting in a loss of oxygen to the heart muscle – the one molecule the heart can use to maintain itself in these dire circumstances is: HIGH QUALITY FAT! Beta-oxidation of fats is the heart’s back-up mechanism in the face of hypoxia.

I have been treating heart patients for more than half of the 21 years I have been in practice, and I can tell you from my patients’ wins that it is possible to drop your cholesterol to normal simply by limiting your carbohydrate intake to less than 200 gms per day. That’s plenty of carbohydrate to keep you out of ketoacidosis, but a small enough amount that you have to get enough to eat by loading up on vegetables with protein at every meal. A huge salad, a medium baked potato and 3 or 4 ounces of protein – from any animal source – is an ideal meal.

In addition, there are natural, proven remedies to avert heart failure and remove plaque from the arteries. These include: high quality B vitamins, CoQ10 and chondroitin sulfate (both in mega doses). Quality hawthorn (leaves and flowers), which is called “nursemaid to the elderly heart,” is also very effective in turning around heart failure. However, the current medical “news” claims that vitamins are dangerous and life-threatening! (See my article on this topic "Vitamin Propaganda Continues." Click on the category "Codex" to the right.) How irresponsible and disastrous to all of us.

I have been trying very hard to spread the word to as many people as possible, because I feel impelled to get the word out that there ARE effective actions you can take – actions more effective than popping toxic pharmaceuticals. I recently did a teleseminar on this very topic. If you want to know more, the CD and teleseminar notes are available through my web site www.RichardsFamilyHealth.com

In conclusion, I just want to express my sympathies to the Russert family. Losing a beloved family member is never easy; it is much more wrenching when it is so sudden, public and unexpected.

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