Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mind, Diet and Blood Vessel Blockage: Understanding the link.

Based on my talks at the Kiwanis Club of Longboat Key (November 7, 2010) and at Dr. C. Purser's wellness group (January 27, 2011).

Imagine driving along a busy road lined with red brick walled buildings. As you are driving along, without warning, a seemingly endless cascade of bricks falls out of nowhere and completely obstructs the road in front of you. This is what happens when one has a heart attack. The blood vessels, also called arteries are complex structures that transport red blood cells. During a heart attack, the blood vessels in the heart are suddenly blocked preventing red blood cells from reaching the heart muscle downstream. Red blood cells are important because they have hemoglobin, which transports oxygen. When the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen, this results in death of the cells of the heart and ultimately forms a scar tissue. Depending on how much heart muscle is involved and how long it is deprived of oxygen, the efficiency of the pumping mechanism of the heart is correspondingly reduced.

The rather sudden nature of a heart attack has its roots in our childhood. The central theme of all heart attacks is buildup of plaque or blockage in the blood vessels. This process of plaque formation starts very early in our lives. Diet plays a very important role in the formation of these blockages.

We are going to explore how blockages or plaques form in our blood vessels by tracing the pathways of food metabolism.

Key points

  • Three major food groups: carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
  • End product of food metabolism is carbon dioxide and water, regardless of the type of food.
  • Excess carbohydrates and proteins are converted to fat for long-term storage.
  • Cholesterol is important for integrity of all cells in the body, helps in the absorption and digestion of fats in the intestine, precursor of hormones such as testosterone and estrogen.
  • Cholesterol and fats are insoluble in blood, are transported in the bloodstream attached to particles called lipoproteins. One such lipoprotein called LDL or bad cholesterol is responsible for the formation of blood vessel clogging plaques.
  • Better the diet (lower calories: remember, carbohydrates, proteins and fats are interchangable, excess is ultimately stored as fat), less need for blood stream lipoprotein (LDL) transport of cholesterol and fat .
  • Less circulating lipoproteins (LDL), less probability of plaque formation which leads to clogging of blood vessels.
  • Mind influences diet to a large extent.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Introductory Comments At Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce 1/19/2011

Thank you very much. It is wonderful to see everyone coming together for the success of the new Long Boat. Everyone one of you is equally important in the success of this endeavor. As a heart doctor, I am very excited to be a part if this, especially the wellness component. There are several activities planned including rowing and triathlon which is great for heart health. Being a cardiologist, I thought I would share a little piece of advise on wellness that is guaranteed to change your lives. In my daily practice as a physican and healer, my attention is not just trying to fix the mechanical, electrical and plumbing components of the heart, but to focus on the well being of the individual as a whole, that is mind, body and spirit. In my definition of wellness, the mind plays a central role. If any part of the body is affected by illness, the mind is restless. The converse is true as well. If the mind is restless and under stress all the time, diseases can sprout. Let’s look at wellness using a tree as an analogy. Our hands, legs and body can be compared to the trunk and branches of a tree. Our five sense senses and internal organs are like the leaves and fruits of a tree. To keep the tree healthy you water the roots not the leaves or the branches. Our mind can be compared to the root of a tree. To ensure a healthy body, the mind has to be kept calm and still. Everyone one of you has the potential to achieve inner calm and peace of mind. I am happy to share with you a simple technique to help you realize this inner potential that will give you peace of mind and in turn great health and well being. This involves something that you do several thousand times a day, that is your breathing. If you want to learn more about this, I would be happy to talk with you individually. Thank you very much and enjoy the evening.

Talk at St. Mary's Star of the Sea Church 1/20/2011, Longboat Key, FL

Thank you for having me here today.

What is life?

About three years ago, 2 events occurred in my life that changed my way of looking at life. One was the death of my grandmother and the other was the birth of my daughter a few months later. My grandmother was sick for quite sometime before she passed away. She always kept a smile on her face despite all her difficulties and she always told me “have only one mood, and that is a good mood”. She lived this principle all her life. I was at her bedside when she took her last breath and she departed with a smile on her face. Everyone around her, family, close friends were either weeping, crying or sad. A few months later, my daughter was born here in Sarasota. As all newborns do, the first thing she did was to cry for 5 minutes. Everyone around her were all overjoyed at the new arrival and the mood was generally very happy. Contrast these 2 situations. When my grandmother died, she was the only one smiling while everyone else was crying. When my daughter was born, she was the only one crying while everyone else was laughing and smiling. So, we all enter the world crying and leave with a smile. Everything in between is what we call life.