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The dirty little secret about aneurysms

Posted Oct 01 2008 8:26pm

Jake had an abdominal aneurysm identified--by accident.

While getting a CT scan of his abdomen for unexplained abdominal pain, a 4.4 cm aneurysm was discovered. Jake's abdominal pain eventually passed without explanation, but he was left with this aneurysm.

Jake's primary care doctor referred him to a surgeon. "It's too small to require surgery right now. Wait a few years and it'll probably get bigger. When it gets to around 5.5 cm, that'll be the time to operate. Let's schedule an abdominal ultrasound or CT scan every 6 months."

Jake then got himself a heart scan. His high score of 879 then led him to my office. Lipoprotein testing, a stress test, correction of his lipoprotein patterns, changes in lifestyle followed. One year later, Jake's heart scan score was unchanged.

How about his abdominal aneurysm? 4.2 cm --a modest quantity of regression. When Jake's surgeon learned of the change, he just shrugged. "Okay, we'll just watch it from here."

Shockingly, the conversation surrounding aneurysms is just like the one Jake received: Let's just watch it grow until you need surgery.

If you've every seen anyone have abdominal aneurysm surgery, you know it is an awful, painful, barbaric process with high risk for major complications like kidney failure and loss of the legs. Waiting for an aneurysm to grow is a lousy solution. Surgeons point out that, although surgery is imperfect, it's better than the alternative: rupture, which is catastrophic with a 50% chance of dying.

But what about stopping the growth of the aneurysm? Or even reversing, or shrinking, it?

Surgeons say it can't be done. Yet we've done it--many times. And it's not that difficult.

The steps to take are very similar to that in the Track Your Plaque program for coronary plaque regression, with a few different strategies. Suppression of inflammation, for instance, plays a more important role and blood pressure must be abolutely normal, even during exercise.

More to come on this important topic in the future, including an upcoming Special Report on the www.trackyourplaque.com membership website.

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