Put Your Heart into Good Hands: Working with a holistic cardiologist can make a substantial difference, advises Dr. Jack Wolfson
Dec 31, 2013 02:32PM
● By Jack M. Wolfson, DO
Cardiologists are plentiful on the medical landscape, and a typical hospital may have 50 or more on staff. This is a good thing to have in the middle of a heart attack or another emergency. There are, however, many faults with the current conventional cardiology model. First, an office visit is typically very short. This is primarily because inadequate medical reimbursement pushes doctors to see more patients per day. Also, medical doctors usually default to prescribing pills and ordering tests, which also does not take very long. As a result, questions often go unanswered or are met with platitudes about age and heredity.
Secondly, conventional cardiologists are incentivized to order tests because they get paid to perform those tests. This is a major problem that the government has tried to limit, but to no avail. The tests that are performed typically do not have much added value, either. For example, a nuclear stress treadmill is not necessary if a person has a normal ECG. Patients are subjected to unnecessary radiation during tests and an increased risk of a false positive. Stress testing is beneficial when people have symptoms because it can help decide if they are cardiac in nature, but routine stress testing is not beneficial unless someone has diabetes.
Then, conventional cardiologists do not go after the cause of the disease. Blockages do not occur because the body lacks Lipitor, and high blood pressure does not come from a pharmaceutical deficiency. All disease stems from nutrition and chemicals, two areas in which conventional docs have little or no training.
These are all reasons to switch to a board-certified holistic cardiologist that attends natural conferences to hone their skills. Dr. Stephen Sinatra is well known in this field, as is Dr. Julian Whitaker. Even Dr. Oz is a cardiac surgeon.
The holistic cardiologist spends time with their patients, and office visits delve deeply into a patient's history. Nutrition and chemical exposures are discussed. A history of heavy metals such as mercury or lead can be elicited. Questions about sleep, caffeine use, and stress are asked. A detailed exam is performed. This all takes time.
When it comes to testing, assessment of risk is done by non-invasive, non-radioactive measures. There are excellent blood tests that really determine heart risk and identify cause. Insurance covers many of these tests. In addition, genetics, hormones, metals, food sensitivities, markers of inflammation and so much more really give insight into a patient's situation.
A holistic cardiologist will give the patient a choice. They can use pharmaceuticals or they can change their diet and lifestyle and take supplements. Often, stents and surgery are not necessary. Options are fully explained, and risks and side effects are discussed. This type of care may come with a price, because insurance may not be accepted, but visits are usually reimbursed. What is good health worth?
Jack M. Wolfson, DO, FACC, is the owner of Wolfson Integrative Cardiology, 10585 N. Tatum Blvd., Ste. D-135, in Paradise Valley. Contact him at 480-535-6844 or WolfsonIntegrativeCardiology.com.