Healing Heart, Body & Soul: A Holistic Approach to Heart Disease
When many people start out on their quest to vanquish heart disease, they set out in full force to overhaul their diet and exercise routines.
However, there are other lifestyle factors contributing to conditions of the heart that often are overlooked.
“There have been many studies done that show how stress levels and emotions strongly affect physical health,” says Sarah Lavallee, a stress management specialist with the Ornish Lifestyle Management Program at Straub Medical Center.
In a study conducted at Duke University, 50 percent of patients with heart disease who reported feeling isolated and said had no one with whom they could confide died within five years, versus only 17 percent of the patients who were married or had a support person.
In another study, 1,623 heart patients were tracked over the course of five-and-a-half years. They were all asked the question, “What happened two hours before your heart attack?” They answered, “I was angry.”
“Studies have shown anger increases the risk of heart attack by 230 percent,” Lavallee says. “By learning to meditate and communicate their feelings, people will create healthy relationships with others and will be less likely to get angry.”
According to Lavallee, the Ornish Reversal Program takes a holistic approach when it comes to the fight against heart disease, tackling the areas of nutrition, fitness, stress management, and love and support in order to heal the heart, body and soul.
“Beginning in 1977, Dr. Dean Ornish conducted studies that have proven that patients can reverse the progression of even severe coronary heart disease by following a comprehensive, integrated lifestyle program of nutrition, fitness, stress management and psychosocial support,” Lavallee explains.
“By working on all four areas, participants in the program are not only able to lower their blood pressures, lose weight, decrease their cholesterol levels, and increase their sense of well-being during the nine weeks of classes, but almost 90 percent of participants also continue a healthier lifestyle for many years after.”
The first class of the Straub Ornish program recently completed its nine-week course, to what Lavallee describes as “amazing results.”
“They increased their exercise tolerance by 50 percent, and the average weight loss was 12 pounds in just over two months,” she reports. “Several participants were able to take lower doses or even get off their blood pressure, cholesterol or diabetes medications because of how much better their health is!”
Discuss your situation with your primary care physician to determine whether you may be eligible to be part of the next cohort, or for more information, click here or call 808-522-4114.
Published on: March 15, 2016