Preventative care for your cardiac plumbing, and steps to rectify what has gone amiss, from heart surgeon Gillinov and cardiologist Nissen.
With an affable thoroughness, the authors inform readers about the world of coronary heart disease. Their desire is to communicate effectively, and they convey a come-check-this-out enthusiasm that will pique readers’ curiosity. They start by pointing a finger at the standard causes of problems: toxic diets, lack of exercise, dangerous prescription combinations, emotional stress, high blood pressure, smoking, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and a family history of such disease. They authors leisurely investigate all manner of heart issues: The judge the quality of late-breaking medical advice coming through the media; provide a deep profile of cholesterol; chart the factor of obesity in coronary heart disease; and highlight unfamiliar risk factors like rheumatoid arthritis and periodontal disease (“people who rarely or never brushed their teeth faced a 70 percent increase in their risk of suffering a heart attack or other serious cardiac event over an eight-year period. We suspect they also had really bad breath”). The authors examine diet and exercise; anger, anxiety and the physiology of stress; the extended family of heart-rhythm problems; the known benefits in the turbid world of vitamins and supplements; and the notion that a “healthy sex life correlates with a healthy heart.” They also discuss basic heart tests, advanced surgery and warning signs, and suggest how to choose a doctor or a hospital. The text is designed so readers can either drop in on a specific topic or extend their understanding by reading the entire chapter to gain the broad, contextual picture.
This book is like the doctor of old—white coat, black bag, stethoscope—ready to counsel from broad experience. So listen and act.