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Diabetics Can Reverse Their Atherosclerosis

exerciseAggressive measures to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels below current targets can help to prevent -- and potentially even reverse -- hardening of the arteries in adults with type 2 diabetes. Hardening of the arteries, also known as atherosclerosis, is the number one cause of heart disease.

A three-year study of nearly 500 participants was the first to compare two treatment targets for LDL ("bad") cholesterol and systolic blood pressure levels in people with diabetes.

To assess the impact of treatments on the participants‘ cardiovascular health, researchers used ultrasound to measure the thickness of their carotid (neck) arteries. Ultrasound was also used to measure the size and function of the left ventricle, which is the heart‘s main pumping chamber. Among participants who were given aggressive treatment, carotid artery thickness measurements were significantly lower.

Aggressive treatment measures included Food and Drug Administration-approved blood pressure and cholesterol medications. Participants were also encouraged to follow lifestyle approaches -- such as following a heart-healthy eating plan, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking -- to lower their blood pressure and cholesterol.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Don’t you just love their definition of aggressive treatment measures? How about just spelling out exactly what this really means: more drugs and at higher doses.

These guys are so amazingly clueless about implementing aggressive NATURAL therapies that will actually treat the cause of the problem and permanently eliminate it.

Yes, what the researchers found was that in order to lower your cholesterol and blood pressure levels down to extremely low targets (that have likely not been proven to be beneficial anyway), you need to take drugs, and lots of them.

This is the perfect conclusion for a study whose treatment methods included medications donated by three pharmaceutical companies: First Horizon Pharmacy, Merck, and Pfizer.

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

This study represents a perfect example of what is wrong with conventional medicine on so many levels. It reminds me of the classic analogy of cutting off your nose to spite your face, because when you take dangerous medications to “control” diseases that are largely lifestyle based, believe me you are not doing yourself any favors.

What’s wrong with these medications? Enough to fill a book, so I’ll just highlight some of the major things you should know.
  • High Blood Pressure Drugs: Over 100 anti-hypertensive drugs have been approved, yet high blood pressure continues to plague an unsettling number of people. Meanwhile, a study published in the British Medical Journal found that 97 percent of patients taking antihypertensive medications had suffered from significant side effects!
So not only are they not that effective at controlling blood pressure, they’re fraught with side effects.
  • Cholesterol Drugs: Statin cholesterol-lowering drugs have been shown to cause nerve damage and to greatly impair memory. One reason that statin drugs have these various serious side effects is that they work by inhibiting a vital enzyme that manufactures cholesterol in your liver. However, the same enzyme is used to manufacture coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).
Almost all people taking statins become depleted in CoQ10 eventually -- those patients who start with relatively low CoQ10 levels (the elderly and patients with heart failure) begin to manifest signs and symptoms of CoQ10 deficiency relatively rapidly. What are the symptoms? Fatigue, muscle weakness, soreness, and … heart failure. Enough said.

How Low Should Your Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Go?

Less is not always more, and the next flawed premise of this study -- that it’s a good thing to lower both your blood pressure and cholesterol below current target levels -- bears this out perfectly. I would argue that current targets may already be too low, and going even further lower could be disastrous.

And let’s face it. The “target” levels have already been lowered. It used to be, for instance, that a normal adult blood pressure was 120/80. Then in 2003, after a change by federal officials, 120/80 suddenly meant you had “prehypertension” and were at risk of heart attack and stroke.

Well the same thing happened with cholesterol. Before 2004, a 130-milligram LDL (bad) cholesterol level was considered healthy. The updated guidelines, however, recommended levels of less than 100, or even less than 70 for patients at very high risk.

There was no evidence to speak of to support such low target levels … but what there was suddenly plenty of, were people who needed to lower their cholesterol (read: take more statin drugs) and their blood pressure (more antihypertensive drugs).

What you may not know, and what even many doctors still don’t know, is that it’s not always ideal to have lower blood pressure or cholesterol.

For instance, older individuals with arteriosclerotic vessels actually need a higher blood pressure to maintain adequate blood flow to their kidneys and other vital organs. Many senior citizens will actually complain of weakness and dizziness if their blood pressures are lower than 120/80. (Of course, you don’t want your blood pressure to go too high, as if your systolic blood pressure is over 160-180, then there IS a danger that you could have a stroke. This is why if you are currently taking high blood pressure medications, you shouldn’t stop them suddenly without having your levels monitored.)

Meanwhile, low cholesterol levels have been shown to worsen patients with congestive heart failure, and cause aggressive behavior, suicidal thoughts and depression.

If You Have Diabetes, Here’s What You Should Know

Many people are unaware that insulin, the hormone secreted by your pancreas to normalize your blood sugar levels after you eat a sugary snack, plays a large role in high blood pressure. Raised insulin levels cause blood pressure to rise, so if you eat sugars and processed grains that break down into sugar, such as bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, beans, cookies, cakes, cereals, oatmeal, toast and rice, your body will be releasing insulin to balance out your blood sugar and blood pressure will therefore increase.

This is one of the major reasons why people suffer complications from high blood pressure and diabetes. And, of the nearly 284,000 people who die from diabetes each year, 65 percent of them are related to cardiovascular causes, so it is important to address this issue.

So what can you do to “aggressively treat” these two conditions?

If you do the four things above, you will be well on your way to a healthier life.