From Dr. Fuhrman's book Cholesterol Protection For Life:
Bypass surgery and angioplasty only attempt to treat a small segment of the diseased heart, usually with only temporary benefit. Since atherosclerotic plaque blankets all the vessels in the heart, bypassing or removing the most diseased portion, still does not address all the shallow and non-obstructive lipid deposits. The major burden of disease is left intact and therefore the potential for a deadly heart attack is largely unaffected. The vast majority of patients who undergo these interventions do not have fewer new heart attacks or longer survival. The procedures themselves expose the patients to more risk of new heart attacks, strokes, infection, encephalopathy, and death. In addition, the symptomatic benefits erode with time.
Since these mechanical interventions do not address the cause of the disease and only treat the symptoms it is not surprising that the patients undergoing bypass and angioplasty experience disease progression, graft shutdown, restenosis, and more procedures because their heart disease continues to advance. The vast majority of these treated patients needlessly die prematurely from heart disease because their disease remains essentially untreated.
Using surgical and high-tech interventions as a substitute for a healthful diet is doomed to fail. When extensive coronary artery disease is present and surgical/high-tech intervention occurs, we still leave the vast bulk of plaque essentially untreated because atherosclerosis is a dietary-induced disease and is spread all over the heart, not only in those areas visualized by angiograms and then treated. When we combine these marginally effective or ineffective medical interventions with the wrong dietary advice given by most doctors and dieticians (to reduce fat and cholesterol and eat less red meat and more chicken and fish) we get predictable future cardiac tragedies. Numerous studies have demonstrated that following the typical dietary recommendations of the American Heart Association to hold cholesterol to less than 200 mg per day and to reduce dietary fat to less than 30 percent doesn't work. These diets fail to realize that the nutritional cause of heart disease is not simply a question of eating less fat. Moderation kills, because heart disease still advances.
Heart attacks result from a defect in the plaque wall which leads to a thrombus (blood clot). Even a small coating of vulnerable plaque, invisible to cardiac testing, can cause a heart attack and typically does. The important point to remember is this: Individuals without major blockages of their great vessels, with only 30 to 50 percent stenosis (narrowing), are even more likely to develop a fatal cardiac event, (compared to those with more significant blockages) yet these individuals are not even shown to have heart disease with a stress test or angiography. Stress testing only identifies blockages that obstruct greater than eighty-five percent of the vessel lumen. A normal stress test is meaningless and does not mean you do not have significant heart disease or won't shortly have a heart attack.
Even coronary catherization (angiography) does not identify those smaller non-occluding atherosclerotic deposits, and therefore interventional strategies do not treat patients with shallower lesions, in spite of the fact that these are the people who suffer the most heart attacks. It is not the extent of the blockage that determines risk; it is the vulnerability of the plaque or its propensity to rupture.
Seventy to eighty percent of all myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) are caused by plaque that is not obstructive or visible on angiography or stress tests.
When atheromas (lipid deposits) first develop on the wall of a blood vessel, the walls remodel outward, preserving the lumen. These are the most vulnerable or lethal plaques and they do not obstruct or encroach on the blood flow. These heart attack prone lesions have dangerous characteristics that are not revealed by cardiac testing. A normal test by your cardiologist means very little in reassuring you about your risk of a future heart attack.
Inflammatory cells, and a large lipid core of cholesterol in the plaques is characteristic of the most dangerous lesions. The breakage or rupture of these vulnerable lesions causes heart attacks. Cardiac surgery and angioplasty does not address one's risk of a later heart attack, as it does not remove or reduce the probability that these unrecognized vulnerable plaques will rupture and create a clot. Most people think going to cardiologists and radiologists to get evaluated to see if they have a significant coronary blockage will enable an intervention at an early enough point to save their life; they are dead wrong. Angioplasties and stent placements as well as cardiac surgery treat symptoms, not the disease.
The good news is symptoms, as well as blockages, easily melt away with nutritional excellence, without any cardiac intervention. The risks and complications of cardiac interventions and bypass surgeries are simply not necessary when people adopt an effective nutritional strategy. Instead of expensive and invasive medicine, we need doctors to educate and motivate patients to take charge of their own health. While our population is committing suicide with their knives and forks, they run to doctors expecting to be saved. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to escape from the biological laws of cause and effect. Good health has to be earned, it can't be bought.
Compelling data from numerous population and interventional studies show that the combination of a natural plant-based diet and aggressive lipid-lowering will prevent, arrest, and even reverse heart disease. Only via nutritional excellence can you address all the invisible, but potentially dangerous plaque throughout your coronary arteries. Unlike surgery and angioplasty, the dietary approach addressed in this book does not merely treat your heart, but rejuvenates all your blood vessels and protects your entire body against heart attacks, strokes, pulmonary embolisms, venous thrombosis, peripheral vascular disease, and vascular dementia. It is your most valuable insurance policy to secure a longer life free of medical tragedy.
In the 20th century, the average American diet shifted from one based on fresh, minimally processed vegetable foods to one based on animal products and highly refined, processed foods. As a result, Americans now consume far more calories, fat, cholesterol, refined sugar, animal protein, sodium, and alcohol and far less fiber and plant-derived nutrients than is healthful. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer have skyrocketed.
Heart attacks and strokes kill more than half of the modern world today and are the largest killers of both men and women. But, the promising news is that these common causes of death are avoidable and can be effectively reversed through aggressive nutritional intervention.
By adopting a program of superior nutrition in conjunction with the judicious use of cholesterol-lowering nutritional supplements with proven cardio-protective effects, you can actually lower your cholesterol more than cholesterol-lowering drugs. It is possible to achieve an LDL cholesterol level below 100, get significantly more benefits, (almost total protection from heart attacks) and none of the risks associated with conventional drugs and invasive procedures to prevent and treat heart disease.
When it comes to your health and your heart, do not be satisfied with mediocrity. This is critical information and the most important decision you may face in your life. I encourage you to make the decision to protect yourself from the possibility of future tragedy.
From Dr. Fuhrman's book Cholesterol Protection For Life: