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Major Breakthrough

Article 1. Major Break Through

According to the scientists today the most important lifestyle health habits relating to premature death are:  Don’t smoke, Don’t drink alcohol, Exercise daily, Don’t Get Overweight, Use More Fruits and Vegetables and Consume Less Meat.  Other major risk factors are High Blood Pressure, Elevated Serum Cholesterol, and Diabetes.  The five behavioral lifestyle factors help to prevent elevated blood pressure and serum cholesterol.
“What remains first among strategies for primary stroke prevention is modification of lifestyle factors. . . (They) are associated with about an 80% lower risk of first stroke. . .There’s virtually nothing that we can do with medicine or interventions of any kind that’s going to have that kind of impact.” New Guidelines on Primary Stroke Prevention from AHA/ASA Dec. 7, 2010“We know that 80% of all myocardial infarctions could be prevented with simple lifestyle measures.”  “The highlight of the new document remains prevention.”  New European Society of Cardiology Empasizes Primary Prevention.  May 3, 2012, Dublin, Ireland.  The risk of diabetes was lowered 88% by these same health behaviors.  Circulation 2010;121:586-613The 2020 goal will emphasize PRIMORDIAL prevention.  This means treating the whole population in a way to prevent whole societies from experiencing epidemics of risk factors.  This means doing something with children because disease begins early in life.  Circulation Ibid.
How do the health experts know that it is possible to prevent 80% of the heart attacks and strokes?  When the scientists have studied many thousands of people over long periods of time they observed those who lived the good lifestyle did not have heart attacks or strokes that the others who were not living this lifestyle were getting.  European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation 2006;13:562-70.  See also Arch Intern Med 2005;165:854-7 and Circulation 2010;121:586-613.  A study was done of 42,847 health professionals age 40-75 who were followed for 16 years and those following all five of the health behavior factors had an 87% reduction in heart attacks.  Circulation 2006;114:160-7.  But the major problem was that only 3% of large population groups were living this good “heart healthy” type of lifestyle.  Arch Intern Med 2006;166:1403-9.  It is estimated in the U.S. only 5% of the population lives like this but the 2020 year goal is that 20% of the population  will be “heart healthy” living in a manner that avoids all these behavioral risk factors.  Circulation 2010 Ibid.
SMOKING – DON’T EVER START TO SMOKE!  Tobacco is a slow most malignant poison.
By 2020 tobacco will be the single greatest cause of death and disability worldwide, causing 10 million deaths per year.  W.H.O. Jan. 2004.  1 of 5 13-15 year-olds worldwide are now smoking. When asked if they thought they would be smoking 5 years from now most said no, yet 5 years later 90% were still smoking.  Those starting to smoke in their teens and continue through mid-life cut off 24 years of their life.  Richard Peto, Lancet, 1992.  Smoking is the cause of 50% of avoidable deaths in smokers.  European Heart Journal 2012;33:1635-1701.
The World Health Organization and the National Academy of Sciences do not recommend the use of alcohol.  Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Disease p. 111, 1990; NAS Diet and Nutr p. 16, 1989.  The Report of Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans states: “Make clear that alcohol has no net benefits to health.”  Nutrition Today, July-August p. 45, 1990. There is little justification to recommend alcohol as a cardioprotective strategy.”  Circulation 2001;103:402-5.  The data do not justify nondrinkers to drink.  JAMA 2001;265:2004-5.  “No patient should be advised to start drinking or to increase alcohol consumption.”  Lancet1999;353:1815-16.
Alcohol is a poison that has a detrimental effect on virtually every organ of the body.  Drinking knocks out brain cells.  Social drinkers have a 21% loss in Purkinje cells in the cerebellumNeurosc Lett 2003;335:179-82The brain shrinks with use of alcoholNutrition for Health Care 1996: p. 208, 228.  See Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research June, 2005.  Shrinkage or retraction of the dendrites occur.  “The most important structural change is nerve cell loss.  Some nerve cells cannot be replaced.  Those in the frontal cortex, cerebellum, and several regions deep in the brain.”  Clive Harper.  Alcohol is second only to tobacco as a proven cause of cancer.  About ½ of deaths from car accidents are alcohol-related.  A study in Japan states 75% are alcohol related.  Traffic Injury Prevention 2006;7:325-7.  Aviation regulators prohibit use of alcohol by pilots for 24 hours prior to flight.  FAA.
The more we exercise, the better will be the circulation of the blood.  More people die for want of exercise than from over fatigue.  When the weather will permit, all who can possibly do so ought to walk in the open air every day, summer and winter. . . .A walk . . . would be more beneficial to the health than all the medicine the doctors may prescribe.  
300,000 die yearly in the U.S. early because of lack of exercise.  U.S. Surgeon General Report.  The World Health Organization reports 2 million die every year from inactivity and inactivity is likely one of the ten leading causes of death.  Apr. 4, 2004.  Every hour you exercise adds 2 hours to your life.  Harvard Alumni Study.  People who walked <1 mi. vs. >2 mi./day have about twice the chance of dying.  N Engl J Med 1998;338:94-9.  Smokers who exercise moderately have a lower risk of heart attack vs. inactive non-smokers.  Greater NY Health Insurance Plan Study.  If you are physically fit but smoke, have high B.P. and high blood cholesterol you have less chance of dying than people who don’t have any of these problems but are not physically fit.  JAMA 1996;276:205-10.  Exercising 150 min. a week makes you physically fit.  S. Blair JAMA 2004;292:1232-4.   A lean person who is unfit has twice the risk of dying as a lean man who is physically fit.  Am J Clin Nutr 1999;69:373-80.  Exercise lowers the risk of heart attack, diabetes, hypertension, overweight, cancer and osteoporosis.

by Dr. John Scharffenberg, MD.


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