What if tonight you tune in to the evening news and learn that one of the major drug companies announced the introduction of a new vaccine that could prevent 90% of all initial heart attacks? Would you want the vaccine? I would. Imagine that you pick up the latest issue of Newsweek and it has an unbelievable cover story – a major pharmaceutical company has developed a cure for more than 60% of all cancers. Would you buy their stock? I would. How about a new treatment to cure at least 90% of all cases of adult-onset diabetes? These sound like distant dreams.
However, a study published in a 2004 issue of Lancet found that 90% of first-time heart attacks likely resulted from preventable lifestyle choices. Nine out of every 10 heart attacks probably never have to occur. Previously, researchers thought that only about half of heart attacks were explained by risk factors such as smoking or cholesterol. However, the study of risk factors for first-time myocardial infarction in 52 countries and over 27,000 subjects says that the cause of almost all heart attacks can be pinpointed to one or more of the following:
- Abnormal cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Abdominal obesity
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Eating too few fruits and vegetables
- Abstaining from alcohol
We don’t need a vaccine to prevent most heart attacks; we can already do it.
What are the Stats?
The American Cancer Society has been telling us for years that most cancers are completely avoidable. They report that 90% of all cancer is environmental. Better than 90% of all cases of lung cancer result from one avoidable lifestyle – smoking. At least one-third of all cancers in the U.S. are related to diet alone. The ACS reports that 90,000 cancer deaths could be avoided every year in the U.S. if adults did one thing – maintain a healthy level of body fat.
The fact is that an estimated 300,000 needless deaths, from all causes, occur in the U.S. annually as a result of obesity. It would be great to cure most of the cancers that we see, but it is far more exciting knowing that we don’t have to suffer them in the first place because they can be prevented. The same is true for adult-onset diabetes, now appropriately called a lifestyle disease.
We don’t need drug companies to invent treatments for diseases that we already possess the ability to prevent. The opportunity exists within each one of us to make meaningful and lasting changes which have the potential to steer us clear of the pathological diseases traditionally thought to be a natural part of aging.
Instead of treating the diseases of aging, such as: heart attacks, cancer, strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, chronic inflammation, immune system decline, why not prevent or treat the causes? To be most effective, all pathways of aging must be addressed. We can’t, for example, take a handful of antioxidants and be certain we are providing adequate protection from oxidative stress, when we maybe just consumed a huge meal which will generate far more free radicals than we could mop up with a few antioxidants. On the other hand, maybe we haven’t effectively dealt with the stress in our life, which is also a source of free radicals. There is a connectedness to all things in our life, especially when it comes to health.
Traditional medicine focuses on treating the effects of the aging process, while preventive-aging medicine concentrates on treating the causes of aging. Increasing lifespan requires both a reduction of premature deaths and management of the biological processes of aging.
Lifestyle and Living Younger
Your Living Younger program rejects the current dismal and disenchanted view of aging. The darkness of diminished functioning is far more related to a lifetime of unenlightened choices than it is to the ticking of an unrelenting clock. And it is not content to rely only on downstream approaches that expensively examine symptoms and appearances, while leaving the upstream causes undiscovered and unaddressed.
The Living Younger program is based on the belief that rejuvenation is possible and healthful revitalization is waiting. It is founded, too, on the belief that we can still free our ideal self from the rock of our less-than-ideal habits. But now is the moment to act, for while we cannot go back and make a new start, we can start today to make a new ending. Together we will usher in a new age of enlightenment that will bring about the enlightenment of aging.
(©Gregory W. Petersburg, D.O. All rights reserved. Living Younger, pp. 39-40.)
For extensive information on how to live an Optimal Lifestyle, please ask Dr. Zakany for a copy of Living Younger by Dr. Gregory Petersburg and he will be glad to share the book with you.
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