Traditional medicine, also called western medicine, is exalted for its evidence-based, scientific approach. It has proven capable of treating some of the most life-threatening and severe conditions. However, heart health in traditional medicine remains less advanced.
First Signs of Heart Disease
Most adults don’t necessarily know they have heart disease. And unfortunately, death is the first presenting symptom in a little less than half of those presenting for the first time.
That means 50% will have a fatal heart attack and not just a high cholesterol level or atherosclerosis seen on imaging.
We haven’t figured out a way to decrease that number fast enough. This means that heart health in traditional medicine can only help 50% of adults.
Traditional Medicine and Heart Disease
In traditional medicine, assuming you have good insurance, you can get excellent care to lower your cholesterol levels and blood pressure by using medications.
This requires regular visits for blood testing to make sure your liver and kidney can handle the medications. Refills cost money and time spent in the pharmacy.
These treatments don’t work for everyone. However, traditional medicine views all high-lipid and hypertensive patients similarly and treats them the same. This is one of the downsides of this practice model.
But if you need a stent or need to be resuscitated, western medicine is as good as it gets. We have incredible talent that can perform heart transplants and perform bypass grafting.
Heart Health is About Prevention
I can treat the high cholesterol with statins and perform a stent in the coronary artery, followed by a coronary artery bypass graft later in life. This is treating the symptom and not the condition.
Heart Health Coaching, which is what I do, focuses on lifestyle factors. It’s more about prevention and diving deep into potential causes for not-so-great metabolic health.
Heart Health and Pills
A pill can lower your blood pressure and decrease the chance of atherosclerosis plaque progression.
But it cannot prevent a heart attack or prevent you from getting fatty liver or diabetes from the factors which lead to high cholesterol or high blood pressure, to begin with.
Perhaps somewhere around 2-3% of individuals have genetic factors causing high cholesterol and high blood pressure. All methods other than pills will likely fail these individuals. For the rest of us, pills may not be as effective.
Prevention + Treatment
In the perfect world, everyone would have a Heart Health Coach and work to overcome hurdles toward ideal heart health.
If that fails and heart disease develops, they have the excellent skills of capable cardiologists, surgeons, and intensivists who can help restore their cardiovascular health.