Bryant Lusk writes with the detail of a genuine storyteller, not just a medical professional transcribing information to an uninitiated audience. In his new book, succinctly titled Heart Disease & Hypertension: Vitamin Therapy for a Healthy Heart, Lusk is able to mix crucial medical fact with highly evocative and richly detailed visual and metaphorical imagery. It’s a mixture that would be dubious under many nonfiction authors’ penmanships. But Lusk is able to pull the difficult feat off, making the read informationally packed from top to bottom – but wholly enjoyable in unexpected and much welcome ways. “Inside the human body is a vast network of flexible pipes called blood vessels.
These vessels deliver life-giving blood to and from virtually every part of your body. Blood vessels, in conjunction with your heart, form the body’s cardiovascular system. Your heart sets the pace to maintain the proper flow,” he writes as an example of this. “Blood carries oxygen, nutrients, protein, hormones, and disease-killing antibodies to various organs and tissues to keep you healthy, alert, and strong. Blood also carries waste products, including carbon dioxide, away from your body’s cells for disposal. The heart is a specialized muscle that rapidly contracts and relaxes to provide tissue and cells the material and fuel they need to stay alive and to function properly.” This writing style makes highlighting of some of the most obvious and rudimentary facts about heart health exciting, intriguing even within a distinct, literary context. I’m not entirely sure how Lusk is able to pull this off so efficiently.
There’s a genuine feeling he has enthusiasm for the content he writes about, not just good presentational value. This is reflected in passages like the following: “The human body is an extremely complex biological machine. Nutrients are like the fuel-air-spark mixture in your car’s engine whereby too much or too little of any one ingredient will make your engine run poorly, create more toxins, produce less energy, and shorten its life. Cells require the right amount of oxygen, fluids, vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients to operate at their peak. Overwhelming them with supplements may give you a short-term boost, but unfortunately, it may also diminish other vital functions and even shorten your life.”
Lusk also writes in this vein under the particularly sobering chapter headlining Cardiac Arrest. “Your heart has an electrical system that keeps it beating in a regular rhythm,” he states. “Unlike a heart attack, cardiac arrest can occur suddenly as the heart unexpectedly stops beating. It is triggered by an electrical malfunction in the heart, which causes an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). A cardiac arrest is more of an electrical problem.
Electrical signals in your heart control the timing and organization of your heartbeats. When these electrical signals stop working properly, the heart’s chambers beat in a chaotic and uncoordinated manner, or the heart may suddenly stop beating altogether. An electrical shock can cause cardiac arrest. More than 356,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) occur every year in the US alone. Of this number, 90 percent turn out to be fatal.”