The Nation's Health + [life]

Heart disease prevention: No wonder nobody talks about real prevention

Take a look at this eye-opening statement taken from a well-written NY Times article about Dr. Arthur Agatston, the South Beach Diet and now South Beach Heart Program books:

'We have made major improvements in prevention,” Dr. Gregg W. Stone, the director of cardiovascular research at Columbia University, says. “But it’s difficult. It takes frequent visits, a close relationship between a physician and a patient and a very committed patient.'

Which is exactly the atmosphere Dr. Agatston’s practice tries to create. Nurses there give patients specific cholesterol goals to meet and help them deal with the side effects of the drugs they are taking. A nutritionist, Marie Almon, meets with patients frequently enough to discuss real-life issues like how to stick to a high-fiber Mediterranean diet even on a cruise or a business trip.

There is only one problem with this shining example of a medical practice: it is losing money.

From NY Times, January 24, 2007. What’s a Pound of Prevention Really Worth? (Find the full text at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/24/business/24leonhardt.html?ex=1172379600&en=4268a738e82857da&ei=5070.)

It gets at one of the fundamental reasons why your cardiologist will probably never talk to you about an intense approach to prevention: it doesn't pay. Because John Q. Cardiologist focuses, instead, on how to increase procedural volume, train how to put in the next best defibrillator, etc., there is little consciousness about preventive issues. Just the simple matter of taking fish oil causes their eyes to glaze over.

That's why the Track Your Plaque program exists: it is a portal for the kind of information you cannot get. Of course, you could read all the scientific studies, attempt years of trial and error, and try to gain a sense of how to do this yourself. Or you could follow this program. We are proud to not worry about generating procedural profits. We ar unbiased by drug or medical device money. We say exactly what we mean.

By the way, we are on a current push to really "beef-up" our online discussions via real-time chat. Long-term, we'd like to be able to offer chat with our staff many hours every day. Be patient. It will happen, but not today.