The Healthy Heart Program Dr Richard Fleming
One of the first books that I read after being discharged from the hospital with post partum cardiomyopathy was The Healthy Heart Program. It was an excellent read and in the crucial first weeks provided a practical plan to recover and an understanding of the action of inflammation in the body as the cause of heart disease. While not specifically targetted towards post partum cardiomyopathy, the information in this book and No More Heart Disease by Dr Louis Ignarro helped me. From not being able to walk 200 metres to walking 2-4 kilometres a day, in less than 2 weeks, was truly miraculous.
The book provides real life case studies and information is presented in a way that it provides hope in a very practical format.
In retrospect, this book saved my life because it recommended a diet of fruit and vegetables, and other easily digestible foods in the early stages of the program. The reasoning is that these foods require little energy to absorb, and therefore more energy goes into healing. I was later to find that dairy caused inflammation in my body and avoiding dairy and meat in these early days of recovery, I believe contributed tremendously to my recovery, as well as a daily walk along the beach. Animal proteins stress the body and a diet of vegetables, fruits, sprouts and foods high in digestive enzymes helps the body to heal.
In the first couple of months, apart from a daily walk, I generally rested. Healing takes time and it was not until 5 months later that my heart returned to normal size and function (low normal) and 11 months later that my heart was completely normal in size and function. I continued with the diet for several weeks and later on read and used the program by Dr.Decker Weiss, The Weiss Method and also saw a holistic GP. I believe dietary changes, the use of supplements to correct imbalances and deficiencies, yoga and walking and low stress can provide an environment where the body heals. I was on a very low dose of medication 1.25mg of beta blocker and 1.25 mg of Ace Inhibitor and discontinued the water pill completely, within weeks of diagnosis.
This one of many books that are a must read for anyone interested in health, but like so many people I did not read this book until I had a serious heart condition, where my heart had enlarged and only pumping half of what it should have been, my valves were leaking and regurgitating blood, and my body was filling up with fluid, and I was leaching protein in my urine and my kidneys were also failing. I was very fortunate, that my husband came home with this book from the local library. It was truly a Godsend.