Jackie McKool

A Holistic Approach to Heart Disease


According to the American Heart Association (AHA) Heart disease has been the world’s No. 1 killer for over a century, and experts predict that it will become even more prevalent in the coming decades.

In a Fox New article, they stated that a report this month from the American Heart Association predicts that at least six in 10 U.S. adults could experience cardiovascular disease within the next 30 years.

As I read the article I felt prompted to address these valid concerns from a holistic perspective. The AHA views their research and reporting, and even their recommendations through the lens of a conventional medical viewpoint. I would like to dissect the information in the Fox News article, and the AHA’s reporting, and compare the two different approaches – conventional medicine and a holistic approach. The AHA is very familiar with seeing things from a disease management perspective, while the holistic approach views disease from a root cause/restoring the body back to good health approach. It’s this latter approach that we don’t ever seem to hear enough about – at least in the main stream news. Both seem to agree on prevention, but both aren’t necessarily pursuing that – at least from a wholistic, root cause, natural approach. While the article makes suggestions on how to prevent heart disease, are they really doing anything to actually do so besides making suggestions for you to ultimately figure out?

Prescribing a drug for “prevention” is not prevention at all, it’s still disease management. In fact, drugs are well-known to have a multitude of common side effects, many of which can eventually lead to disease, not prevent it.

A Holistic Approach to Cardiovascular Disease

I will be writing a series of 9 blogs over the next 9 weeks, breaking this down piece by piece, with the big picture focus being “Cardiovascular Disease” and how to prevent it as well as reverse the disease process using natural approaches.

The report in this same article from Fox News and the AHA’s report, states that “the rate of hypertension (high blood pressure) — which is one of the key risk factors for heart disease — is expected to increase from 51.2% in 2020 to 61.0% in 2050.

Diabetes, another major risk factor, is also expected to rise (16.3% to 26.8%), along with obesity (43.1% to 60.6%), according to the study, which was published in the AHA journal Circulation.

As a result, total cardiovascular disease is predicted to rise from 11.3% to 15.0% between 2020 and 2050.”

The Heart Disease Drivers

Therefore, in this series we will also be addressing these 3 drivers, looking at high blood pressure from a holistic perspective – what is the root cause? Can it be reversed without drugs, and if so, how?

We will look at Diabetes from the same perspective – root cause, and can it be reversed, without drugs, using natural approaches (I’ll give you a little heads up on the bottom line answer to this one – the answer is a resounding “Yes!” – But don’t miss the blog to learn how).

And we will take a look at obesity from a wholistic perspective as well. In fact, this is where we are going to start with this series, mainly because the AHA feels obesity is the common denominator and driving factor for the other cardiovascular risks like high blood pressure and diabetes.

Conventional Approach vs. Holistic Approach to Heart Disease

To drive home the point that conventional medicine is usually looking at symptoms as opposed to root causes, read what the thoughts and general observation of lead study author Karen E. Joynt Maddox, MD, associate professor at Washington University School of Medicine stated: she said “the magnitude of the increase was surprising.” Surprising?! Why would these findings be surprising? I wasn’t surprised at all and I’m not even a researcher, just a retired doctor who has observed the health trends of our communities for 20+ years. I think she was surprised because she goes on to say “As a country, through lots of hard work from clinicians, patients and organizations like the American Heart Association, we have reduced mortality from heart disease by more than 50% in recent years, but we haven’t made the same strides in preventing disease.” And there it is, in the very own words of a medical professional – their focus, dollars and recommendations are simply based on reducing mortality, but not on preventing the disease itself. And I might add, their focus is on managing the symptoms and simply altering lab values using drugs and even surgeries. As I’ve stated in a recent blog “Our Bodies Don’t’ Take Care of Themselves” – being kept alive is far different from “living.”


Renato Apolito, M.D., the medical director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center, was not involved in the AHA study but shared his insights on the findings:
“One of the key factors is the projected increase in obesity in the coming decades,” Apolito said in an interview with Fox News Digital.

“Obesity is very commonly associated as a driver of hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnea and hypertriglyceridemia,” he said. “Some of the greater causes of obesity are lack of exercise and a heavy reliance on processed and fast food,” he noted.

“I suspect that as our standard of living goes up, our reliance on processed and pre-prepared food — in addition to lack of exercise and lack of sleep from our hectic work lives — will drive up obesity as the common denominator leading to all the other risk factors mentioned,” Apolito predicted.

“All of those factors put together would lead to an increase in coronary artery disease, heart failure and stroke.”

Based on Dr. Apolito’s insights you might think he has had a conversation or two with the functional medicine world!

The Holistic Approach to Obesity

Let me first say “I’ve been there.” I may not have reached the point of obese, but there have been several times in my adult life that I had excess weight on me. The first time I was only in my early 20’s – and my friend informed me while on the beach in a bathing suit, that it was obvious I had gained weight! Gee thanks! Poor timing to say the least. But in addition to eating a lot of “beach food” and restaurant food (I was living and working in Ocean City, MD as a waitress at the time), I have no doubt that the main reason for the excess weight was due to extreme alcohol consumption – and lack of proper exercise.

The next time I acquired excess weight was in my late 40’s – going through menopause. Now my health habits were much better, plus I had quit drinking 10 years before. But this time it was due to physical stresses to my body and being depleted of vital minerals unknowingly. In part, over-exercising was the culprit believe it or not. For more of this story see my book “Are You Being Deceived About True Wellness?”.

To book Dr. Jackie for speaking engagements go to:

And the most recent time was just within this past year. In fact, I had the most weight on me than I ever had in my life. Part of it was auto-immune thyroid challenges, and the other contributing factor was simply too large of portions on my plate (yes, I have always had the appetite like my brother – in his teens!). By getting to the root cause of the thyroid challenges and simply cutting back on my portions (and yes, admittedly, I even became aware of my caloric intake), I lost 20 pounds since the beginning of this year – approximately 1 pound a week. I also became committed to consistent exercise as well. So, I’ve been there.

I have never been a proponent of promoting the latest fad diet to lose weight – because it will be outdated by next year, and something else will come along to replace it, along with the weight you had temporarily lost. I certainly have never been a proponent of counting calories, points or anything else that gets counted on “diets.” I believe it’s much more important to be conscious of nutrients, not calories.I’ve also never been a fan of having weight loss as a goal. Too often I hear “I want to lose _X__ number of pounds for my daughter’s wedding, or my class reunion, or any other short term, vanity goal. What happens when you lose the weight and you’ve reached your goal? Do you go back to the old ways now that you are “done?” I think these are probably some of the greatest reasons for weight loss failure – they are more psychological than they are physical challenges. The healthy “why” is also way too short-sited, if not non-existent.

Don’t get me wrong, obesity is a huge health problem in this country, it’s just that the approach is for the wrong reasons most of the time.

I go into greater detail in my blog “How to Lose Weight Holistically” addressing the right way and the wrong way to approach weight loss goals. But just as important, what is the root cause for the weight gain to begin with? Or the root of the inability to lose it and/or keep it off?

Also, what is your motivation, your why? I am always amazed when I know someone is trying to lose weight and I see what they choose to eat. Is it out of pure ignorance or are they simply not fully committed to their weight loss? I invite you to take a look at my blog “How Committed Are You to Your Wholistic Health?”

As a result of Dr. Apolito’s observations regarding other drivers of obesity, we will also take a look at processed & packaged foods, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, and hypertriglyceridemia (high cholesterol, and the actual truth about it), in this series as well. And then we will tie it all together and bring back to the point of this series, a holistic approach to heart disease.

In Conclusion

This series will be as much about shedding light on the semantics, objectives and practices of conventional medicine, versus the holistic approach, and not just managing heart disease, but restoring the body back from it. We will also address the vitalness of preventing heart disease, using natural approaches – for both the aging adult population, as well as our next generation, who according to the AHA statistics, are doomed.
My hope with this series is to shed light on the truth and to bring you hope and encouragement so that you can be empowered to take charge of your own health, using natural approaches and not be the next medical statistic.
Quotes used in this blog came from a recent Fox News article and it can be found here for the full story.

Looking for a great beach read this summer? How about digging your toes in the sand, or swinging in the hammock with a copy of “Are You Being Deceived About Truth Wellness?”

Did you miss some of these earlier blogs? These could give you some great insight — especially as you pursue your health journey:
“The Hidden Demise of Children’s Health – in Plain Site”
“Do You Have an Unhealthy Gut and Not Know it?”
“How Committed Are You to Your Wholistic Health?”

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