Introduction 
This book has a simple objective: to save your life

Health experts report that about 70% of deaths from heart attacks can be prevented with lifestyle changes. But just prolonging life isn't enough. The quality of those added years is equally as important. To live life to the fullest, a person has to feel good, be free from pains and physical limitations and look forward eagerly to tomorrow. But we have to know how to get there. 

Every 25 seconds, someone in America has a heart attack. And every 45 seconds one of those persons dies of heart disease, the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. People are dying from a lifetime of making poor choices based on not knowing what was good or bad for their body. 

According to the U. S. Center for Disease Control, four major factors affect your health (in these proportions): health factors graph

16% Heredity - the genetic pattern you cannot change 
10% Healthcare - how you take advantage of it and the quality you can afford
21% Environment - the conditions where you live and work
53% Lifestyle - your eating and exercise patterns, how you deal with stress

The one thing we have the ability to control by ourselves, our lifestyle, has more to do with our health than the other three factors combined. 

But this website is not about dying, it's about living. About getting back control of your health, feeling your best, having more energy, and reversing heart disease and lowering the risk of a heart attack by reducing your cholesterol level, lowering your blood pressure, shedding unwanted weight and getting more fit. This means learning better choices about what goes into the body, how it is used and abused, and how factors outside the body affect the inside of it. This knowledge is not new, nor is it a well-kept secret. It is amazingly close to common sense (which doesn't seem to be as common as it used to be). 

Here's what Dr. Neal Pinckney, Healing Heart Foundation's founder, said: 

"At first, I thought I learned about heart disease the hard way. When my physician told me I had triple coronary artery disease, fear and anxiety overwhelmed me. I thought I had been given a death sentence. Now I realize that my education came the easy way compared to the hundreds of thousands who have had angioplasty or open-heart surgery. It came painlessly, compared to those who suffer heart attacks, strokes or frantic emergency trips to the hospital. 

I learned many things following my diagnosis of severe triple-vessel coronary artery disease. Much of it conflicted with what I had read in the popular press and what I had been told by some medical advisors. I learned that we have much more ability to control our own present and future health than we had ever been led to believe. I learned better ways how we can take care of our body, properly maintaining it, protecting it from damaging elements, giving it the right fuel and avoiding abusing it. Some of us take much better care of our car than we do our body. 

The information I sought is available, but it's not always easy to find. Having a private practice and teaching at a university for nearly 30 years gave me the tools to find the information I needed and to analyze it. Being retired allowed me the time to put it all together, and being told I had a limited time to live, gave me the incentive to get it done as soon as I could." 

What is known about heart disease is the cumulative work of countless dedicated physicians, research scientists and a host of other professions. The information presented here is from the research and clinical experience of many experts, pioneers of a view that we can be responsible for our own health. The writings of Dean Ornish, M.D. have earned international attention and have demonstrated that, contrary to what had been believed, heart disease is reversable. The nutritional counsel of John McDougall, M.D. has helped thousands reverse serious illnesses and stop taking powerful drugs. When they first published their advice about alternate ways of reversing heart disease and preventing many health problems, they went against the grain of the mainstream of medical thinking. Since they first paved the way, America has become more health and nutrition conscious and numerous studies have substantiated their basic ideas. Still, many medical practitioners and dieticians appear to be unaware of their findings. Worse, some choose to ignore or deny these non-surgical ways of reversing heart disease, instead of accepting the trend that is likely to become a future direction for all medicine, preferring to stay with what they believed in the past. 

This book may offer information that is different from what your doctor has told you. There are many reasons for this, and it does not necessarily mean that your doctor is wrong. Every person has a unique medical and physical situation. There may be reasons, some you are not aware of, that shape the advice your physician gives you. You should be able to ask your doctor questions, getting explanations for any course of treatment and medications prescribed. If you don't get answers that make sense to you, you cannot take control over your own body and life. You either need to get understandable answers from your doctor or find one who will give them to you. When you have a physician who communicates (that means someone who listens to you as well as explains things), follow the advice you're given. Do not alter medications or dosages without first discussing it with your doctor. Talk over any major lifestyle changes you plan to make, including the ones recommended here. Know what your cholesterol and triglyceride levels are. Ask for the results of important tests you've taken and write the numbers down to keep in a permanent record. Take responsibility for knowing more about your body and the condition it's in. 

This information is for you -- to help you prevent heart attacks and surgery and to reduce your dependence on powerful medicines. To put you back in control and to make the quality of your life as good as it can be. Amazingly, you can do this for less money on food, medications and treatment than you may be spending now. 

Speaking of food, here's a little-known secret about food labels:

Labels' claims can be very misleading. Some foods often claim they are a certain percent fat-free, but that is usually the percentage of fat in the total weight of the product. To show how misleading that can be, let's take this example. Would you be willing to swallow two tablespoons of lard right now? Most people wouldn't. But if I mixed those two tablespoons of lard in a quart of warm water, added a little artificial sweetener, flavor and color and put on a pretty label that said "97% fat free quick energy drink", might you be tempted? Since the water doesn't count as a nutritional source, 100% of the 240 calories in that drink would come from fat. And since 97% of the weight is water, it could say it's 97%fat free even though it's 100% fat to your body. So when that lunch meat claims to be 97% fat free, actually over half of its calories may come from fat. Read labels carefully. Hints on how to interpret them are on this website. 


Next Chapter: How It All Began

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©1994, 1996, 2002
Dr. Neal Pinckney
Healing Heart Foundation
      www.kumu.org