Heart and Cardiovascular

  1. Surgery linked to heart damage

    'Minor' surgery could pack a MAJOR risk

    It's the heart risk factor you never even knew you had... and it wasn't triggered by anything you did.

    It was caused by your doctor!

    New research proves yet again that there's really no such thing as a "minor" operation once you're past the age of 65. Any procedure -- even one on your knees! -- can lead to serious, lasting, and irreversible heart damage.

    A simple operation could even kill you, increasing your risk of death by 600 percent in the month afterward.

    The new report looked at what happens inside the heart during common and relatively minor operations such as that knee surgery I just mentioned, hip replacements, prostate surgery, gallbladder removal, and more.

    It finds that 1 in 7 patients at risk for heart problems -- including anyone over the age of 65 -- suffer from perioperative myocardial injury (PMI), or when heart tissue is damaged during or right after surgery.

    We're not talking heart attacks right there on the table. Then, you're surrounded by doctors and hooked up to machines to monitor your condition, so if you have a heart attack, everyone in the room will know.

    PMI is subtle and harder to spot.

    In most cases, there are no warning signs. Only 6 percent of patients feel chest pain, and just 18 percent show the lower oxygen levels that could indicate ticker trouble.

    For everyone else, it all seems normal.

    But in the new study, researchers whipped out a new test to detect levels of a protein that turns up when heart tissue is damaged.

    That's when they found that nearly 15 percent of patients actually suffered from PMI -- and in the month following surgery. These folks were six times more likely to die than the ones who didn't have that damage.

    Naturally, the mainstream is taking away the exact wrong message from this.

    It's celebrating the new test, saying that it can now figure out who's at risk after surgery.

    Here's what I see: an urgent warning to rethink ALL non-essential and elective surgery in older patients.

    Sure, operations like a gallbladder removal might be necessary -- in which case you should certainly get checked out when it's all over to ensure you didn't suffer heart damage.

    But others, like knee surgery, are often completely unnecessary.

    In many cases, the operations may not even work at all, which is why it's important to take some time to go over all your options. More importantly, never be too shy to get a second opinion, ideally from a holistic medical doctor who knows when you need surgery and when you don't.

    If you're in the San Diego area, I can help. Make an appointment to see me here at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine.

    Not in the area? I'm also available for advice by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a consultation.

    And don't forget to connect with me on Facebook!

  2. Medical devices to get faster approvals

    Secret FDA decision could HURT you

    Think your Christmas has been merry?

    The medical industry is having an even jollier one -- and don't think for a second it's because it suddenly found religion.

    The only God it worships is money -- and by that standard, it's celebrating today like never before thanks to a Christmas gift from pals in the federal government.

    A new report from the FDA indicates that the agency is getting ready to back off on medical devices, lowering the standards for approval and making it easier to reap big profits faster than ever.

    Ready for the most frightening part?

    This new fast-lane system isn't aimed at low-risk devices.

    Just the opposite.

    The FDA actually wants to make it easier for RISKIER devices -- such as the type that would get implanted right into your heart -- to hit the market without going through all the usual rigmarole needed to ensure safety.

    The agency said "certain issues could be ultimately resolved in the post-market setting, rather than the pre-market setting."

    In other words, approve now and figure out the safety stuff later, turning American patients into nothing more than lab rats.

    But make no mistake about it: Despite what the FDA would have you think, device-makers are already off the hook when it comes to safety data in too many cases. One report a few years back found that two-thirds of 78 heart and blood vessel devices were approved on the basis of a single study.

    In another, researchers found that 40 percent of device studies were missing precise safety targets, and some left out critical information about patients -- including some who seemed to simply vanish from the study, like phantoms.

    At best, that's just sloppy.

    At worst, it's a hint of a cover-up, and it's still happening. Earlier this year, for example, the FDA admitted that it was investigating a series of mysterious deaths linked to the weight-loss balloons that it had rapidly approved.

    If this goes through, expect to see more of those kinds of warnings and investigations.

    Of course, you can call your lawmakers and demand more accountability... and maybe they'll listen. (Just don't hold your breath.)

    But there's something far more important you can do to protect yourself and your family members when you're at risk -- and that's to be skeptical of glossy brochures in medical clinics and hospitals and question any doc who's eager to use a new device on you.

    Ask about the benefits. Ask about the risks. Ask about the research. Then ask for one more thing: Ask for time.

    Use that time to bone up on what they're trying to do to you and make an appointment to see a holistic medical doctor who can help figure out if you have better, safer, and better-proven options.

  3. PPIs linked to kidney damage

    The only thing worse than reflux... Christmas is a time of good feeling... a time when we wish for peace on Earth as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. But all that celebrating can lead to another kind of feeling, especially if you haven't been careful about your diet. Too many rich meals and desserts can lead to the...
  4. Flu linked to heart risk

    Could the flu give you a heart attack? Getting the flu is like getting a punch in the chest from a heavyweight fighter. It can knock you down for the count, and not just when you're exhausted in bed as you battle the hacking, wheezing, coughing, and sneezing that mark the illness. A new report shows how it can leave...
  5. Vitamin K can protect against deadly heart condition

    This 'forgotten' vitamin can save your heart It's a deadly heart condition that strikes seniors across the country. Your doc won't mention it much, if it all, and one reason for it is this: He's absolutely powerless to do anything about it. There's no drug in the world that can clear calcium out of the aortic valve, where it can...
  6. Blood pressure drug linked to dangerous new risk

    Urgent warning over popular blood pressure drugs Pop the pills... gulp some water... swallow hard... then repeat daily. Blood pressure meds are used by so many people so often that most folks never even pause to question their safety. But many of the drugs are anything but safe -- and a leading consumer advocate group says that one drug in...
  7. Radiation risks from common heart tests

    Hidden danger of common heart test When you think you might be having a heart attack, you don't question anything they want to do to you. If they tell you that you need to stand on the roof in the rain and count to 100, you'll be on the next elevator up. Now, an alarming new study shows how hospitals...
  8. Heart attack blocked by leafy green nutrients

    The green secret to stopping a heart attack It's almost as powerful as a drug, triggering immediate changes inside your body that can protect your heart... stop an attack before it happens... and even prevent a stroke. But you won't find this one in a pill bottle. You'll find it at the end of a salad fork! Make sure you...
  9. Stents don’t lessen pain in stable angina patients

    Chest pain? Here's what you need to know about stents You'd better stand back, because a $15 billion-a-year industry is about to come crashing down! A major new study exposes the ugly truth about one of the most common procedures given to heart patients. It's an operation that's performed about 1,500 times a day -- a DAY! -- in the...
  10. Capsaicin can help you cut salt

    Too much salt? This little trick can help We all want to cut back on salt... but none of us want to make the switch to bland, lifeless, and flavorless foods. As it turns out, you don't have to. You can cut back on salt and love every minute of it -- and you don't have to make any sacrifices...
  11. Heart attack can kill you up to 1 year later

    What every woman needs to know about heart attacks You've survived your heart attack. Congratulations! Ladies, you know how lucky you are to make it back home in one piece, as women are more likely than men to die during a heart attack. But even after you're back home... even after you've regained your strength... and even if you've recovered...
  12. Heart attack? Don’t wait too long to get help

    Save your life in 60 minutes or less It's called the golden hour for a reason: If you're having a heart attack, it's your golden opportunity to STOP the attack, LIMIT the damage, and SURVIVE the scare. If you don't get help within those 60 minutes, you could suffer permanent problems, even disability, and that's if you're lucky. If you're...
  13. Licorice linked to heartbeat problems

    How Santa's 'coal' could hurt you! In just one week, the Christmas season will officially be here -- and with it, all the traditions we love. There's music... decorations... and, of course, food. So much food! Let's face it: Whether it's pies, cakes, candies, or just a rich meal, most of those yuletide treats aren't exactly healthy. But there's one...
  14. Atrial fibrillation linked to alcohol

    This common habit can throw your heart off track Time to put away the Halloween decorations, toss the leftover trick-or-treating candy, and start planning for Thanksgiving, which is just three weeks from today. Yes, it's that time of year. And by "planning," I don't just mean figuring out which side dishes to serve with that bird. You've got to get...
  15. Blood thinners study falls way short

    New warning over blood thinners They're some of the most dangerous drugs on the planet -- a widely used class of medication with a notoriously high risk of complications up to and including death. But a new report claims the real problem with powerful new blood thinners such as Xarelto, Pradaxa, and Eliquis ISN'T the drugs themselves. It's the media...
  16. Sudden cardiac arrest risk cut with a common mineral

    How to STOP the nation's deadliest heart condition It's one of the leading killers in the country. Sudden cardiac arrest is so deadly that it kills 90 percent of the people who get it... and it's so common that one American dies of it roughly every two minutes. Now, new research reveals one way to prevent this condition and save...
  17. Whole grains aren’t as healthy as advertised

    EXPOSED: Whole grains AREN'T healthy! Don't be a chicken! You don't act like a chicken. At least, you don't THINK you act like a chicken... but there's a good chance you share at least one habit with the old yardbird. Odds are, both of you are eating whole grains. Those are the backbone -- or maybe the wishbone -- of...
  18. Heart disease ignored in women

    How doctors make heart disease WORSE in women Ladies, there's a form of gender discrimination out there that's far worse than anything you might've faced out in the workplace. This one isn't about your salary... or even your job title. It's about your HEALTH -- and if you end up facing this ugly "hidden" bias, you could end up paying...
  19. Antidepressants increase death risk by 33 percent

    Deadly new risk linked to antidepressants Depression can make it feel like you're going to die... and, sadly, in some cases it can make you feel as if you WANT to die. But while the depression itself won't actually kill you, your treatment sure could. New research exposes a hidden risk of the antidepressant drugs now taken by more than...
  20. Heart attack risk linked to cooler weather

    Winterize your body to cut your heart attack risk The temperatures are starting to drop... and you know what's coming next. It's not just pumpkin pie. It's almost time to winterize your home and your car, getting them both ready for cold weather and -- if you live to the north -- the coming snow. Brrrrrrr! But while you're at...

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