I recently had a “near death” experience, which led to my becoming very confused about heart disease.
I was a runner all my life, and ate only the “right” foods, until I ended up in the ICU. While recovering from my heart attack, I was told the following story by my cardiologist:
The diet-leads-to-heart-disease, and exercise-is-healthy theory apparently is not the whole story. And may, in fact, be wrong.
Apparently, some research was done about 20 - 30 years ago in which it was found that it didn’t make any difference what you ate, or how much cholesterol there was in your blood, or clogging your arteries; you could still get a heart attack. Just as many people with squeaky clean arteries as those with plugged arteries have heart attacks.
The people who did this research took tissue samples from the arteries of people who had died of heart attacks, and found that 100% of them had a particular bacterial infection in the tissue.
According to them, the bacterial infection inflames the arteries. The body reacts to this inflammation by depositing cholesterol over the inflammation. If the inflammation is big enough, it precipitates a blood clot. If the blood clot breaks loose, this can cause a heart attack or stroke.
This theory seems to be substantiated by the fact that stents that are impregnated with antibiotics are more effective and last longer than those without.
Similarly, the pattern of heart disease apparently follows a pattern characteristic of those caused by infective agents. Ie: the incidence of heart disease peaked in the early 1970’s, and bottomed out about five years ago. It is now on the rise again.
I am not qualified to say whether this story is right or wrong, but since it was told to me by a very prominent cardiologist as I was lying in bed hooked up to a whole bunch of machines and drips, it does have credibility.
Anyone know anything about this?