12 things in your home that Lead to Heart Disease

Should You Take Prescription Medications after a Stroke?

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Hands holding paper brain and heart

In the rapidly evolving realm of healthcare, stroke survivors often find themselves at a crossroads. Traditional medicine usually recommends surgery or stenting for those grappling with symptomatic carotid disease. Yet, is this the only route to recovery and prevention? The team at Natural Heart Doctor believes there’s another way.

As concerns mount over the side effects of various medications – including the unsettling irony of some drugs heightening the risk of subsequent strokes – the urgency for safer, more effective alternatives becomes clear. The ‘Eat Well, Live Well, Think Well‘ philosophy emerges as a holistic beacon, offering a more natural approach against the backdrop of a heavily pharmaceutical landscape. Thankfully, nature provides many solutions for post-stroke recovery, all while avoiding the risky side effects of drugs.

Navigating the Medicinal Landscape Post-Stroke

When the dust settles after a stroke, the roadmap to recovery often meanders through a territory densely populated with pill bottles. To the unaware consumer, these aren’t arbitrary choices. They are told that they are necessary to counter the very triggers of strokes. But to fully grasp this terrain, let’s delve into the triad of usual suspects and their pharmaceutical allies.

Hypertension: Imagine the relentless force of a surging river against fragile banks. That’s the heart’s predicament with high blood pressure. The overexertion taxes the arterial walls, paving the way for a potential cerebral catastrophe. Medications commonly prescribed for high blood pressure include:

  • ACE inhibitors, the likes of Lisinopril.
  • Beta-blockers, such as Atenolol.
  • Diuretics, with Hydrochlorothiazide being a common name.

High Cholesterol: Here’s where the plot thickens, quite literally. Cholesterol, that waxy substance, sets up camp on arterial walls, becoming the very barrier that blocks life-giving blood to the brain. Common drugs used to treat high cholesterol include:

  • Statins, with prominent members such as Atorvastatin.
  • Bile acid sequestrants, with Cholestyramine leading the charge.
  • Cholesterol absorption inhibitors, featuring agents like Ezetimibe.

Atrial Fibrillation (Afib): It’s the heart’s erratic dance. When the rhythm’s off, blood plays a dangerous game of ‘pool and clot.’ If one of these clots embarks on a journey to the brain, the story takes a dark turn. To avoid blood clots associated with AFib, physicians often prescribe:

  • Warfarin, the old guard, not commonly used
  • Aspirin (no role in current medicine)
  • Direct-acting oral anticoagulants, the current standard like Pradaxa, Eliquis, and Xarelto

The Underreported Dangers of Prescription Drugs Post-Stroke

Now, as any discerning reader would note, while these drugs are commonly prescribed, they come with footnotes – the side effects. Many medications used to treat strokes can actually cause them.

There exist two primary types of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes arise from a blood clot obstructing oxygen flow to the brain. On the other hand, hemorrhagic strokes result from bleeding within the brain itself. Thus, the irony is palpable: blood thinners intended to avert ischemic strokes could inadvertently precipitate a hemorrhagic one.

Moreover, while statins are championed for their cholesterol-lowering prowess, a deeper examination unveils several concerning side effects. By inhibiting the HMG CoA reductase enzyme, these drugs don’t merely target cholesterol; they also disrupt the production of crucial compounds like CoQ10. Alarmingly, up to half of statin users experience a drop in CoQ10 levels, a compound instrumental for many bodily functions.

The issues don’t stop there. Over 73% of users report muscle pain, and others face increased risks of diabetes and liver inflammation. Furthermore, prolonged use may lead to a staggering 26-fold increase in neuropathy risks.

Cardiovascular complications arise too, with some evidence linking statins to heart failure. Disturbingly, several studies hint at heightened risks of specific cancers, cognitive disorders, and even mental health disturbances among statin users.

But one overarching concern is the false safety net statins seem to offer. Many users believe these pills safeguard against dietary indiscretions, overlooking that stroke risks remain. A large 2019 study involving nearly 12,000 participants concluded, “Statin therapy in poststroke patients increased the risk of hemorrhagic stroke but effectively reduced ischemic stroke risk.” Moreover, statins had no significant effect on the overall death rate, meaning statins didn’t seem to influence whether patients lived or died.

Should You Ever Take Prescriptions After a Stroke?

For individuals confronting carotid artery disease, a stent within the carotid artery—our brain’s primary blood supplier—might be proposed. Simplified, think of stenting as adding reinforcements to a bridge; it ensures blood flows smoothly.

However, there’s a significant risk post-procedure: blood clots can form inside the stent, potentially leading to strokes or worse. Therefore, if one opts for a stent, adhering to prescribed medications is non-negotiable to counter this threat.

Yet, at Natural Heart Doctor, we often advise a different route. Alternative, holistic methods offer safer and more effective outcomes for the vast majority of patients.

A Better Way: Eat Well, Live Well, Think Well

Eating Right for Recovery

Post-stroke, diet transforms from a mere health consideration to a critical recovery tool. Omega-3s from fish, vitamin B12 from grass-fed beef, antioxidants in leafy greens, and choline in poultry are essential. Conversely, processed foods, vegetable seed oils, gluten, and pesticide-laden foods hinder healing.

Living Well for Body and Soul

Recovery extends beyond diet. Regular exercise, be it walking or water aerobics, accelerates healing. A good sleep cycle, chiropractic care, sun exposure, and minimizing toxins, including ‘electrosmog’ from devices, are equally vital. Furthermore, managing stress through meditation and nature walks lowers inflammation-induced harm.

Thinking Well: The Power of Positivity

The aftermath of a stroke isn’t just physical. Harnessing mental resilience through cognitive exercises, positive affirmations, gratitude journals, and seeking emotional support can hasten recovery. Every choice, be it in diet, lifestyle, or mindset, plays a crucial role in the holistic healing journey post-stroke.

Next Steps

Medications for life? That’s the usual post-stroke script. But delve deeper, and you’ll find this narrative isn’t set in stone. The real culprit? Inflammation. Address its root, and you open doors to alternative solutions.

Here’s an offer: a no-strings-attached, 20-minute chat with our NHD health coaches. Think of it as a preview—a glimpse into a more tailored health strategy that digs beneath the surface.

Our method? Thorough tests. Pinpoint accuracy. And a cache of evidence-backed supplements. Most of which, believe it or not, even outpace conventional medications in efficacy.

So, is NHD the right fit for your post-stroke journey? That’s a story waiting to be written. And it begins with that first, free conversation.


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Dr. Keith Smigiel is a regenerative medicine physician and pain management specialist. He takes an integrative approach to medicine, focusing on customized solutions tailored to individual needs. Using advanced, non-surgical treatments, Dr. Smigiel stimulates your body’s ability to naturally heal itself.

Dr. Smigiel helps people suffering from conditions such as chronic pain and erectile dysfunction, to hair loss and weight gain. Combining treatments such as PRP Therapy, Ozone, Neural Prolotherapy, and IV Infusions with functional rehabilitation, he helps you look and feel better.

He heals the body, instead of just treating the symptoms!

With his professional qualifications as a certified family nurse practitioner, a doctor of chiropractic, and a fellow of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture, Dr. Smigiel offers patients comprehensive care from a broad perspective of conventional and alternative medicine. He also has extensive experience in functional rehabilitation and chronic pain management.

Dr. Smigiel is married to Angela and has two children, Sophia and Larz. When he’s not busy helping patients, he enjoys hiking, mountain biking, motocross, and boating.

About Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

Dr. James Kneller is one of the nation’s leading heart rhythm specialists. Dr. Kneller is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Disease, and Internal Medicine.

As a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society (FHRS) and Certified Cardiac Device Specialist (CCDS), Kneller provides comprehensive patient care, combining best medical practice with invasive procedures using state-of-the-art technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders.

Beyond guideline-directed therapies, Kneller is passionate about optimized personal health. With a deep interest in complimentary alternative medicine (CAM), he strives to reduce the need for pharmaceuticals, invasive procedures, and exposure to harmful radiation. With Natural Heart Doctor, he strives to help each and every client to Live Well, Eat Well, and Think Well to attain their 100-year heart!

About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

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As a Naturopathic Physician, I am trained to treat the whole person and get to the root cause of disease.

I went to Arizona State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a depth in physiology and minor in Spanish. After my undergraduate degree I was working on prerequisite classes towards medical school, which is when I came to learn that my values identified best with the principles of naturopathic medicine. I knew that I wanted to help patients identify the causes of disease and be able to offer treatments which would improve their health rather than simply treating symptoms.

I dedicated the next 4 years to the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona where I attained my Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine. I served as Class President all 4 years, Board of Trustees – Student Trustee, spoke as the Club President for our branch of Toastmasters, and was voted by my peers and attending physicians to earn the Outstanding Leadership Award for the Class of 2020. Throughout medical school I took it upon myself to work alongside MDs, DOs, chiropractors, and functional medicine practitioners in addition to naturopathic physicians.

As a Spanish speaking student, I was able to volunteer with community clinics around Phoenix and provide free healthcare to low-income families. Due to this combined exposure, I came to find my passion in treating cardiometabolic and digestive disorders that are all too common, yet largely preventable. I took the opportunity to learn the broad spectrum of healthcare so I can ensure that I am able to provide my patients with the best options.

About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

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Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

For more than two decades, more than one million people have enjoyed the warmth, compassion, and transformational power of his natural heart health courses and events.

Dr. Wolfson is the founder of Natural Heart Doctor Scottsdale, his heart health practice in Arizona, and Natural Heart Doctor, an online resource center with natural health information. Doctors from across the globe reach out to Dr. Wolfson for training and education in holistic health practices.

He has been named one of America’s Top Functional Medicine Doctors and is a five-time winner of the Natural Choice Awards as a holistic M.D. Dr. Wolfson’s work has been covered by more than 100 media outlets, including NBC, CNN, and the Washington Post. His book “The Paleo Cardiologist: The Natural Way to Heart Health” was an Amazon #1 best-seller.

Dr. Wolfson and his wife Heather have four children and are committed to making the world a better place to live. They provide for those in need (including animals) and support natural health causes through their philanthropic efforts.


Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

IV Therapy

We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.


Stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being with acupuncture at Natural Heart Doctor.

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Health Coaching

Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

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Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.