Heart disease is, and has been, the leading cause of death in males, responsible for about 1 in 4 deaths, causing roughly 350,000 deaths in the United States in 2017. A recent review of eight randomized controlled trials showed that stents do not prevent heart attacks, reduce the need for bypass surgery, or prolong life in stable heart disease. The Interheart Study, involving 52 countries, showed that nine factors accounted for over 90% of the attributable risk for acute heart attacks. Those factors are lipids, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, diet, physical activity, alcohol, smoking, and psychosocial factors. All factors deserve discussion, but I would like to point to another study that showed low cardiorespiratory fitness as the number one cause of preventable deaths from all causes in men (and women!). All of these factors are best addressed long term through Lifestyle Medicine.
Lifestyle Medicine is an evidence-based approach to prevent, treat, and often reverse the vast majority of chronic disease. In fact, for reversal of disease, lifestyle has been found to be the best and only option. Both Dr. Ornish and Dr. Esselstyn have shown that a lifestyle medicine program can reverse the progression of severe cardiac disease, without drugs or surgery. One result showed a 91% reduction in angina frequency within a few weeks! Lifestyle modifications far exceed the power of other medical interventions to optimize long-term cardiac risk. The Framingham Heart study showed men with optimal risk factors at age 50 added an average of 11 years of functional life!
I have often heard knowing is half the battle, it is not. Knowledge is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to lifestyle changes. To change a life, we must change our daily habits with action. Lifestyle medicine at SMCS strives to provide patients and healthcare workers with the tools and options necessary to optimize our chances to lead a longer, healthier, and more functional life. Thomas Edison is credited with this saying, “The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” We have a passionate team of doctors, nurses, educators, coaches, trainers and community members that are striving to make this future a reality in healthcare.