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Ask Dr. Gott 1/28
Heart problem calls for low-fat diet
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: I lost my father 25 years ago due to heart blockages. At that time, I became determined not to let that happen to me. I went on a vegetarian diet, avoided fat and ate a lot of carbohydrates. I cut out trans-fats, read labels and tried to always eat well. A few years ago, I started adding some meat back into my diet, but still being very careful of what I ate.     
    My weight has always been a bit of a problem, but with a lot of effort, I've managed to keep it in line. I have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, both managed with medication. Now, at 70, I've been diagnosed with heart blockages and am facing bypass surgery.
    I was recently given a book titled "The Schwarzbein Principle." Diana Schwarzbein indicates that my diet is bad.         She says we need more natural fat in our diets and even advocates eating eggs daily. Real butter and cream are also staples with her plan. She considers a balanced meal to contain a fat, a protein, a limited amount of carbohydrates and a nonstarchy vegetable. According to her principle, cutting fat and overeating carbohydrates could possibly be the reason for my health problems.
    I'd appreciate your opinion, as I fear the cardiologist is going to want me to stay on a diet similar to what I've been on. Is it possible my diet is the cause of my health problems?
    DEAR READER: I am not familiar with the book you mention, but I am surprised that the author urges a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet. This is exactly what you don't need.
    You apparently have inherited some unfortunate genes from your father.
    Although you can do nothing to correct the genetic pattern, I am sure that most cardiologists would approach the problem by making sure your cholesterol level is low (150 or less) and that you have minimized your cardiac risk by stopping smoking, if you do.
    Your current diet is not the cause of coronary blockages. I cannot comment on whether you need bypass surgery. That decision is one you'll have to make in consultation with your cardiologist.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Coronary Artery Disease." Other readers who would like a copy should send a self-addressed No. 10 stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: Please advise me about having lymph nodes excised.
    DEAR READER: My answer depends on the location of the lymph nodes. Those confined to a superficial area can be removed easily. In contrast, deep lymph nodes, such as those in the lungs or abdomen, require a more invasive technique.
    Perhaps a needle biopsy would be appropriate. It might save you from having to undergo a more complex procedure. Ask your doctor about how best to proceed.
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