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2 Things You Can Do To Prevent Heart Disease

2 Things You Can Do To Prevent Heart Disease

The Big Picture

Do you ever wish you could step back and see life from the 30,000 feet view? See the very peaks of what is important in a given situation. In particular, see the culmination of the patterns that affect everything else you do for your health and wellness. 

There are 2 areas that stand above the rest. Two mountains to climb that can make all the difference in your vitality.

We used to think that heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure were just inevitable consequences of aging. We have also known or heard about people who have heart attacks with no apparent risk factors at all. There is a new body of knowledge showing that heart disease involves multiple pathways.

There are genetic conditions that give people high cholesterol no matter what they eat, but such conditions are relatively rare (about 1 in 200). This means that most people with atherosclerosis acquire it by nutrition (e.g. what you eat) and lifestyle.

So how important is lifestyle and nutrition in preventing heart disease? 

One study showed that for men and women, nine potentially modifiable factors like diet, exercise, and smoking, accounted for over 90 percent of the proportion of the risk of having a heart attack. Other studies like the Harvard Health Professionals Follow-Up study have confirmed that making healthy lifestyle choices are associated with a 90% reduction in the risk in men and a 92% reduction in women.

When it comes to diabetes, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed 91% of cases could be attributed to bad habits and behaviors. Additionally, the same healthy lifestyle, which includes not smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising, and maintaining optimal body weight may reduce the risk of multiple chronic diseases including stroke by up to 80%! 

The Vitopia View

But why not just take prescription medications and achieve the benefits without lifestyle changes? Studies show that cholesterol lowering statin drugs and blood pressure medications, typically reduce CVD risk by 20% to 30%, instead of the 90% like lifestyle changes. So, even people already on medications may be able to get a further 78% reduction in risk by implementing healthy lifestyle and dietary changes. From the Vitopia viewpoint, this means medications should be used as an adjunct to, and not a replacement for, good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.

Please check out our in-depth articles on preventing and healing chronic diseases utilizing a Functional Medicine approach. We also encourage you to subscribe to our distribution list so you can receive the most current scientific information on preventing and treating chronic disease.

Wishing you good health!

Mike Woodley, R.Ph, FAARM, FMNM

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