Well, at the end of my first week as a contributor to the heart-health debate, I can say that the experience has been quite a roller-coaster ride. I have received some positive endorsement but also some very negative, and even angry, responses to sharing published health data, which I was quite surprised at.
I have had my motives and qualifications questioned for simplifying and sharing complex information which is not easy to find or read through, but which I have taken the time to do.
I want to make something very clear from the outset. I do not have any political or economical interest or bias in the information I share. I also do not add my own personal opinion readily (unless clearly stated that it is my opinion).
I do not intend to shock or mislead (although I may be accused of wording a headline in a way that gets a casual viewers attention).
Whilst not medically qualified myself, the information that I share is from incredibly well qualified research directors, trial directors, doctors, cardiologists etc. It is generally then published after peer-review or editorial review and all links to the articles and data are noted on the posts.
With this in mind, when an angry reader of the information accuses me of ignorance...they are actually accusing the medical lead of the trial of ignorance.
When they accuse me of bias, they are accusing the publishing journals and peer panels of bias.
When they accuse me of financial gain, they are factually incorrect, I receive no income from these activities.
As somebody that has suffered a heart attack myself, and been incredibly frustrated by the ignorance and apathy of the medical system in the UK relating to heart disease, I decided that the only way to understand the cause of my heart attack, and try to find ways to prevent another one would be to become a researcher of the subject.
During my journey of discovery I have discovered that there is a growing community of leading health professionals, that have sifted through decades of data and research, and have started to discover that the common understanding related to cardio-vascular disease (CVD) is inaccurate, over-simplistic, and in many cases completely the opposite of the truth.
Some of this is borne of mis-interpreted data, some of politics and financial interests, but the myths around CVD persist because ultimately the organisations that train our physicians and doctors, instruct our media and create government policy are employed and influenced by the industries that support them.
When closer examination of legacy data is made, it is clear that sometimes even very clear conclusions that contradict these vested interests become buried, un-published or intentionally mis-communicated in the conclusions.
I have spent most of the last 2 years being tested privately, because the UK medical community does not offer the tests that I needed to discover the cause of my blocked artery.
I have also discovered the ways I could have avoided the event (in all likelihood) and ways in which I can hope to prevent another heart attack from occurring.
Most of the information that I share, where it relates to dietary guidelines, etc is information that I use in my own lifestyle changes, as I work towards better heart health.
This blog, and the UYHHYH social media outlets will be part of an information sharing exercise. I am also launching a book at the end of the summer this year to outline my personal experience and help those that are either high risk, or have already experienced a heart attack, to learn how to improve their chances of living the fullest and longest life possible. The book is intended to be free of charge when downloaded (although there may be charges for the shipping and production of any hard-copy versions depending on costs).
I hope to cause minimum offence whilst engaged on this information sharing exercise with you, but if some of the data in the posts and infographics seems in contrast with any readers view, I would encourage them to click through the links to find the original source data, and perform their own analysis, rather than fire-off a few barrels of vitriol.
What one believes is their own decision. I am providing my view of published data that is not widely distributed.
I hope it helps to inform, and help those that need it most.