A man is as old as his arteries (Dr. Thomas Sydenham, 1680)
Atherosclerosis: Standard Medical Treatments (An Overview)
For years, heart specialists have cleared clogged arteries more or less the way plumbers fix clogged pipes: by replacing them with bypass surgery or snaking them out with balloon angioplasty.
Over 500,000 heart disease patients undergo coronary artery bypass surgery every year in the United States. Treatment for blocked heart arteries is the number two reason for U.S. hospital admissions.
Standard cardiovascluar medicine has an answer at hand, usually, surgical procedures, to remove quickly obstructions - buildup of atherosclerotic plaque - from the diseased vessel walls and "restore" impaired circulation.
It takes a great leap of faith to let a surgeon crack open your chest, cutting through the breastbone, and put you on a heart-lung machine while attempting to correct blockages in coronary arteries which limit the flow of blood to the heart muscle.
The coronary artery bypass graft operation, also known as "bypass surgery" or surgical revascularization, involves taking healthy veins, and sometimes arteries, from other parts of the body (from the leg, chest or wrist) and grafting them from the aorta to the coronary artery to "bypass" or detour (go around) the blocked vessel and route oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle.
Although bypass surgery is being done on a scheduled basis, it may be performed in an emergency.
During the surgery as many as four major blocked coronary arteries can be bypassed. The surgeon, however, only repairs about two inches of the diseased blood vessels. The follow-up visits usually mean recommending prescription drugs to lower cholesterol and, eventually, sending a patient to a dietician, who is equally clueless, as far as lifestyle changes are concerned.
As a result of coronary artery bypass graft operation, 85 percent of patients experience:
a significant reduction of symptoms,
less risk for future heart attacks, and
a decreased chance of dying within 10 years following the surgery.
Recovery after the surgery takes 6 to 12 weeks, or more. Most people, however, can get back to their normal activities in about 6 weeks.
Here's a video presenting the coronay artery bypass graft surgery. It is a perfect exemplification of the old adage, "A (motion) picture is worth a thousand words."
Unfortunately, bypass surgery is NOT a cure: it does NOT alter the natural history of atherosclerosis which in many instances is progressive.
If a vein bypass has remained open in its first 4-12 months, it will likely remain open for the next 5-7 years. After that, this vein bypass may start to deteriorate.
A decade later, as many as 50-60 percent of vein bypasses will have closed, while half the vein grafts will evidence severe atherosclerotic narrowing.
For this reason, doctors tend to treat bypass patients with higher doses of cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as lovastatin and cholestyramine, in order to slower the progression of atherosclerosis in their bypass grafts. They advise these patients to lower their total cholesterol levels to... 100mg/dL or even below! (The New England Journal of Medicine, January 16, 1997).
Unfortunately, the view that 'the lower the cholesterol, the better' is not always true! At level under 150, you can be at a risk of... too low cholesterol. This condition may cause suboptimal function of such steroid hormones as pregnenolone, DHEA, testosterone, progesterone and estrogen - and result in ... depression and other health problems.
Although complications are rare, the risks of coronary artery bypass grafting include:
infection at the incision site,
reactions to the anesthesia,
fever and pain,
heart attack, or even
As the fatality rate is 4 percent, for every 500,000 patients who undergo bypass surgery every year in the United States, an estimated 20,000 will die.
Bypass surgery may also cause both a temporary and a long-term decline in mental function. Five years after surgery, over 40 percent of bypass patients experience reduced intellectual abilities (The New England Journal of Medicine 2001; 344).
Signs of this decline include:
trouble with following directions,
short tempers, etc.
According to scientific evidence, bypass surgery - the "partial fix" and the "deadly sin" of conventional medicine - needs to be revised. Too many people die or end up in a nursing home due to complications from this procedure. In fact, far fewer people benefit from it than originally thought.
Although it is quite an amazing piece of surgery, in the vast majority of cases, bypass is a classic example of traditional medicine being:
too late and
not treating the cause of the problem.
Standard Balloon Angioplasty and Stenting
Far less invasive than bypass surgery, balloon angioplasty is performed on over one million people every year in the United States alone.
Angioplasty often is the first choice of treatment for people with clogged arteries of the heart (coronary angioplasty) or legs (peripheral angioplasty), because it is relatively less invasive. It can be also done to treat atherosclerotic narrowings of the abdomen, renal, carotid and even cerebral arteries.
Angioplasty, a procedure where doctors thread a needle through the blood vessels and implant a tiny flexible mesh tube to prop open narrowed or clogged arteries, is performed on about 2 million people worldwide every year (over one million in the United States alone).
In standard angioplasty, the physician makes a quarter-inch incision in the groin artery and advances a tiny tube, or balloon catheter, through the artery to the site of the blockage.
A small balloon at the end of the catheter is then filled with saline, and, as the balloon expands, the walls of the clogged artery are compressed, opening up the vessel for better blood flow.
At the time of ballooning tiny metal mesh cylinders (tubes) called stents may or may not be inserted to ensure the vessel remains open.
Typically, the patient undergoes conscious sedation before the procedure.
The Postoperative Risks
No surgical procedure is risk free. After angioplasty, some patients may experience swelling, bleeding or pain at the insertion site. They may also develop fever, feel faint or weak, notice a change in temperature or color in the arm or leg that was used or have shortness of breath or chest pain.
To protect the arteries against spasms, medication is administered that helps relax patients. To prevent blood clots, patients with stents are usually prescribed an antiplatelet and aspirin for at least the first months after the procedure (up to one year).
Although coronary angioplasty in people with stable coronary artery disease reduces chest pain, it does not reduce the risk of death, myocardial infarction (heart attack), or other major cardiovascular events.
Renal artery stenosis can lead to hypertension and loss of renal function.
Restenosis of Balloon-Widened Arteries
Angioplasty is far less invasive than bypass surgery in treating clogged arteries - but half of the time, the blood vessels... reclog. Reclogging, or reblockage, is the Achilles’ heel of the standard therapies to open up blocked arteries.
In effect, standard angioplasty traumatizes the vessel wall. In response, the damaged cells try to heal and regenerate, forming scar tissue that reclogs the artery, a process known as restenosis (re"sten-O'sis), or re-narrowing. Four out of ten patients have restenosis, when a stent isn't used during balloon angioplasty.
Restenosis of Stent-Widened Arteries
When a stent is used, 2 out of 10 people have restenosis within and around a stent. When drug-coated stents are used, about 1 in 10 people has restenosis. There is, however, a higher risk of blood clots forming in medicine-coated stents compared to bare metal stents.
Other possible solution to restenosis includes radiation treatment (intravascular brachytherapy) which can help prevent tissue growth within and around a stent.
For this procedure, a wire is put through a catheter to where the stent is placed. The wire releases radiation to stop any tissue growth that may block the artery. This treatment, however, is associated with potential risks.
Statistically, after six to nine (6-9) months of treatment restenosis rates:
in the heart arteries approach 20 to 30 percent;
in the leg arteries - 50 to 60 percent.
When that happens, balloon angioplasty is often repeated or bypass surgery is performed. Repeat procedures usually carry a higher risk of complications.
Therefore, a new form of angioplasty, called cryoplasty, has been investigated. It freezes the insides of blocked heart and leg arteries using nitrous oxide, known as "laughing gas."
Cryoplasty seems to be much gentler on the arteries and does not appear to cause the scarring and reclogging (restenosis) that standard angioplasty can. In some patients treated with cryoplasty, there was no evidence of reblockage after six to nine (6-9) months.
However, both angioplasty and cryoplasty do nothing to stop the progression of arterial disease, so in time, new fatty narrowings or blockages occur in the arteries!
Without doubt, balloon angioplasty does not alter the natural history of atherosclerosis which, in many instances, is progressive. Instead of treating the cause of the problem, it attempts to compress the plaque in plugged arteries. Therefore, like all current standard medical methods of treating atherosclerosis, angioplasty focuses on reducing the effects of the plaque after it has built up -- not on eliminating the factors which created the buildup in the the first place.
Carotid Endarterectomy (CEA)
In 2003 nearly 140,000 carotid endarterectomies were performed in the United States alone (Halm).
Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) is an older surgical procedure to reduce the risk of stroke by correcting stenosis (narrowing), usually at the fork where the common carotid artery (bottom) divides into the internal (left) and external (right) carotid artery (see the picture below).
The surgeon opens the artery and removes the plaque formed in the inner layer of the artery, or endothelium, hence the name of the procedure: removal of the endothelium of the artery. The surgery may be performed under general or local anaesthesia.
Although it is supposed to prevent strokes, some studies have found that endarterectomy actually causes more strokes or heart attacks that it prevents:
"(...) my husband had a second carotid artery surgery. The first, done [over 1.5 years ago] after a mild stroke, was a success. Five days after the second surgery, he had a massive stroke and hasn't worked since. I was told that there was a five percent chance of stroke during surgery. Naturally, the life of our family changed in an instant." (Nutrition News, Sept/87)
As a fairly common medical treatment, often overused with overstated benefits, endarterectomy has many shortcomings, for instance:
it can be performed only on relatively large blood vessels entering the brain, heart, kidneys, and legs, but it cannot remove deposits in small vessels of these structures; and
it is not appropriate for patients with asymptomatic carotid-artery stenosis (those without "mini stroke" or stroke) for they are at an increased risk of stroke.
A newer procedure, endovascular angioplasty and stenting, threads a catheter up from the groin, around the aortic arch, and up the carotid artery. The catheter uses a balloon to expand the artery, and inserts a stent to hold the artery open.
It needs to be noted that in several clinical trials the 30-day incidence of heart attack, stroke, or death was significantly higher with stenting than with endarterectomy (9.6% vs. 3.9%). It is the consensus of experts in the field, however, that for high risk patients who require carotid artery revascularization to prevent stroke, carotid artery stenting should be considered an option.
What About the IV Chelation (EDTA) Treatment?
It has been estimated that 800,000 patient visits for chelation therapy were made in the United States in 1997 (The American College for Advancement in Medicine).
The intravenous (IV) chelation therapy - a rather expensive, alternative, not widely available yet medical procedure - involves injecting a synthetic amino acid (disodium EDTA) slowly into the bloodstream, over a number of hours and - weeks.
The American Federation of State Medical Boards considers the intravenous (IV) chelation therapy one of the deadly sins of "unscientific medicine." This regulating body continues the inquisition of its members who have learned this treatment.
Also The American Heart Association states that there is "no scientific evidence to demonstrate any benefit from this form of therapy."
So far there have have not been adequate, controlled, published scientific studies using currently approved scientific methodology to document whether or not the IV-administered disodium EDTA is effective.
The opponents note that any improvement among heart patients undergoing chelation therapy can be attributed to the placebo effect and lifestyle changes discovered in conventional medicine but recommended by chelationists, such as quitting smoking, losing weight, eating more fruits and vegetables, avoiding foods high in saturated fats and exercising regularly.
Many "scientific commenatators" are afraid that because of chelation therapy many patients may put off proven treatments like drugs or surgery.
Nevertheless, thousands of people have discovered that the chelation treatment does work! As an emergency measure, for instance, it can be a real lifesaver at removing arterial obstructions.
Chelation, however, is not a preventive technique, since it - like bypass surgery - does nothing for the cause of the problem - it does not stop the plaque from building up again. Therefore, those who have had the intravenous EDTA treatments, often return within a few years to have them repeated. Further, the EDTA therapy drastically reduces the mineral content of the blood.
"Oral" EDTA Chelation
According to some experts, the so called "oral' chelation (EDTA) therapy is... fraudulent. This synthetic amino acid cannot be absorbed through the intestinal tract. Apparently, the only way that E.D.T.A. can have any effect on the arteries is by injecting it directly into the bloodstream.
Arterial Cleansing: The Nutritional Revascularization
Arterial cleansing is aimed at reducing fatty plaques (atheromas) in the cardiovascular system, especially in the arteries nutritionally. In accordance with orthomolecular nutrition, it involves taking large amounts of synergistic nutrients accompanied by necessary dietary and lifestyle changes.
When this specific mega-combination comes into contact with the bloodstream, it reaches the inflamed arteries which have been injured by oxidative free radicals. (These free radicals are present in excessive amounts in the body, mainly due to past or present dietary and lifestyle indiscretions.)
The primary purpose of this method is to initiate self-healing processes in the innermost part of arterial lining (endothelium). In this way, over a period of time the accumulated buildup of fatty plaques in damaged arteries begins gradually to cease.
Arterial Cleansing: Take Your Health Into Your Own Hands
By taking good care of your arteries, you can easily add ten or more functional years to your life.
If cardiovascular health is important to you, arterial cleansing can be of great benefit to you. With its help - believe it or not! - you can improve your functional age (not the same as chronological age!) by adding more active years to your life.
As soon as you begin doing it, you will start experiencing, almost immediately, such positive changes as:
an increase in energy,
less need for sleep,
better vision and even
better skin tone, resulting in a younger look.
Arterial cleansing can help you control the atherosclerosis risk factors, such as:
high blood levels of
complications of diabetes.
With arterial cleansing you can avoid such complications of atherosclerosis as:
coronary artery disease (leading to angina, heart attack, heart failure),
carotid artery disease (leading to stroke),
peripheral artery disease (pain in the lower limbs on walking, typically in the calf muscle, a condition called intermittent claudication, leading to amputation),
restenosis (obstruction of bypass grafts and stents),
erectile dysfunction (in men),
mesentric ischemia (inadequate blood supply to the small intestine),
aortic aneurysm (swelling - dilation of the aorta, the largest artery in the cardiovascular system supplying all of the systemic circulation).
Arterial cleansing can help you avoid the risks of standard medical treatments such as:
vascular bypass (coronary, cerebral, peripheral).
Arterial cleansing can complement or - in some cases - even replace the invtravenous (IV) chelation therapy. It may also help cut your dependence on medications such as anti-cholesterol drugs, aspirin, blood thinners, diuretics, nitroglycerin, etc.
Arterial cleansing can also help rejuvenate arteries and prevent their premature aging. As the joy of life depends on a sound cardiovascular system, with Arterial Cleansing Formula and its long list of health benefits you have nothing to lose - and your arterial health to gain.
Who says then that arterial cleansing does not work?
Those, who think that micronutrients, vitamins and anti-oxidants are not necessary for our health and that optimum nutrition is not important. Why do they think and act that way?
Because they don't want to learn and just keep ignoring the impressive results - not only heard about, but also seen and experienced by people who have undergone the arterial cleansing.