Heartfelt Lessons from an American Legend

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Filed Under: Heart Health, Heart Attack
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

What a tragedy that the man who represented us all when he first set his foot on the moon would not live to see that same foot make another “giant step” back to the pavement outside the hospital where he had  coronary bypass graft surgery (CABG or CABS). As I’m sure you’ve heard Neil Armstrong passed away on August 25 at the age of 82 from complications following his heart surgery.

All of this is especially difficult to grasp since as recently as May 12, 2012 this US Navy pilot, X-15 test pilot, aeronautical engineer, and college professor was sound and fit enough to testify before a Senate committee meeting. It must have been heartbreaking for him to consider the economic cuts to his beloved space program; one he had dedicated so much of his life’s work to build. Plus, I’m sure his family was heartbroken that only a few months later surgical complications would take his life.

We don’t yet know what happened to derail Armstrong’s recovery from CABS. With CABS some of the more life-threatening complications include a blot clot that travels somewhere else (an embolism) and gets lodged causing a heart attack, stroke, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or clogging of a graft. Kidney failure and congestive heart failure can also result.

What are the takeaway lessons for you?

  • Prevention is always your best defense. After over two decades practicing integrative cardiology, I am even convinced that with metabolic cardiology we can even reverse heart disease. Some of my top recommendations include eating a PAM diet and exercising. Plus, you want to take a powerful nutrient combination I call the “awesome foursome”: CoQ10 (50-150 mg daily), magnesium (400-800 mg daily), broad-spectrum carnitine (1-2 g daily in divided doses), and D-ribose (5 g twice daily).
  • If you are struggling with the decision about whether or not to have CABS, weigh your options carefully. Ask your doctor if you’re a candidate for angioplasty or a stent to buy you more time to reverse non-critical arterial lesions.
  • If you’re facing any type of heart surgery, pre-dose with CoQ10.  Those of you who have read my books may recall the story of one of my patients, a young minister who surgeons were never able to wean off the bypass pump and ultimately could not save him. That experience drove me to medical journals where I learned that people who pre-dose daily with coenzyme Q10 daily for several weeks prior to an elective bypass did much better post-operatively.

Finally, to Neil Armstrong’s family I send my heartfelt condolences. Every one of us who was alive during that summer night back in 1969 remembers his first steps on the moon. I know that all of us who can recall the Gemini and Apollo days continue to honor this exceptional man and his courage, determination, and humility every time we look at the moon.

Now it’s your turn: I invite you to share your thoughts.

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