3 Shocking Myths About Heart Disease

by Steven Carney on July 17, 2012

Heart and cardiovascular disease remains the #1 killer in the U.S. (about 2,200 people per day or 800,000 annually according to the CDC and others). The cost of treatment is over $300 billion annually! And it’s hitting more young people with many teens to 30s having early stages of atherosclerosis! See my post on “Shock! Young People, Ages 18-35, Have Heart Disease!” 

And in spite of wide use of statins and medications for high BP/hypertension, people continue to die every day. The reason for this is simple: Heart-related conditions and disease are largely driven by how we live! You don’t catch heart disease like polio or the flu. And even if you inherit some problematic genes from your parents, you reinforce and activate those genes when you make unhealthy choices in nutrition and activity! Here are 3 common myths on HD:

1. Heart Disease (HD) is inevitable

That’s a myth, of course! Most heart disease (atherosclerosis, hypertension, heart-rhythm problems, heart failure, etc.), are often driven by an unhealthy lifestyle. There’s no doubt about this any more! You can manage your risk and even reverse your hypertension and atherosclerosis if you choose to. Is it hard? No, but you need to know what to do differently (the typical American lifestyle is a recipe for HD). I know what to recommend: dietary tweaks and adding activity, plus supplements if needed. I customize my recommendations for each client.

What causes HD and stroke?

The origins are somewhat varied and often interrelated. The most current experts say it’s not, I repeat, not simply dietary fat and high cholesterol. That’s mostly an old myth, driven by early, faulty research and kept alive with more biased drug research and an obsession for profit. Unfortunately, most doctors are years behind the learning curve, and many continue to push simplistic and passe´ concepts, telling their patients to take blood pressure and statin drugs, even though mortality is largely unaffected. Those drugs will not cure you!

The real cause of heart and cardiovascular diseases are inflammation (driven largely by an unhealthy diet and too little activity), oxidized LDL (OxLDL) from high omega-6 vegetable oils, and a lack of anti-oxidants, plus a high sugar and carb/wheat intake. Those carbs create numerous small, dense LDL particles, one’s which can easily accumulate in inflamed artery walls, contributing to atherosclerosis more than generic high cholesterol.

What foods to avoid?

The American diet (and other western countries) includes many inflammatory foods and lifestyle habits, such as:

  • Sodas and sweetened drinks (energy drinks, sugar-added fruit drinks, etc.).
  • Sugars/high-fructose corn syrup (candy, cookies, cakes, etc.).
  • Wheat and other refined-carb foods (chips, crackers, cereals, etc.).
  • Fried foods (fries, chips, other fried foods).
  • Corn and vegetable oils (high-omega 6 oils used in processed foods, salad dressings, etc.).
  • Trans-fats (also called partially-hydrogenated oils, also common in processed foods).
  • Red and processed/cured meats (beef, luncheon meats, hot dogs, bacon).
  • Too much full-fat dairy (whole milk, cream, butter, ice cream).
  • Alcohol (especially several drinks a day or more).
  • Excess weight (even a few extra pounds in the abdomen can contribute to inflammation and hormonal imbalances, including insulin resistance).
  • Sedentary living/lack of sufficient activity. 

So if you want to understand why heart disease and stroke are so prevalent, look at how many people fit the above list for their nutrition, weight and activity. It’s really simple! As I’ve said before, people die of ignorance more than any other condition or disease!

2. It’s mostly a man’s disease

Another myth! Heart disease and stroke are also the number 1 killer of women, far surpassing breast cancer! I know breast cancer gets lots of media coverage but it has about 1/10 the mortality of heart disease. According to the CDC, over 400,000 women have heart attacks annually and almost the same number of women die each year as men. And like men, a high percentage (over 50%) will die suddenly, without having obvious symptoms or warnings.

One key point to mention is that women tend to have different symptoms for a heart attack then med do. While men tend to have chest pain, arm/neck pain or a crushing feeling in their chest, women can have more subtle symptoms, such as nausea, shortness of breath or unusual fatigue.

3. It’s not reversible so I need drugs

Another myth! Because cardiovascular diseases are largely driven by lifestyle, you have lots of control over it! You can lower the risk and even reverse high BP and artery plaque (most doctors will say you can’t because they have no real training in right dietary changes, supplements and lifestyle improvements, plus they don’t know how to coach and support you in making those changes over several weeks.)

Most doctors tend to push drugs on their patients, drugs who’s benefits are often exaggerated and based on biased research. Too often, patients get statins or hypertension drugs, one’s that will never cure the underlying problems! BTW, most medical doctors will not admit what I just said!

In any case, I’ve written many posts on lifestyle and disease connections, in terms of how they drive health conditions/diseases and what to do to improve your health and genetics. (Yes, your lifestyle can change your genes! How you live can increase the probability of conditions and disease or lower the risk and can improve and even reverse many existing health problems.)

Questions or comments? Drop me a line or post comments after posts. And if you have issues with blood pressure, cholesterol, or other heart-related conditions, the odds I can help you improve those without drugs!  

Helpful links: 







I ran into this video on 2/19/13 and decided to post:


© 2012 by Steve Carney/End Sickness Now

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