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“It is a fascinating conundrum. We far outspend every other industrialized country when it comes to healthcare, and yet we live sicker and die quicker than folks in those other countries.” So begins a three-part series on preventive health and medicine in The Courier-Journal by Bryant Stamford,  a Professor of Kinesiology & Integrative Physiology at Hanover College.

[Ornish’s] program successfully reversed atherosclerosis.

In Part One, Dr. Stamford discusses the irony that while most of us have access to state of the art medicine and procedures, our healthcare system “mostly ignores health.”

He writes:

If we had a system that also emphasized health as well as medicine, an important goal would be to “prevent” problems, being proactive and attacking problems at their source. In turn, we would reduce greatly the need to always be fixing things.  This is not a new way of thinking. Ben Franklin told us long ago: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

In Part Two, Dr. Stanford , acknowledges that there is change in the air, and praises the launch of the Healthy Lifestyle Centers at KentuckyOne Health. This includes their decision to offer the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine Program.

He writes:

The Healthy Lifestyle Centers strive not only to prevent health problems, they also treat existing problems as well with the aim of promoting an enhanced quality of life. With this in mind, the centers have recently taken another huge step forward and are now offering the program created by Dr. Dean Ornish. His program is highly ambitious as it aims not only to prevent heart disease, it also is geared toward undoing damage that has already occurred. A major emphasis is reversing atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries), the underlying cause of the vast majority of heart attacks.

In Part Three of the series, Stanford dives deeper into what the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine Program(Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation) offers.

He writes:

Dr. Ornish asked an important question. If a set of circumstances is known to cause atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries), would getting rid of those same circumstances reverse the process? He decided he would conduct research and find out. But what he discovered right off the bat was that going against the establishment and long held dogma is not easy. In fact, his approach was considered to be foolish, because everyone knew that atherosclerosis, once it gains a foothold in the arteries, is permanent and irreversible.

His program successfully reversed atherosclerosis. Since then, several other medical researchers have replicated his findings. Beyond doubt, the Ornish program works.


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