Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) – Striving for a complex hard-to-vary story
It’s interesting that we think we know exactly how CVD forms in the human body, yet in reality we are barely scratching the surface. Imagine trying to place a ball in the pocket on a full sized pool table, this is not easy for most of us but possible. Call that ball cholesterol. Now add in another ball and call it vitamin K. And try to put both balls in their pockets on the pool table. Maybe this is possible by an expert who plays pool, or blind luck, but nearly impossible otherwise. Then add in another ball called vitamin D. And imagine that balls cholesterol, vitamin K, and vitamin D all must go in their respective holes. This is virtually impossible, even for an expert. Now, let’s take it one step further. Make this pool table three-dimensional, as is the human body, and insert multiple other balls that resemble molecules that can block, deflect, go fast or slow, or interfere with the trajectory of our three original balls cholesterol, vitamin K, and vitamin D. One can begin to see the real chaos that is our human body.
Knowledge is limitless, and it should be obvious that contemplating something so complex, such as CVD, one has to move away from trying to fit 20,000 factors in a three-dimensional board known as the biggest intellectual puzzle known to man.
Cardiovascular disease – Searching for a good explanation
My belief is that we know as much about the human body as we do about the universe. I’m sure that, throughout the hundred-thousand-odd years of our species’ existence, and perhaps before, our ancestors wondered how the heart or any other bodily functions work for that matter. Wondering how to explain the things unseen. Back then explaining something new came about with great risk. Take for example the great medical physician of 129 AD, Galen. Galen contributed much to modern medicine, detailing subjects such as the four bodily fluids (blood, bile, and phlegm), the circulatory system, and much more. Roman law prohibited anatomical dissection of human cadavers during those times. Thus many of the conclusions that Galen came to regarding anatomy and physiology were grossly incorrect by today’s standards. But it must be appreciated that Galen’s teachings persisted into the 19th century. This is significant if we are striving for accurate explanations of how our bodies truly work. And it seems utterly amazing that it took over 1500 years before scientists could show that Galen was wrong and we arrived at a solid explanation for the understanding of human anatomy that we have today.
The search for solid explanations is truly the origin of all progress. It’s the basic regulating principle of our advancement otherwise known as the Enlightenment. When it comes to cardiovascular disease (CVD), it is not to incorrect to say that we are perhaps in the Enlightenment period, or at least not far from it. As is so common in science, many false approaches blight progress, and Galen is just one example. One explanation may be well known, such as the cholesterol theory as it relates to heart disease. But more importantly, it is an ““explanation-less” theory, as we shall see. The relationship of CVD to the cholesterol hypothesis is taken on faith. Whenever you’re told that some existing statistical trend will continue, but you aren’t given a hard-to-vary account of what causes that trend, you’re actually being told to believe it on blind faith.