Complementing your Conventional Cardiovascular Healthcare

Conventional CVD Blog PicMatt Koontz, Certified Herbalist

Conventional healthcare has a regimented and controlled approach to treating cardiovascular disease. But it misses a key factor in treatment: address not only the immediate condition but also the patient’s constitution, context, and commitment to change. There is an entire realm of therapeutic strategies that is ignored, downplayed, or mistrusted but that can significantly improve the outcome of conventional treatment and the healing process. The trick is incorporating the two forms of healthcare when they sometimes appear to be in opposition.

Pharmaceutical drugs are the most common way to treat cardiovascular disease today. Many times these include blood-thinning drugs to prevent clots, diuretics to lower blood pressure, NSAIDs like aspirin to reduce inflammation, and statins to lower cholesterol. These drugs may come with insidious side effects or even adverse interactions with healthy foods. As the healthy foods are banned by the doctor and the side effects sneak into play, the body often becomes more depleted. Thus begins the downward spiral into pharmaceutical dependence.

Eventually, some patients may find their cholesterol suppressed to such low levels that neurological symptoms begin to appear. These symptoms are often attributed to aging and can mimic dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Other issues connected to low cholesterol include lack of sex drive, poor fat digestion, and even violent suicide. Even though the drugs are contributing to these conditions, the risk of damage is considered worth it in hopes that the patient doesn’t have a cardiovascular event.

One major difficulty comes with blood-thinning medications which are meant to prevent clots. These often have interactions with many common drugs, supplements, and even foods. The common anticoagulant, Warfarin, even comes with a “Warfarin Diet” to prevent excessively thin blood. Blood thinner doses are highly controlled and finicky, and by changing the diet the action of the drug may become too strong, causing bleeding, or too weak, allowing clots to form too easily. The following healthy foods are often discouraged once on a blood thinner like Warfarin: broccoli, cabbage, kale, lettuce, spinach, avocados, green tea, olive oil, and anything rich in vitamin K. But while conventional treatment may focus on the blood-thinning drugs in their tool kit, complementary medicine can add diet and lifestyle changes, supplements, and supportive herbs. Add preventative care that addresses the individual client and their specific genetic predispositions, and a holistic approach for recovery begins to emerge.

The Complementing your Conventional Cardiovascular Healthcare class on Tuesday, February 7th at 6 p.m. will guide you through the process of incorporating complementary healthcare into a doctor’s conventional plan so that the best outcome is achieved. The class covers the process of lowering blood pressure with diet and Vitalist practices, addressing genetic predispositions therapeutically, common CVD drugs and their side effects, the pros and cons of the statin dilemma, and overcoming the health barriers created by the conventional treatment plan. The goal is to become healthy enough that your doctor doesn’t want you on pharmaceuticals anymore.


Bowden, Jonny Ph.D., and Stephen Sinatra, M.D.. The Great Cholesterol Myth. Fair Winds Press, 2012.