Sunday, June 29, 2008

AHA Builds Another Shrine to Heart Disease Promotion

I like to visit the American Heart Association (AHA) website from time to time as it is always a good source of bad advice to blog about. I mean, if the AHA practiced heart disease prevention instead of heart disease promotion I would have little to blog about. You might retort, "What do you mean 'Hawk, the AHA is trying to fight heart disease, you know, prevent it, not promote it." To which I would reply, "Read their screed!" The AHA appears to be most interested in giving you the best REPAIR medicine after you have crashed and burned rather than giving you the best crash prevention medicine so you won't need any repair.

Their latest shrine to heart disease promotion is their new web tool "Heart Profilers." It is an extensive and exhaustive piece of programmed "cyber-medicine" that purports to ". . . help you understand different treatments that may be appropriate for you based on your diagnosis, symptoms, and test results. Using this tool will help you better evaluate your options and make informed decisions with your doctor and health care team." Hardly, read on!

I decided to enroll, gave them all my personal info (so they can market to me) and answered an extensive questionnaire about my health, what drugs I take, etc. To say it was slanted toward doing invasive procedures is an understatement. When the entire process starts with the statement, "The chest pain known as angina is usually one of the first symptoms of CAD." you know you are dealing with neanderthal medicine. Yeah, I suppose if you have never had a heart scan it might come to that but by then it is too late - you're hooked into the "cut and drug" assembly line. See what I mean about their repair versus prevent mindset?

The questionnaire tacitly assumes that heart disease is first diagnosed by chest pain. Apparently, unable to take "No" for an answer as to whether I have chest pain, they go on to ask numerous questions about my non-existent angina, heart attacks, angiograms, stents, stress tests and other interrogatives that have little to do with prevention and presuppose extensive heart disease. I mean, how do you answer questions like (and there are many), "Has your doctor said you are a candidate for coronary artery surgery?" when it has not and hopefully never will be an issue? Catch the drift here? Think they are pushing invasive procedures?

Now comes the best part, the recommendations! Here are mine. "Your answers to the questions about risk factors indicate that you have no risk factors for coronary artery disease that need to be managed. " WHAT?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! What about the need to raise my HDL above 40mg/dl and further reduce my LDL below their 100mg/dl cut-offs. They never even asked about my sky-high Lp(a) or what my LDL particle size and particle count was (fortunately mine is fine). The fact is I have a high calcium score for my age and it is growing (thankfully not as fast as it would under AHA care). I am a heart attack waiting to happen and the AHA, after taking an exhaustive heart health history says I, "have no risk factors for coronary artery disease that need to be managed." Are they nuts?! Heck, they even HAD a question regarding thyroid disease but the results remained the same no matter if I answered I had no thyroid disease, hyperthyroidism, or hypothyroidism (which I have). Perhaps they need to read the upcoming Track Your Plaque report on hypothyroidism and heart disease! It is a HUGE factor.

It seems the bottom-line here is that the AHA is only interested in heart disease if it is so advanced that you need a procedure or drugs (no mention of supplements like fish oil or Vitamin D at this AHA shrine). I have heart disease that requires aggressive treatment yet the AHA thinks I have "no risk factors for coronary artery disease that need to be managed." What they really seem to mean is I do not need an invasive repair procedure yet. That is what I mean when I say the AHA is a heart disease promotion organization and not a heart disease prevention organization. Sign up, select the "Coronary Artery Disease" option and take the test yourself. It is the best way to experience their stunning ignorance.




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