FIX IT PLAN
It’s good to re-fuel with a fresh dose of motivation and guidance, and with that in mind I want to tell you about Steven Masley, MD’s “The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up”. I talked about it in an earlier post and linked to it on the Books & Links page, and (ta-da!) I’ve just finished reading it cover to cover.
Masley sums up the book’s purpose quite nicely in the very beginning: “What is the 30-Day Heart Tune-up? It’s all about shrinking arterial plaque, improving circulation, and strengthening your heart-beat.”
An important message I got from this book is that medicine may help us live longer, but it doesn’t stop the underlying cause of elevated blood pressure or cholesterol that leads to being prescribed medication in the first place. So if we rely on medications alone, our bodies will very likely still be forming deadly arterial plaque. They key to true health is the lifestyle measures that can restore your blood pressure and blood lipids to normal levels and Dr. Masley tells us how to do it.
He is an advocate for assessing our heart health early, before experiencing the obvious signs of a problem, so we can take the steps necessary to prevent a future heart event.
One of the things he recommends is having a Carotid Intima Media Thickness Ultrasound (CIMT) which measures the plaque in the carotid arteries in the neck and can help the doctor assess our vascular age. Unlike the commonly prescribed carotid Doppler exam, the CIMT is a newer and much more detailed ultrasound. Dr. Masley explains that plaque builds in our heart, legs and carotid arteries all at the same rate, so if we have plaque in our carotids, then we have the same amount of plaque in our heart and legs. I really liked that he also provides step-by-step instructions on performing specific exercise tests we can do at home or at the gym to assess our heart health too.
His recommendations for reducing and preventing arterial plaque are outlined in chapters on diet, exercise, stress and supplements in thorough detail. There’s also a chapter titled “Sexier You,” discussing how your heart is “at the heart of sexual function and dysfunction.” And he even tops that with a detailed eating plan, 60 heart healthy recipes and more. I have his Oatmeal and Dried Fruit Muffins baking in the oven right now!
Yep, I did learn a few things, and while there wasn’t anything particularly surprising in Dr. Masley’s recommendations–there was lots of encouragement and reinforcement to continue doing what we’re doing. If you want to assess your heart’s health and make sure you’re on the right path, it’s a good book and I’m recommending it . If you’ve had a heart event, or have existing heart disease and want to work toward reversing arterial plaque to restore and protect your heart health, you WILL want to read this book.