I truly never thought I’d see the day that the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) would agree with me on something.
But there’s a first for everything. And it turns out, their recently updated guidelines for heart disease prevention fall in line with some of the recommendations I’ve been giving my patients for years.
For one, they include a recommendation against the broad use of aspirin therapy. (And not a moment too soon. Because as I explained last week, it increases your risk of everything from bleeding to cancer, all while not even working to begin with.)
There’s more than one surprise here, though. So let’s dive right in…
Better late than never
I’ll start with this quote from a press conference at the recent ACC 68th Annual Scientific Session 2019:
“What we’re here to talk about today is the fact that through lifestyle choices and modifications, nearly 80 percent of all cardiovascular disease can be prevented. These 2019 prevention guidelines look at the whole person and how individuals, working hand in hand with their clinicians and physicians, can manage their vulnerabilities.”
Wow! How long did it take them to come to this realization? At least my entire career, folks.
How many lives could have been saved if this had been the emphasis all along? And how many medications (and side effects) could have been avoided if they’d just pulled their heads out of the sand sooner?
We may never know the answers to these questions. But I suppose this shift in guidelines is better late than never. Sometimes it pays to keep it simple—and way more emphasis needs to be placed on the individual’s role in remaining healthy. So regardless how late, this is progress.
The new guidelines also focus on lifestyle as “the most important part of prevention throughout the entire lifespan,” adding that, “based on scientific evidence, we now know that only 10 to 20 percent of our health is actually determined by the healthcare that we receive, and 70 to 80 percent is impacted by social determinants of health. Under-served and low-income populations have a higher risk of heart disease, and life expectancy can vary by more than 20 years in people living only 5 miles apart.”
Again, all I can say is, WOW! Have we finally reached that long-awaited day when some of the “powers that be” actually admit that a doctor’s intervention isn’t nearly as important as what we do individually to take care of ourselves?
I’ve devoted three tireless decades to educating patients on this very basic principle. And maybe now, conventional medicine will finally take the notion seriously, too.
A masterclass in hypocrisy
Of course, then the ACC goes on to preach poetically about team approaches, sharing information with patients, and helping those less fortunate than ourselves. All great ideas, but who do they think they’re fooling?
After all, they devised a system where the patient is almost meaningless and has no say in the care they’re provided.
And they regulated against doctors, like myself, who have been trying for the last 30 years to do exactly what they are now recommending (as if they just came up with some groundbreaking new approach).
And they set the standard for the 5-minute office visits that have completely failed patients.
Somewhere along the path that’s paved with corporate greed, they forgot that the word “doctor” comes from the Greek word for “teacher.”
They’ve boxed physicians into such a tiny little corner that I suppose this is their way of playing nice—and putting the best interests of patients first for once. And I certainly hope it sticks.
But I have my doubts. And this press conference quote perfectly sums up why:
“For more than 150 years, the AHA and the ACC have been fighting against cardiovascular disease, and trying to limit the impact of stroke and heart disease, not only on residents of the United States, but of the world as well. [This new guideline] is a comprehensive document that we think will dramatically change the trajectory of the prevention of cardiovascular disease not only in the United States, but across the globe.”
The hypocrisy and arrogance on display here is breathtaking. How about you spare me the rhetoric, folks… and just get the job done.
P.S. While the AHA and the ACC are finally admitting that lifestyle interventions are necessary to curtailing heart disease, God knows what their version of those recommendations might be. Thankfully, I’ve developed the Ultimate Heart-Protection Protocol, an all-natural plan to prevent and reverse America’s biggest killers—high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. To learn more about this life-changing online learning tool, or to sign up today click here.
“New AHA/ACC CVD Primary Prevention Guideline.” Medscape Medical News, 03/17/2019. (medscape.com/viewarticle/910513)