Friday, August 17, 2012

No Drugs Please

My joints have been repaired more times then I care to count but I thought I was doing fine and then my heart attack on Christmas day of last year while cycling just pissed me off. Having a heart attack is an opportunity for the drug companies to tell you that your screwed and that you will die unless you take their drugs. 

I remember when I was a young healthy stud and sitting at lunch with my old man and his friend. The friend was telling my dad how good his proctologist is and proceeded to give details. I'm sitting there listening and thinking "man, do I have to listen to this? It's more then I want to know. It seems that all old people talk about is their ailments. I ain't ever going to spend my time talking medical stuff". WRONG! As we get older there are health issues that I feel are worth sharing. The internet"s" is a great for information gathering and I'm going to share my information and thoughts. I'm an "old people" now and being such I've earned the right to rant about health, in particular my health.

When I was lying in the hospital I took whatever drugs were in the little white cup and I did not complain. I had a heart attack and I felt that I was screwed so drug me up and save my life...please. I recovered and I've educated myself on the matter of heart disease and I now know that I'm not screwed. In fact I'm  better now then I was before the heart attack. I had one unstable buildup of plague in my LAD artery just waiting to go off like a time bomb. It did just that, it broke off while cycling hard and plugged up my artery. It has since been stabilized with a couple of stents. The cardiologist who did the surgery said the rest of my heart and other arteries are clear and healthy. He went on to say that it may have been the shape of my LAD that caused the plague to build up over many years in only one location and nowhere else. However the drug and medical community want me to think I'm still screwed and that my only salvation comes in pill like form. 

Heart disease is a frightening term and it is my opinion that many cardiologists use the term in a dire context in order to convince you that you will die without drugs..."and by the way here's a sample from the drug rep that just took me out to lunch". To understand heart disease is to understand that the term encompasses a wide range of heart conditions from minor to the serious. A drug that may be called for in one individual may be unnecessary in another. It seems that once you have a heart attack you are now a profit center of big pharma who will then do everything in there power to keep you on beta blocker (blood pressure) and statin (cholesterol) meds until the day you die. 

When I left the hospital I was downing blood thinners, beta blockers and statins. The statins for cholesterol were the first to go. The side effects were unacceptable to me. With a little help from my GP doctor I'm using good nutrition to keep my cholesterol at healthy levels. It's hard to find a cardiologist who has a good understanding of nutrition and knows how to weight the benefits of diet versus minimizing the taking of drugs...I'm still looking.  

Again with the okay from my GP the next to go were the beta blockers for blood pressure. The side effects were nasty on this stuff. I understand having to take them during the recovery phase. While in the hospital my blood pressure kept setting off the alarm on the  monitor because it kept going to low. My average at home blood pressure is 123/ 74. I monitor it at home because when taken at a doctors office it  can rocket up to 190/90, known as white coat hypertension or syndrome. That tells you how much I love going to a doctors office. Don't ever let a doctor put you on blood pressure meds based on blood pressure readings at the doctors office. Monitor yourself at home. The bottom line here is when I'm in my cardiologist's office I have to listen to the "I want you on drugs speech". No wonder my blood pressure shoots up when I'm in his office.

As for the blood thinner (Effient) I should be off it by the end of the year and then go on aspirin once a day. I'm currently gathering information on foods that act as natural mild blood thinners.

I understand that many people are willing to take whatever drugs their doctors prescribe because it's easier to take drugs then to change your lifestyle. One study said that 63% of statin users surveyed take the drug so they can continue their normal eating habits. I AM NOT ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE. I started changing my eating habits and lifestyle three years ago after back surgery to loose weight. I also started riding laid back to make my body strong. After my heart attack I've examined my diet even closer and have made some changes. 

The lack of knowledge regarding health issues fosters fear and thereby a willingness to accept prescription drugs without question. Knowledge and the desire to act upon that knowledge is a powerful tool that we can use to protect our health and happiness. It's your life...own it.


Mayo Clinic Cholesterol Chart

My total cholesterol is under 200, LDL (bad clolesterol) hovers around 100. HDL (good cholesterol) is over 60. Triglycerides are a little over 100. My all important HDL to Total Cholesterol ratio is 3.2, ideal is considered anything less then 3.5. Because of the nature of my heart attack I consider myself at "high risk" of heart disease, not "very high", and therefore I am confident that my cholesterol levels and ratio is good for me and I will not take statins. 

Total cholesterol
U.S. and some other countriesCanada and most of Europe
Below 200 mg/dLBelow 5.2 mmol/LDesirable
200-239 mg/dL5.2-6.2 mmol/LBorderline high
240 mg/dL and aboveAbove 6.2 mmol/LHigh

LDL cholesterol
U.S. and some other countriesCanada and most of Europe
Below 70 mg/dLBelow 1.8 mmol/LIdeal for people at very high risk of heart disease
Below 100 mg/dLBelow 2.6 mmol/LIdeal for people at risk of heart disease
100-129 mg/dL2.6-3.3 mmol/LNear ideal
130-159 mg/dL3.4-4.1 mmol/LBorderline high
160-189 mg/dL4.1-4.9 mmol/LHigh
190 mg/dL and aboveAbove 4.9 mmol/LVery high

HDL cholesterol
U.S. and some other countriesCanada and most of Europe
Below 40 mg/dL (men)
Below 50 mg/dL (women)
Below 1 mmol/L (men)
Below 1.3 mmol/L (women)
50-59 mg/dL1.3-1.5 mmol/LBetter
60 mg/dL and aboveAbove 1.5 mmol/LBest

U.S. and some other countriesCanada and most of Europe
Below 150 mg/dLBelow 1.7 mmol/LDesirable
150-199 mg/dL1.7-2.2 mmol/LBorderline high
200-499 mg/dL2.3-5.6 mmol/LHigh
500 mg/dL and aboveAbove 5.6 mmol/LVery high

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