Dr. Cris Enriquez is a member of the American College of Cardiology with training from Baylor University Medical Center in Texas and Boston University-affiliated Carney Hospital in Boston. He also trained in pulmonology at Yale University.
Why I no longer prescribe maintenance drugs and bypass surgery
I will always remember the Monday morning that changed the course of my life. It was 8 a.m., and I was walking from the parking lot to my office in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where I had a thriving practice as a cardiologist. I felt pain in my chest and had to stop.
I was also short of breath. I knew I was on the verge of a heart attack, but was in denial.
I decided to keep walking to my office, where nurses could attend to me. I was already feeling better when I got to my desk, but as a precaution, I called a cardiologist friend who wanted me to take some tests.
One of the tests indicated I had a blockage of an artery on the right side of my heart. He urged me to have coronary angiography to confirm the damage.
I argued against such a procedure, citing that a blockage in my right coronary artery would not kill me. But before I was done, I experienced another chest pain.
The angiogram showed that I had three arteries clogged. I underwent a heart bypass the next day—and that’s when my problems began.
My recovery was long and hard. I had to lie flat on my back for weeks, and every cough was terribly painful. I did not want to go through this ever again.
But I knew the statistics; it was highly likely I would need a second bypass if I didn’t change habits like eating fried Spam and egg over rice, washed down with cold Coke.
I weighed my options and always came back to the same conclusion: Western medicine—in which I had trained long and hard—couldn’t really heal me. It had nothing to offer me except another bypass.
As soon as I got well enough, I looked for alternative treatments, even those that had not been accepted into the mainstream. I trained in chelation or intravenous therapy in Palm Springs.
Chelation was originally used to treat lead poisoning, but has been an alternative cure for heart disease since the 1950s.
It made a lot of sense to me that the process for removing toxic materials from the body could also reverse or prevent degenerative diseases. Inflammation, after all, is what heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and impotence have in common.
By infusing vitamins, minerals and a synthetic amino acid called EDTA into the body, circulation is restored and arteries made more pliable.
In the case of coronary artery disease, chelation would remove plaque from the arteries and make the blood wall more elastic. Otherwise, untreated cholesterol and calcium would end up clogging the vessels and depriving the tissues of nutrients.
When clogging happens in the heart, it’s called a heart attack. If it happens in the brain, it’s a stroke; in the kidneys, that’s high blood pressure and/or renal failure.
I was assured that chelation could be utilized along with blood thinners, vasodilators, beta blockers and other treatments for cardiovascular disease. I did the therapy myself in 1996, and have not taken heart medication since.
Instead of maintenance drugs, I have undergone chelation perhaps 500 times by now.
I am now 75 and still feel energetic, and have moved to the Philippines my practice in longevity and lifestyle medicine—which I supplement with my formal training as a cardiologist.
It’s not that I’m against medication. When necessary, as in the case of infection, I prescribe them to my patients. What I don’t recommend are to take maintenance drugs for life and to undergo an angioplasty or bypass surgery, given the availability of safer and less invasive treatments that work.
In fact, I am no longer alarmed by a blood pressure reading of 180/120 from a female patient. An intravenous formulation we call Rapha’s cocktail of vitamin B complex, vitamin C and minerals can restore that patient’s blood pressure to normal within hours.
In 2013, my anecdotal findings on chelation were corroborated by a study from a prestigious medical journal. Heart attack patients older than 50 were subjected to 40 chelation infusions and registered 18 percent less cardiovascular events in five years of follow-up as against those given a placebo.
Every other cardiologist would have said that the study would be negative. “But it wasn’t, and that’s the one thing we should be focusing on,” to quote Dr. Gervasio Lamas, a Columbia University cardiologist.
Most of the biochemical processes of the body are regulated by hormones. An imbalance in these hormones—very high estrogen and low progesterone levels, for example— could predispose one to breast and cervical cancer.
A decline in thyroid levels could lead to obesity, heart disease and loss of energy among, other symptoms.
Lower levels of DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) may also trigger chronic inflammation, immune dysfunction and rheumatoid arthritis.
When a patient visits me for the first time, I take his or her medical history, then conduct a blood exam to test for hormonal levels.
The test results confirm the hormones that need to be replaced. Replace those hormones—usually through pills and creams specially compounded for the patient’s condition—and the patient gets his or her life back prior to andropause or menopause.
I am also a firm believer in the importance of one’s outlook in life, nutrition, rest and sleeping habits.
I no longer eat fried food. Frying means oxidizing the oil or fat. Take it in and you predispose yourself to inflammation.
The lifestyle habits of my patients determine in a significant way how healthy they will be. Chelation and bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) are merely ways to prod them to healthy behavior and practices. BHRT will help a post-menopausal woman regain her sleeping pattern and get the rest she needs. —CONTRIBUTED