Am I Really as Healthy as I Look (and Think)?
Written by: Dave Johnson, MD, FACC
Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of premature death in the United States despite the escalating expenditures used to develop pharmaceuticals and medical procedures. Yes, these latter two investments do prolong survival after you’ve been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease but do nothing to help prevent the disease from developing.
- Never smoking
- Maintain a body mass index of 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2
- Getting more than 30 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity
- Minimizing alcohol intake
- Eating a plant-rich diet
The researchers at Harvard University have defined a high quality diet as having high intakes of vegetables, fruit, nuts, whole grains, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and low intakes of red and processed meats, sugar sweetened beverages, trans fat, and sodium.
Did you know that atherosclerosis, or arterial plaque, takes decades to develop? Conventional medical practices focus on severe disease and the consequences as they develop yet it is well known that this disease process can be completely prevented.
Where are you on this spectrum?
Atherosclerosis formation. Healthy artery and unhealthy arteries showing step by step how plaque is developing.
The conventional medical approach focuses on Steps 4 and 5 (above image) when symptoms begin to develop, yet it takes decades to progress through the stages. The process always begins with Step 2 (above image). Endothelial dysfunction is triggered by unhealthy lifestyle patterns. This is why maintaining the 5 healthy lifestyle choices can add over a decade to your life span. Plant-based foods, physical activity, avoiding tobacco and managing stress are the most effective ways to maintain a healthy endothelium. Protecting your endothelium can avoid and potentially reverse vascular disease as it arises from endothelial dysfunction. Vascular disease is the precursor to high blood pressure, heart attacks, heart failure, stroke, dementia and many other chronic conditions.
Click here to learn more about how to assess the health of your blood vessels.
Call 616.264.6556 to schedule a 15-minute complimentary meet-and-greet with Integrative Cardiologist , Dave Johnson, MD to learn how to restore and protect your health and well-being.