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Blood vs Blood Vessel

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Issue 30 - July 1999

Bypassing Heart Surgery

Blood vs. Blood Vessel

This information strongly suggests that current surgical approaches to cardiovascular disease are as misguided as removing your lung if you have pneumonia. The focus has to be on the blood, not the blood* vessel.

The economic powers that have so much influence on the direction of medical care are happy to embrace these new findings because there is still profit to be made. Over one million angiograms are performed annually in the U.S. As noted, these do not reveal vulnerable plaque deposits, but this test can be replaced with another that does: vulnerable plaque can be spotted using an Ultra High-speed MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scanner. The MRI Industry Report newsletter reported that sales of MRI equipment in the U.S. in 1998 totaled almost $1 billion dollars ($957,000,000 to be precise). A new test, necessitating more Ultra High-speed MRI machines, will certainly take the financial sting out of performing fewer angiograms. Further, the pharmaceutical industry sees tremendous opportunity in developing new, patentable drugs specifically aimed at stopping vulnerable plaque from rupturing.

This is where the alternative community parts company with the medical establishment. Conventional medicine is just beginning to look for new drugs specifically targeting vulnerable plaque. But for over twenty years, many alternative practitioners have been prescribing natural substances and supplements that effectively do the job. There are already natural formulations that balance the blood itself, remove the elements that attack and rupture the vulnerable plaque, repair existing artery lesions, and prevent their further formation.

Most of us are familiar with the hard, obstructing kind of arterial plaque and the role it plays in atherosclerosis—hardening of the arteries.” This is the narrowing of arterial blood channels due to the build-up of cholesterol deposits on the interior of the artery walls. This reduces the flow of blood and, it was thought, makes us susceptible to a blood clot completely stopping blood to a vital organ. If blood stops flowing to the heart it causes a myocardial infarction—a heart attack. If blood stops flowing to the brain, it causes a stroke. This still does occur, but on a far less frequent basis than was previously believed. 

This familiar plaque is easily seen on an angiogram, in which opaque dye is injected into the heart arteries and sequential X-rays are taken of its progress through the blood channels. For years, cardiologists have blamed high cholesterol levels as the cause of the narrowing of the arteries, and viewed atherosclerosis as the primary culprit in heart attacks and strokes.

Vulnerable Plaque: Left: Ultra-High-speed Magnetic Resonance Image showing vulnerable plaque in the walls of the left coronary artery (arrow). Right: Image from the top portion of the aorta shows the plaque made up of cholesterol deposits, calcium and blood clots. (Courtesy of Dr. Zahi A. Fayad, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.)

Atherosclerosis in humans is not new. Careful studies have shown that the arteries in ice-age man were loaded with obstructing cholesterol plaque. We find the same condition in Egyptian mummies, and onward to the present time. When arteries close down slowly, the body generally produces brand new collateral circulation to go around the blocked area. A person may never even know that a significant artery in their body gradually closed off, because it was safely and reliably replaced by tiny blood vessels that are not visible on the usual arteriogram studies in hospitals.

Atherosclerotic Plaque: Diagram showing “hardening of the arteries.” 1–Healthy artery with no blockage. 2–Beginning of cholesterol buildup within the artery. 3– Severely restricted artery with hard cholesterol plaque filling the majority of the passage.

Conventional medicine’s surgical remedies for heart disease have been to re-route the blood flow with a by-pass operation or squeeze open the channel with an angioplasty balloon. Approximately half a million Americans receive a by-pass operation each year, at a cost of about $50,000 each, and only slightly fewer receive an angioplasty, which runs a bit over $20,000. Billions of dollars are also spent on patented “cholesterol-lowering” and “blood-thinning” drugs. It is virtually irrefutable that what alternative physicians, and many conventional cardiologists, have been saying for years is true: these procedures have been for the most part futile, have put patients at unnecessary risk, and been a mind-boggling waste of health care resources and expense.

What is exciting today is that we finally have the means to analyze the components in the bloodstream, and improve risk factors identified therein. Now we can focus upon the sick or unhealthy components of our bloodstream that cause irreparable damage, and, rather than cutting out the areas in which they became lodged, we can provide the blood itself with the nutrients and other factors that will restore it to health.

* blood: is classified into 4 blood types or groups according to the presence of type A and type B antigens on the surface of red blood cells. These antigens are also called agglutinogens and pertain to the blood cells' ability to agglutinate, or clump together. Type O blood (containing neither type) is found in 47% of the Caucasian population; type A, 41%; type B, 9%; type AB, 3%. Another form of blood grouping is according to Rh-positive and Rh-negative types, based on the distribution of 6 different Rh antigens.