Tag Archives: lifestyle

Reverse Heart Disease? That’s not all, folks!

There was a very interesting story today from NBC News discussing a report that was published in Lancet Oncology, where the research team studied how lifestyle changes in diet, exercise and stress reduction resulted in people with longer telomeres.

Telomeres you say?  It is said Telomerethey are like the tips on the ends of your shoelaces, only they’re on the tips of our chromosomes that carry DNA.  Telomere length shortens with age, affecting our health and lifespan.  But the good news is, recent studies indicate we can slow the shortening of our telomeres by making healthy changes in the way we eat and live.

In fact, the research just recently reported in Lancet Oncology indicates these lifestyle changes can actually lengthen our telomeres!  Dr. Dean Ornish, who is well known for his research about the benefits of a low-fat, vegetarian diet, was one of the people who headed up the study,  and I love his quote at the end of the article:

“People often think that it has to be a new drug or a new laser, something really high-tech and expensive to be powerful. What we are finding is the simple choices that we make every day are more powerful.”

You can read more about telomeres at the National Institute of Health:  Telomeres, lifestyle, cancer and aging.

Q: Why is it so important for Bill to get off the medications? My husband’s doctor says the medications are helping him.

A:  Thank goodness for modern medicine and the drugs that have been developed to help us when we need it!  Unfortunately they often come with side-effects.  For example, Bill was prescribed Metoprolol, a beta-blocker, immediately after his heart attack.  It slows the heart rate, protecting it and helping it heal, and is also prescribed to reduce blood pressure.  But for Bill it also caused bad dreams and difficulty sleeping.  Fortunately the Fix It! diet plan, along with weight loss and exercise has caused Bill’s blood pressure to drop significantly and stabilize, so his doctor had him stop taking that medication, and the sleeping issues have disappeared.

Unquestionably it is important to work closely and together with your doctor to monitor your blood pressure and other blood markers for making decisions about modifying your medications, and that’s what Bill is doing.  It is  also important to Bill and his doctor to try to “treat” his hypertension and heart disease with lifestyle changes rather than medication and so far it’s working!