Dr. Holly Andersen is a New York cardiologist who once told a Clinton Health Matters conference audience how frustrating it feels when she is able to impact only the women who come in to see her. She believes that increasing public awareness of heart disease can save lives, and this must start with women. Dr. Holly likes to say that “if you can educate a woman, you educate the family.” Here’s her sobering take on what she calls the “big disconnect” in women’s heart disease awareness, prevention and treatment: * Continue reading “The “big disconnect” in women’s heart health”
I was asked last year by a large U.S. publisher to review a new book written by a woman who had recently become a heart patient. I enjoyed reading the first chapter or two until I came to the New York author’s dramatic story of the actual cardiac event itself. The part that left me gobsmacked was not the event, but her abject shock and disbelief that she (of all people!) could be experiencing a heart attack at all. The pervasive “Why me? Why me?” focus in this chapter clearly ignored a reality that the author had somehow chosen to gloss over: she’d been a heavy smoker for several decades.
Don’t get me wrong. Any cardiac event is indeed a traumatic occurrence no matter who and when it strikes. Sometimes, we truly have no hint about the cause of said event. And my immediate gut reaction was not meant to mock this author, or minimize her experience (which was awful).
But I felt honestly surprised that she was surprised. Here was an intelligent, educated woman who’d been actively and relentlessly engaged year after year after year in one of the most well-known and downright dangerous risk factors for cardiovascular disease out there – yet she’s surprised?
Cigarette smoking is considered the most important preventable cause of premature death in North America. So how is it even possible she would not know this? How is it possible that she would have no clue that her heavy smoking was damaging her heart? Continue reading “Are you a heart attack waiting to happen?”
You’d hardly expect a physician who spends his life trying to cure cancer to suddenly shift gears and suggest that maybe, just maybe, we should “stop trying”. But it turns out that New Jersey oncologist Dr. James Salwitz agrees with a review of data published in the September 2012 issue of Lancet Oncology, entitled “First Do No Harm: Counting the Cost of Chasing Drug Efficacy.” *
An accompanying Lancet editorial suggests that during the 10 years between 2000 and 2010, “many new cancer drugs produced marginal extensions in survival and simultaneously increased risk of treatment-associated death and side effects.” This compelled Dr. Salwitz to write: Continue reading ““Live a healthy life, then die quickly at 90””
When Britain’s Dr. Richard Smith speaks, I like to listen. He’s a former editor of the British Medical Journal (and also, coincidentally, a former med school prof who in 2001 resigned from his University of Nottingham teaching post in protest over the school’s acceptance of a £3.8 million gift from a tobacco company). Dr. Smith now offers a cheeky yet revealing overview of what’s wrong with medicine. In fact, I feel compelled to share with you his recent BMJ article, published shortly after returning from the World Cardiology Congress in Dubai. He writes:
“Doctors are not interested in health“.
A study from Johns Hopkins Hospital may be very bad news for drug companies that make statin drugs for cholesterol management.(1) Statins, of course, are considered the darlings of Big Pharma. I’ve heard cardiologists joke (at least, I think they were joking) that statins are so fabulous at lowering our LDL (bad) cholesterol that we should be putting the drugs into our drinking water.
Virtually all heart attack survivors are now routinely prescribed statins (whether they have high cholesterol or not) and there’s a major marketing push for docs to prescribe statins as cardiovascular preventive therapy for virtually all adults, particularly to reduce blood levels of the inflammatory byproducts called C-reactive protein. But the Johns Hopkins study lead investigator Dr. Michael Blaha has this important new warning: Continue reading “Study: statin drugs overprescribed for healthy adults”