Childhood Removal of Appendix or Tonsils is Linked to Increased Risk of Early Heart Attack

June 15, 2011 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 Childhood Removal of Appendix or Tonsils is Linked to Increased Risk of Early Heart Attack
I have long made the point that every person should do everything in their power to keep every body organ whenever possible. Sadly, a physician who does not understand how to help a struggling organ get better--especially when the removal of that organ is readily covered by insurance--often results in its unnecessary removal. Such is the case with many of the “routine” operations for the removal of tonsils, gall bladders, and parts of the female reproductive system (you’ll seldom see a male doctor removing testicles). Swedish researchers have shown for the first time that the removal of tonsils1 is associated with a 44% increased risk for an early heart attack.

Only a socialist medical system makes such a study possible. It looked at all Swedish citizens below age 20 who had an appendectomy and tonsillectomy, and then followed them for 23.5 years on average to see who had a heart attack. Compared to controls, the increased risk based on appendectomy was 33% and tonsillectomy was 44%. The total number of individuals with a heart attack was relatively small compared to the total number of surgeries – but it was a statistically significant finding. If you want to wait another 20 years, I’m sure these researchers will show a more dramatic number of cardiovascular problems once this population actually reaches the age when heart attacks are more likely.

I am writing about this study because it confirms a clinical observation I have made for many years. Your tonsils are part of your lymphatic system and a crucial front line of your defenses. Removing them shunts their duties to the lymphatics surrounding your digestive tract. Based on my observations and questioning of many people over the years, It is typical that those who have had their tonsils out have more issues with digestive inflammation and internal lymphatic congestion (stiff shoulders, excess mucous, food sensitivities, etc.). This is a factor that clearly helps tilt immune function in the inflammatory direction. This new study indicates that such inflammation is likely to increase cardiovascular risk. Certainly, there are other inflammatory factors and risk factors that contribute to a heart attack – this just happens to be one more that can be added to the list.

The take home message is that if you or one of your children has had their tonsils or appendix removed then you have an extra duty to ensure optimal digestive and lymphatic health. There is less margin for error in a poor diet or a high stress lifestyle. This is a weak spot in immunologic regulation. Nutrients that support immune system and lymphatic health, including multiple aspects of detoxification, may be a needed approach to help compensate. If your lymph, detox, and immune systems are working well there is little to be concerned about.

If you would like to understand your lymph system in more depth, including steps you can take to help improve its function, please refere to my earlier article on this topic, A Healthy Lymph System is Vital for Flu Fighting Immunity.

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ Appendectomy and Tonsillectomy Linked to Heart Attack Risk  European Heart Journal.  Imre Janszky, Kenneth J. Mukamal, Christina Dalman, Niklas Hammar, Staffan Ahnve.

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