Arterial Disease

Some Topics

  • A Body Divided

    A fundamental problem in human cognition is the limited ability of each person to understand more than a small local group of people and to develop specialized knowledge and skills that fit with the group's needs. As knowledge expands, the need for specialization increases. In medicine, the specialists are experts in very specific aspects of body function. Hospitals are organized around "systems" such as the circulatory, respiratory, digestive, nervous systems.

    But, each person is a whole system of interacting parts. A whole person entering a medical institution when something goes wrong will discover that they are not a whole any longer. They may discover that even a team of specialists examining their various parts will not understand the whole experience they are having.

    Atherosclerotic arterial disease is a whole body disease, but tends to be managed by physicians and surgeons as a localized disease. In other words, when the heart arteries are plugged you go to see a cardiologist and then a heart surgeon. When the vessels to the brain are involved, you go to a neurologist and then possibly a neurosurgeon. When the vessels to your leg are obstructed, you go to a peripheral vascular surgeon. When the vessels to your penis are plugged, you go to a urologist and a marital counselor.

    Frank Veith, professor of surgery at NYU, suggested that a single specialty devoted to noncardiac vascular disease should be developed. He praised a Swedish team who created such an integrated vascular service. According to Veith: “Instead of many specialties competing for the rewards of treating noncardiac vascular lesions, vascular disease would be managed by those with appropriate judgment, skills, and -- most importantly -- commitment to the field. Specialists with skills derived from many different disciplines would work together within a single department or service without allegiance or obligations to a large department of medicine, surgery, or radiology -- as is currently the case in most institutions and most countries.“

    Ten years later, Veith reviewed vascular surgery and revealed moral and intellectual problems in the USA. He wrote: ” Another problem that all vascular specialists face is that we live in a very imperfect world. The ethics of America today are somewhat failed. We see it in our politicians who are in the tank for special-interest groups who finance their campaigns. We see it among our lawyers who want to convert every bad outcome to a judgment where the patients get compensated and where the lawyers get a good part of that compensation. We see it on Wall Street and in our insurance companies, who put profit above all other motives. And we see it in our healthcare system, tragically. Hospital executives, institutional leaders, and so forth may say that quality care is above all else, but that's not the way it works in many institutions. Instead, diagnosis-related groups, relative value units, and dollars are the motivating force for these individuals. Finally, we see ethical problems in doctors who, as compensation is decreased, will sometimes do cases that don't need to be done or enter into fields in which they have little expertise. We see this in the treatment of veins, with many nonvascular specialists doing these treatments. We have an ethical problem in the United States that goes far beyond medicine. How to solve this problem is something that none of us can simplify. However, it would be very nice if this ethical revolution, which I think is badly needed in our country, started with medicine, particularly with doctors. (Frank J. Veith. The Future of Vascular Surgery: The Good and the Bad. Medscape Surgery. August 26, 2016)

    Your family doctor is supposed to help you manage this pervasive disease, but his or her time is limited and resources may be meager at the doctor’s office. The only person in the whole expensive medical/surgical network that can make sense of whole-body arterial disease is the patient. The patient needs to change disease-causing habits. It is up to you to solve this problem by removing the causes. This book is dedicated to the effort of intelligent well-motivated people to become well-informed and to take charge of their own management.

    Most human problems can be solved by changing human behavior. This web-resource has been developed for the intelligent, well-motivated reader who is capable of lifestyle change. This is not to argue that constructive changes in diet and lifestyle are easy to achieve. It is to argue that if you understand the issues and pursue a healthy revision of your food choices, exercise more, and lose weight you can enjoy a healthier, longer life.

    The Alpha Nutrition Program can be recommended, along with Alpha DMX, exercise and relaxation as a rational strategy of preventing and managing cardiovascular disease. The program is designed to reduce sodium, cholesterol, total fat, saturated fats, while increasing calcium, potassium, folic acid, omega 3 fatty acids and vegetable fiber. These are all desirable measures in the effort to prevent blood vessel diseases, heart attacks and strokes.

    High Blood Pressure According to the Canadian Coalition for High Blood Pressure Prevention and Control, non-drug strategies should be the priority for hypertension control. Smoking cessation, low sodium, low fat diet, weight loss, exercise, reduced alcoholic beverage consumption, and increased calcium, magnesium and potassium intake are the important steps to avoid high blood pressure.

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