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Atherosclerosis – Definition and Causes Living to 120 & Beyond

Jeff Harrison: Welcome to another episode of “Living to 120 Beyond”. I’m Jeff Harrison with …

Dr. Chein: Dr. Edmund Chein.

Jeff Harrison: Dr. Chein, welcome again.

Dr. Chein: Thank you.

Jeff Harrison: You know, we’re going to jump into another hot topic and it arteriosclerosis. I’m going to refer to my notes because it’s called arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m just going to call it CVD. For those of us that maybe are not familiar with that, tell us what that really is. What does that mean?

Dr. Chein: Okay. We cannot talk about CVD without talking about arteriosclerosis to start with, because it’s basically clogging of the coronary arteries, the heart vessels. There are arteriosclerosis conditions that the heart’s not involved at all or one can have very little arteriosclerosis but it all happens in the heart. Basically, I just want to start off and let people understand that if you have a severe arteriosclerotic disease your heart may not be involved.

Jeff Harrison: Oh.

Dr. Chein: You’re lucky in that.

Jeff Harrison: Okay.

Dr. Chein: Also, you may have a very minimal arteriosclerosis by ultrasound study, whatever, but your heart vessels are 90% blocked.

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Jeff Harrison: We’re talking about heart vessels, not the heart muscle.

Dr. Chein: Yes.

Jeff Harrison: Gotcha.

Dr. Chein: We’ve got to be clear that we are going to today talk about clogging of the heart vessels starting from … Which started or related to clogging of peripheral vessels. That’s what we’re going to talk about today and nothing more because it gets more complicated as we talk about it.

Jeff Harrison: We’ll stay very focused.

Dr. Chein: Very focused subject, yes.

Jeff Harrison: Now Dr. Chein, who does this typically affect? When do we start seeing this as starting to show up in particular groups of people, whether age or demographics or sex. Who do we see this affecting most?


Dr. Chein: A third of the population beyond 50, age 50, and the marker gets half of CVD … a varying degree of CVD, severe or mild. If they get a CT scan of the coronary artery it’ll be 10% of plaques or 95% plaques of the heart, a third of 50 over. As we get older, 60, 70, the incident goes up.


Jeff Harrison: Well you know, when you say that, that makes me wonder what are the causes of this? What causes … As you said, as we get older it gets worse. Why is that?


Dr. Chein: Obviously, the answer is aging. That’s a real cheap shot, aging, but actually it goes into other causes. As you age your hormones drop. Yes, your hormones are important. When you ignore your hormones from 50-70 then you get more chance of getting CVD. As our cholesterol, that you don’t look at your cholesterol at all… If you’re in your 50s and you think, “I’m fine,” and you don’t look at it, at 70 … Boom. It’s going to suddenly hit you with a heart attack because it’s now completely blocked. Whereas if you looked at it, your cholesterol when you were 50, you’ll see only 10% blocked, for example. Other causes are infection.


Jeff Harrison: Can I stop you there for a second because we were talking about cholesterol. When you hear about cholesterol, let’s say I go in and I get tested. The testing says, “Hey, my number is 200, and a friend of mind is 300.” I would immediately think, and I think most of us watching out there would be saying, “Well, that must mean at 300 there’s a problem,” but you have a little different take on that don’t you?


Dr. Chein: Absolutely. If your doctor looks at your cholesterol and your LDL, which is the bad cholesterol numbers, and treats you according to that number he’s behind times. Because today as I’m speaking, 2016, the cholesterol experts are stating … This is science, okay? The total cholesterol does not matter.

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Jeff Harrison: My number doesn’t have as much on bearing anymore.


Dr. Chein: No.


Jeff Harrison: How do I know that this cholesterol is good or bad?


Dr. Chein: Yes, they look at the LDL and they’ll even look at the total LDL number, that’s not important anymore. Ten years ago that’s all they’d treat. They’d put you on drugs to lower those two numbers. Today no, they have to do more. What do they have to do more? They have to take the LDL and they have to fractionate it, break it down into fractions. It’s called fractionate. Then they have to look at the LDL and see … There are two types of LDL. There’s the large particle, large LDL, big fat LDL, and tiny little LDL, small particle LDL. It is the only the small particles that block the arteries.


Jeff Harrison: Oh really, okay.


Dr. Chein: You can have large, high LDL and big fat LDLs, they are good. They don’t get in between your vessel and your plaque, they don’t get in there, they can’t get in there, the space is too narrow.


Jeff Harrison: If I’m … Let’s say for instance, 10 years ago I had high cholesterol because my LDL was high and I stayed on that regimen for 10 years because hey, that’s what my doctor said. I’d just keep refilling and what not, checking, and not it’s in check. I may not be doing the right thing.


Dr. Chein: Absolutely not. You might have a malpractice case on your hands if you get Alzheimer’s, because statins, all the statins increase your risk of getting Alzheimer’s.


Jeff Harrison: Interesting.


Dr. Chein: Or Alzheimer’s like dementia.


Jeff Harrison: Let’s face it. The medical science is constantly changing.


Dr. Chein: Constantly changing.


Jeff Harrison: The edge is very sharp and is cutting all the time.


Dr. Chein: Absolutely.


Jeff Harrison: Now we’ve determined that the LDL, the cholesterol level could be a factor in leading to CVD.


Dr. Chein: Only if you fractionate it.


Jeff Harrison: Only if you fractionate it. All right. That’s a word that maybe if you’re listening out there you need to be talking to your doctor and say, “It’s not just my LDL, it’s my fractionated LDL.” Is that pretty common or is that pretty new information?


Dr. Chein: It is pretty new and your doctor is excused, kind of, for not knowing that because he didn’t keep up, but if he was a lawyer he’ll be sued. Lawyers have to keep up with the law. When a law’s passed, day one. On day two, if he handles a case the same way he handled it yesterday or two days ago it’s a legal malpractice. Unfortunately, for doctors it’s not. That’s why I always say this and I’ll repeat it again, bring a lawyer with you to see your doctor. I always say that because it forces them to put the evidence on to a third person. Hopefully, he’s taping it even, and to say, “Do you know that, doctor? All the time you didn’t fractionate my LDL and you’re putting me on a [inaudible 00:07:04]. Do you know at this moment, in the presence of my attorney, do you know or not know in your head that the LDL needs to be fractionated?” Okay? Now no doubt.

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Jeff Harrison: Okay. The medicine has changed. If somebody’s out there and they’re still on a cholesterol controlling drug and they’ve been on it awhile …


Dr. Chein: A lowering drug, controlling.


Jeff Harrison: Then they need to probably … Not probably, they need to go back to their doctor or someone and say, “I’d like to have my LDL fractionated.” Excellent, okay. I just want to dig into that a little bit more because I knew it had changed and I think that’s such a critical factor because you’ve got it as number three on the list there. Okay, so we’ve got aging, hormone, and then we have small particle LDL.


Dr. Chein: Right.


Jeff Harrison: Okay, so what else could be causes?


Dr. Chein: Well for example, subclinical infection. Infections used to be … The doctors don’t even look at that. In fact, but now they found out even gum disease, cavities, all that in our mouth can cause a heart attack.


Jeff Harrison: Oh.


Dr. Chein: Yes, yes. Ask any dentist, they’ll tell you, yes. It can cause a heart attack. That’s why they put you on antibiotics, right?


Jeff Harrison: Yes.


Dr. Chein: Why do they put you on antibiotics? Why do dentists do that? They do that because they know when they dig around the bacteria is going to go … Hopefully not, go to your heart and cause a heart attack, because when bacteria gets to the coronary vessel it’s like homeless people. Go on big boulevard, the main boulevard, put a tent, nice place to rest. Nice. They build these tents around the main boulevard and it causes congestion of the traffic. If you have a homeless tent here, homeless on the left, a three lane highway becomes one lane. With more homeless people tents, the highway’s blocked, and that is a heart attack.


Jeff Harrison: This is called subclinical infections.


Dr. Chein: Infections that we have no pain, we don’t complain about, because if you have an infection in your eye, oh my God, it’s red, it’s pain. Infection in your head is headache. Infection in your lung you cough. Infection in your skin it’s a bump. You will complain. Subclinical it’s an infection going on and you don’t even know. You still look fine, and typically teeth because people walk around with cavities. “I saw my dentist five years ago. I think I’m fine.” Little do they know, that little cavity is seething bacteria into the vessels and causing all these plaques. I like to call the plaques homeless people, okay?


Jeff Harrison: I like that.


Dr. Chein: Homeless people building tents on the boulevard. The boulevard is the artery, and that’s why we need to get rid of the homeless people. They cannot sleep on the main boulevard.


Jeff Harrison: Interesting.


Dr. Chein: Another site of subclinical infection is intestines because God made us in such a way that we use bacteria to make vitamins. Many of our vitamins is made in the colon by bacteria, the good bacteria. Well, that’s why even a baby the stool smells because the baby’s got a lot of bacteria in the colon. Throughout life we start eating bad bacteria because we’re tired, because of traveling, getting infected or whatever, and the bad bacteria starts living in there. We have terrorists now, if I may call those bad bacteria terrorists, living in our country. The [inaudible 00:10:52] for example. They cause troubles but we don’t know it … So we don’t know it because other Muslims in the country are fine. We have bad bacteria we don’t know and we have no pain.  We never go to the doctor and say, “Oh, my intestines are hurting,” but the intestine is a place for terrorists to hide.


Dr. Chein: Subclinical was in a place where we wouldn’t feel it…?


Dr. Chein: Yes.


Dr. Chein: And give us immediate pain.


Dr. Chein: Yes, and those terrorists, those bad bacteria, get in the blood. They become homeless people, they block the highway, they cause the blockage, cause a heart attack, cause arteriosclerosis, cause the plaques.


Dr. Chein: If I ask … Then, if that were existing, I didn’t know it and I’m going in for my yearly physical, my check. Would that be something that would be caught by a yearly physical or do I need to look a little deeper differently?


Dr. Chein: Depends on your doctor.


Dr. Chein: Okay. What should we ask?


Dr. Chein: It’s not up to you to ask, because today’s healthcare system is cutting down the payment of the doctor per visit. The plumber get $75 and Medicare pays $37. A doctor, in order to make enough money, he wishes you’re in and out in one second and he has 1,000 people in the waiting room. That’s what his wish is, because $37 times $1,000, that’s not bad.


Dr. Chein: It’s a good day.


Dr. Chein: It’s a good day. He has no time. It’s not what you want to ask. In fact, when you ask a doctor, “I have been taking Lipitor you gave me to control. How come last month I had a little heart attack? Still. Despite all these years of me taking my Lipitor. Can you answer that question?” He says, “Well, we’ll talk about that next visit. Right now you’re doing fine, right? See yeah. Next, nurse?” You ask the question, he doesn’t answer.


Jeff Harrison: Wow.


Dr. Chein: He’s got to move on to the next one, so it’s not a matter of you asking or not. It’s sitting down and saying, “Did my doctor cover that?”


Jeff Harrison: Got you.


Dr. Chein: “Did he voluntarily cover that subject with me?”  If he didn’t … No.


Jeff Harrison: Find another doctor.


Dr. Chein: Find a doctor.


Jeff Harrison: Okay. What else? You’ve got the aging, the hormone, the small particle LDL, and the subclinical infections.


Dr. Chein: Heavy metals is another one. Mercury, lead, most common ones in elderly people. We don’t get rid of heavy metals like cats and dogs do. Cats and dogs can eat anything heavy metal and they’ll pee it out, poop it out. We love fish. That’s why we can’t eat fish, tuna, because tuna it’s mercury … Eats other fish and other fish feed on industrial pollution with mercury and everything coming out of the ocean. They eat that and the tuna eats that and the tuna cannot get rid of the heavy metal in the tuna. When we eat the tuna we eat all of its heavy metal into us. That’s why FDA says two cans of tuna per week max.


Jeff Harrison: Now, are there any other fish that we should be aware of? Tuna, but are there any other fish we should be aware of?


Dr. Chein: Absolutely. The answer is, every fish that eat other fish, don’t eat that type of fish. Salmon don’t eat other fish. Shrimp, crab … A lot of people say, “Ew, shrimp, they’re bottom feeders. Crab, they’re on the bottom of the ocean. They eat other fishes crap, junk. Don’t eat that.” No, no, no, they don’t eat other fish so they’re okay. Shrimp and crab is actually okay to eat, even though they’re bottom feeders. What I mean is you won’t get heavy metal poisoning. Heavy metal poisoning leads to arteriosclerosis, plaques being built in the artery. I don’t want to go into mechanisms but then that’s why there’s the chelation.


Jeff Harrison: Okay.


Dr. Chein: There’s a group of doctors that chelates … Put an IV chelation and chelation. If it’s fraud, they would be out of business. It works, because when they chelate the blood pressure comes down.


Jeff Harrison: Are there other things that cause heavy metal? It’s not just because we eat fish, is it?


Dr. Chein: No, it’s water … Water, it’s water. Uranium that we used to build atomic bomb with. Uranium is in the water of the most prestigious city in our neighborhood called Indian Wells. In Indian Wells there’s uranium. In fact, one of my patients who lives in Indian Wells, he hired on uranium so he writes the city water department. “Do you have uranium in your water? Do you know that?” Well, first of all he tested his water, sent his water to test and there’s uranium in it. He wrote to the city, “Do you know the water’s ….” “Yes, we do but it’s under EPA.” The answer is, “But it’s under EPA standard.” What he didn’t know was even under EPA a little bit every day, since we can’t get rid of it, you accumulate it. Over 10 years you live in Indian Wells you’ll have uranium poisoning.


Jeff Harrison: Interesting. Wow. Wow.


Dr. Chein: Yes, we get it from other sources, to answer you, from many, many other sources. From restaurants, water in restaurants that people don’t … The restaurant don’t filter the water. They should filter water. When they don’t you’re drinking their city water, wherever that city is.


Jeff Harrison: What about … We’ve heard this whole thing about plastic bottles, the water bottles. Is there any danger from that?


Dr. Chein: No, not for arteriosclerosis. For other medical problems, yes.


Jeff Harrison: It’s not considered a heavy metal issue.


Dr. Chein: No, that’s not a heavy metal issue. That’s a chemical issue with other medical problems. Today we concentrate on arteriosclerosis and heavy metals is directly related for causation or contribution or aggravation of arteriosclerosis.


Jeff Harrison: Okay, so there’s a lot going on here. There are a lot of things that can lead to this CVD.


Dr. Chein: Absolutely.


Jeff Harrison: Are there any other things that are causing this that we could make people aware of?


Dr. Chein: There are a lot more but I just wanted to go into the least likely category … Diabetes, of course. Endocrine disorders, of course.  Many of them cause increasing of your sclerotic plaque formation and heart disease. Other types of … Type I and Type II. When I mentioned diabetes earlier, I meant Type II but Type I in babies, children, yes. They start their arteriosclerotic plaques way early because of the diabetes Type I. There are hereditary issues like lipoprotein … Liproprotein disorders. They can also have … But just as a baby, as a child they can have arteriosclerosis.


Jeff Harrison: Okay, so today, Dr. Chein, we’ve covered a lot. I can’t thank you enough. We talked about a specific type of arteriosclerosis that I’ll call CVD, and you call it …


Dr. Chein: Arteriosclerotic heart disease.


Jeff Harrison: We talked about hey, who’s the most … Where does the most common incident happening, and that’s in the 50 or older?


Dr. Chein: Yes.


Jeff Harrison: Male and female you said were a third of the male or female population over 50.


Dr. Chein: Yes.


Jeff Harrison: Then really, what are the causes? There’s a list of those causes and so what I’d like to do in the next episode is talk about, “Hey, what do we do to treat this and prevent it?”


Dr. Chein: Right.


Jeff Harrison: In the meantime, Dr. Chein, for those people watching how would they get in touch with you? How would they reach out to you and say, “Wait a minute, wait a minute. I know my doctor’s not doing this. If somebody rang your office or came in the front door, are these things that you can do, that you would do?


Dr. Chein: Yes, these are things that I would check. That’s part of my job is to eliminate the causes of the CVD, cardiovascular disease, not to control it so that’s a key difference. You cannot treat what you don’t measure. You cannot eliminate a disease if you don’t know what caused it so it’s very important for the patient to say, “Doctor, you said I have cardiovascular disease, DVD. What caused it? In your opinion, what caused it?” He says, “I don’t know.” Leave immediately, don’t take no for an answer.


This culture has a respect for doctors. It’s like whatever he says we accept. No. No. That’s why I always come … Just bring a lawyer with you, don’t accept what he tells you. Unless he tells you I know what we’ve already eliminated. We eliminated the hormones, we checked the hormones, they were good. He has to come out and say that, “We checked your small particle LDL. They are good. I’ve checked out infection through CRP, through sed rate, through homocysteine. It’s good, you passed. I’ve checked your food allergy to gluten, you didn’t have that. I checked your heavy metals through and hair, you didn’t have that. Now I don’t know what caused it.” He passed. Even though he says I don’t know it, he passed.


Jeff Harrison: He’s done the right check.


Dr. Chein: He’s done the right check.


Jeff Harrison: Great. People that want to come in and check with you, I know you’re located in Palm Springs. Tell us … Can you give your phone number, we’ll put it on the screen as well.


Dr. Chein: Yeah. (760) 333-2288, and California. I’m lucky to be in California, allows tele-medicine. Actually, with the cooperation of an doctor in the patient’s state, in your state, I can become your doctor with the cooperation of your local and take you as a patient through tele-medicine and you never have to come to California, ever.


Jeff Harrison: You can do this all over …


Dr. Chein: Legally through video, tele-video. Correct.


Jeff Harrison: Great. Well, Dr. Chein, thank you. I can’t wait to get into the prevention and treatment of this. Thanks for joining us again. I’m Jeff Harrison …

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Dr. Chein: Dr. Edmund Chein.


Jeff Harrison: For “Living To 120 and Beyond”.