How to Prevent Heart Disease
The Internet is buzzing with heart disease, how to prevent it. That is a 15 hour discussion even if done superficially. The best way to start learning about the heart is to learn about the heart, heart disease. The best place to start learning about heart disease is with the heart valves.
The following discussion is just how a doctor thinks about the heart and valves of the heart. Leave formal diagnosticating and treatment to your doctor or cardiologist (I didn’t mean to make a distinction between doctors and cardiologists, that was unfriendly).
Really, the only two valves that experience disease in the heart for all intents and purposes are the aortic valve and the mitral valve. If you start abusing IV drugs, then the tricuspid valve starts getting sick.
Really one other exception to this, if it is a kid with tetralogy of Fallot. Then, his pulmonic valve comes into consideration for developing illness.
Normal Heart Valves
The aortic valve is at the outflow of your left heart which beats blood into your systemic arteries to nourish your whole body, including the lungs. The mitral valve is in that left heart governing flow between the left atrium (which fills with blood returning from the lungs which it pumps towards the left ventricle) and the left ventricle (which pumps the blood out, again, through the aorta, so via the aortic valve).
So, what’s the most common cause of valvular heart disease?
As exciting as cholesterol and obesity are in terms of hurting us, the most common cause of valvular heart disease is rheumatic fever. You get that from A, beta strep. Yes, that’s the same strep that causes strep throat. There are many kinds of strep, but the strep that causes strep throat is the one leads to heart disease in the valves especially. And that’s called rheumatic heart disease.
Back to the aortic valve. The most common cause of aortic regurgitation, a big problem with this valve, is bacterial endocarditis. Bacterial. Antibiotics folks. Like that.
Everybody likes to think about the right side of the heart when talking about bacterial endocarditis. Truth of the matter is, the right side of the heart will be affected by bacterial endocarditis pretty much only if you are an IV drug abuser.
Still talking about the aortic valve, if you want to think about congenital problems, think about bicuspid aortic valve. This is very common. And such a valve will not work as well as a normal aortic valve.
What are the complications of heart valve disease?
Now, looking at all the valves in general, the most important complication of valve disease is embolization. They throw off a little emboli of tissue that goes on to your tissues to block an artery, and produce tissue death in the tissue. Like a kidney infarction.
So, if embolization is such a big problem with the heart, then anything worsening embolization should be considered when you are trying to do healthy heart things.
What are the main risk factors for heart disease?
The following things increase your risk for cardiac disease of any kind including valvular disease:
Obese? Well, you have to lose weight. There’s no way around it. That will take decreased intake and increased activity. If what you were doing is not producing 2 (some say 4) pounds of weight loss a month based on monthly weight checks, step it up. If the new level you go to doesn’t work, three months later you should step it up again. Like that. Pretty simple. But the literature in truth confirms that any weight loss done with a physician holding your hand is more effective weight-loss. So. Yeah.
Diabetic? You will likely need medicine and medical care for this. But eliminate sugar for a start. Exercise. Every day, at least 30 minutes more then a regular activity level is what you are going to have to do seven days a week. I’m sorry.
Hypertension? There’s plenty of self-help for this. But you’re more than likely going to need to be on a diuretic. That requires a physician. The guidelines for hypertension have recently been changed. You are no longer bad if you are greater than 140/90. They are now claiming that greater than 130/80 is hypertension. And I and many MDs still think that is still too high.
Smoke? You must quit. Use a nicotine source to taper off. Acceptable methods including patches, gum, and vapor, are all easily available. The smokes must go.
I’m teaching you all these things so that you know what we are all truly about. We are not about throwing drugs at problems. That’s like Hollywood throwing money at a problem on set. They don’t fix the problem; they just throw money at it. Not the correct answer. Ever. Similarly, if you just throw drugs at a problem, the drugs will have more side effects, and then you will have to use more drugs for those. That’s all very well for big Pharma who wants to sell the first set of drugs in the first place, then loves the idea of you having to fix the other problems with more drugs – – also on sale, so a bonus for the stockholder, profits, big Pharma corporate growth. And if you think the FDA has your back to telling you what sorts of drugs they should or shouldn’t sell, keep this in mind. 85% of our FDA is funded by big Pharma today. So, the FDA is no longer a government agency that thinks about you the American. It is a privatized, “highest dollar yield thing is what we want” spokesman for big Pharma doing exactly what big Pharma wants, and not what we need.
I’m not saying to go out and choke down as much redmeat as you possibly can and become obese because it’s infection that’s going to get your heart, starting with your heart valves. No. I’m telling you that if you are concerned about heart disease, many infectious things produce heart problems. Infection. Antibiotics. Sure.
But! If you are overweight and want to do what’s correct for your heart, you MUST lose weight. Simple as that. All the statins in the world are not going to help you lose weight.
If you are overweight and this has already compromised your heart, you Should give up redmeat because the kidney problems that your heart problems will be causing will be your biggest problem. Yes, red meat hurts the kids directly, but also indirectly, in excess makes an obese patient’s heart do poorly, and this leads to kidney problems, and THIS is what ruins your morbidity and mortality.