Talk of a Polypill to treat cardiovascular disease has been in the wind for years. Now with the announcement this month that such a pill has been tested and found successful at reducing the risk of heart problems there is renewed energy to fast-track production and distribution of the Polypill.
Washington, DC, based Foxhall Tech Medicine founder Dr. Joshua Yamamoto believes the Polypill offers so much hope because of its powerfully protective effect at such a small cost. He is going to push to make it available without a prescription.
Voice of Caution
In practically the same breath Yamamoto voices caution about expectations. “Life is not ‘one size fits all,’ but doing something is often better than doing nothing when it comes to preventing heart attacks and strokes.” The idea of a Polypill has been around for a long time, explains Dr. Yamamoto. “Statins, in particular, have such a powerful protective effect at such a small cost (what are a few transient aches and pains weighed against death or brain damage?)
He further cautions saying, “we don’t want to send the message that there is one ‘right’ pill for everyone. It’s important to have the right medicine for the right person in the right dose at the right time.”
Looks Can Be Deceiving
So that brings him back to the long-standing reminder that even though you may look great from the outside, vascular disease is the silent killer. He says there are specific things you can do to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
If you are waiting for some great secret on what those things are don’t hold your breath.
Yamamoto explains, “you can prevent a stroke. You can emphasize any word in there. Meaning you as a person. Me as your physician. Can. It is possible. Prevent is an active verb. We can’t just sit back and hope for the best. We have to be active. We have to prevent strokes.
From The Mayo Clinic
The Mayo Clinic reports that doctors aren’t sure what exact combination of medications should be included in a Polypill. In their report, Rekha Mankad, M.D. explains, “The polypill probably won’t be used as a preventive measure for people who haven’t had a heart attack or stroke, because the risks associated with some of the medications included in the polypill, such as aspirin, may outweigh the potential benefits of such a treatment.
Dr. Yamamoto further cautions about too much excitement over the Polypill, and reminds of the simple procedures.” And possibly one of the most important things to ask is what is our heart rhythm. The older we get the more likely we are to have the irregular heartbeats and a slowing heart or an irregular heart may not reliably give blood to the brain. We often call that atrial fibrillation which is common in an over 50 population. And you may not feel that but it is an enormous driver of strokes.”
He states the thing you should take home from this is start with your doctor. We know how to live a good and healthy life. But even an Olympic athlete is not going to be immune from the effects of time and age. Because ultimately we’re all going to age and unfortunately some of us age a lot sooner than we might expect. And so learn to ask the questions. Don’t take it for granted that if you feel good everything is working on the inside.