The 30-DAY HEART TUNE UP by Steven Masley, M.D.
This book leads our recommendations for our Path to Health because of it's practicality for keeping your heart working and your arteries open for a century with integrative, functional, and holistic medicine. Dr. Masley elegantly instructs the reader on how to reverse atherosclerosis. Cardiovascular disease remains the #1 cause of death in America although it is preventable 90% of the time.1 Studies in the American Journal of Cardiology show we devote less than 10% of our health-care dollars for cardiovascular disease on prevention and medical management and more than 90% on procedures and hospital care.2 The problem is plaque; 80% of heart attacks, strokes and sudden cardiac deaths are due to the rupture of small soft atheroma plaques.3 Most statin prescriptions are counterproductive.4 Dr. Masley's recommendations in this book have been proven to make the average American trimmer, fitter and mentally sharper.5 For the first time, American children are expected to have a shorter lifespan than their parents.6 Sadly, 50% to 79% of heart procedures are performed when they would have shown no or very limited benefit.7 These procedures have risks. Forty percent of cardiac bypass patients have a nearly 20% decrease in long term cognitive function.8
Dr. Masley embraces Carotid IMT (Intimal Medial Thickness) as a low-cost, convenient non invasive test to document the reversal of atherosclerosis. We agree that showing patients a picture of threatening pathology helps motivate change and improvement reinforces effort. He covers the classic cardiovascular risk factors of High Cholesterol, Diabetes, Hypertension, Tobacco and Family History but explains why the new risk factors are Metabolic Syndrome, Abnormal Cholesterol, Obesity, Inactivity and Inflammation. Amazingly, we lose about 20% of our circulation for 6 hours after an unhealthy fat meal. He explains how sugar causes the dangerous pustule-like plaques, smoking increases plaques, being overweight causes inflammation and hypertension causes arterial turbulence.
To quote Dr. Masley (this is central to our Why):
“The truth is that our current medical system has little concern for measuring aging factors on optimizing health screenings for fitness or nutrition. Medical insurance only reimburses for treating diseases once they've already occurred. Think about it this way: If you've had a stroke, it's like being involved in a serious car wreck—your insurance will cover your medical costs related to the stroke. But if you want new brakes, they will not cover this preventive measure even if the brakes would have averted the accident in the first place.”
“We can attribute a big part of the national rise in health care expenses to paying for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Indeed, heart disease is bankrupting us on a national level. It is taking hundreds of billions of dollars from our budget, when that same money could go toward preventive health care, education and our own pocketbooks.”
Dr. Masley developed his own program out of failure. Wanting to offer more than drugs and surgery to the half million member Group Health Cooperative in Olympia, Washington he spent one year fighting to bring the Dean Ornish Program (which works despite the fact that the ultra-low fat diet is completely wrong because the patients exercise, decrease stress and have no junk food or refined carbs) but fewer than 5% of the high risk cardiac patients would even consider it. As medical director of the Pritkin Longevity Center in Florida, patients were successful when they were locked up in the center, but nearly all had setbacks when they returned to their homes.
Food, Exercise, Managing Stress and Supplements are the foundation of Dr. Masley's extensive success. (Diet is the focus of all of our recommendations illuminating the Path to Health.) Fiber is central to his successful diet, recommending legumes. He notes only 22% of adults get the currently recommended physical activity. There are excellent self assessments of cardiac status. The Bruce Protocol is nicely explained with MET (metabolic equivalency level) scores as well as the step test. He has six parts to Managing Stress: Feeling Love and Support, Good Quality Sleep, Regular Exercise, Peace and Calm Time, Easy on the Coffee and Alcohol and Fun and Joy. The section on supplements has excellent practical advice.
If you only read one of our book recommendations, this one can change your life.
As with all of our recommendations, we seldom agree with everything in the book. Our recommendations do not always agree with each other. However...
Please turn to page 103, a little more than halfway down, and cross out “soybean oil” and “canola oil”.
1. Yusuf S, et al. Effect of potentially modifiable risk factors associated with myocardial infarction in 52 countries (the INTERHEART study). Lancet 2004;364:937-52.
2. Smith SC. Need for a paradigm shift: the importance of risk factor reduction therapy in treating patients with cardiovascular disease. Am J Cardiol 1998;82:10-13
3. Forrester JS. Role of plaque rupture in acute coronary syndromes. Am J Cardiol 2000;86:15-23; Falk E. Why do plques rupture? Circulation 1992;86:30-42
4. Dobs A, et al. Effects of high-dose simvastatin on adrenal and gonadal steriogenesis in men with hypercholesterolemia. Metabolism 2000;29:1234-38; Corona G. The effect of statin therapy on testosterone levels in subjects consulting for erectile dysfunction. J Sex Med 2010;7:1547-56; Akduman B, et al. Effect of statins on serum prostate-specific antigen levels. Urology 2010;76:1048-51
5. Masley SC, et al. Efficacy of exercise aand diet to modify markers of fitness and wellness. Altern Ther Health Med 2008;14:24-29; Masley SC, et al. Aerobic exercise enhances cognitive flexibility. J Clin Psychol 2009;16:186-93
6. Olshansky SJ, et al. A potential decline in life expectancy in the US in the 21st century. N Engl J Med 2005;352:1138-45
7. Sterigiopoulos K, et al. Initial coronary stent implantation with medical therapy versus medical therapy alone for stable coronary artery disease. Arch Intern Med 2012;72:312-19; Boden WE, et al. Outcomes in patients with acute non-Q wave myocardial infarction randomly assigned to an invasive as compared with a conservative management strategy. (VANQWISH). N Engl J Med 1998;338:1785-92; Pitt B, et al. Aggressive lipid lowering therapy compared with angioplasty in stable coronary artery disease. N Engl J Med 1999;341-46
8. Newman MF, et al. Longitudinal assessment of neurocognitive function after coronary artery bypass surgery. N Engl J Med 2001;344:395-402