|CHOICES IN CARDIOLOGY|
In 2006, according to data provided by the American Heart Association, 1.3 million coronary angioplasty procedures were performed at an average cost of $48,399 each, or more than $60 billion. 448,000 coronary bypass operations were performed at a cost of $99,743 each, or more than $44 billion. With just these two procedures Americans spent more than $100 billion.
A randomized controlled trial published in April 2007 in The New England Journal of Medicine found that angioplasties and stents do not prolong life or even prevent heart attacks in stable patients (i.e., 95% of those who receive them). Coronary bypass surgery prolongs life in less than 3% of patients who receive it. So, Medicare and other insurers and individuals pay billions for surgical procedures like angioplasty and bypass surgery that are expensive, invasive, usually dangerous, and largely ineffective. Hardly any payments are made for integrative medicine approaches that have been proven to reverse and prevent most chronic diseases that account for at least 75% of health-care costs. The INTERHEART study, which was published in the September 2004 issue of The Lancet, followed 30,000 men and women on six continents and found that changing lifestyle could prevent at least 90% of all heart disease.
Read those paragraphs over again. Cardiovascular disease accounts for more premature deaths and costs Americans more than any other illness. It is almost completely preventable simply by changing diet and lifestyle. And these same lifestyle changes that can prevent or even reverse heart disease also help prevent or reverse many other chronic diseases as well.
Joy, pleasure and freedom are sustainable, deprivation and austerity are not. When you eat a healthier diet, quit smoking, exercise, meditate and have more love in your life, then your brain receives more blood and oxygen, so you think more clearly, have more energy, need less sleep. Your brain may grow so many new neurons that it could get measurably bigger in only a few months. Your face gets more blood flow, so your skin glows more and wrinkles less. Your heart gets more blood flow, so you have more stamina and can even begin to reverse heart disease. Your sexual organs receive more blood flow, so you may become more potent -- similar to the way that circulation-increasing drugs like Viagra work. For many people, these are choices worth making -- not just to live longer, but also to live better.
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