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Top 5 Pros (and Cons) of Alternative Therapies for Maintaining Heart Health


Pro: Reduced Cost

Alternative treatments like nutritional supplements are less expensive than most prescription drugs.
Alternative treatments like nutritional supplements are less expensive than most prescription drugs.
Nicholas Eveleigh/Photodisc/Getty Images

Pretty much across the board, alternative medical treatments like acupuncture and dietary supplements are less expensive than conventional treatments like surgery and prescription drugs. While the outcome might not be the same in terms of heart health, there are benefits to using lower-cost therapies to supplement conventional medical treatment.

Take, for example, carnitine, a dietary supplement that may (or may not) help control the symptoms of angina. You can buy a 240-count bottle of carnitine for about $20. The prescription angina drug Ranexa costs about $200 for the same number of pills. If you consider how stressed out people get about money problems, it can start to seem almost counterproductive to go into debt to pay for your heart medication -- almost, but not quite. Still, as an additional protective measure, a low cost and proven-safe supplement can be a good backup in case the Ranexa doesn't work as well as you'd hoped. Beyond heart health, it can be good for overall well-being to feel you're doing all you can while not going broke in the process.

But there's a problem. Because carnitine isn't proven to work, your insurance company won't cover it.

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