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In this 2011 two part series, Larry King interviews Dr. Ornish on Bill Clinton’s heart disease.

Part One focuses on Bill Clinton’s release from the hospital after having two stents placed in his arteries. The former President went into the hospital after reporting “tingling in his chest” after a particularly challenging few weeks of travel and work around the Haiti earthquake.

You can reduce angina or chest pain by 90-95% simply by changing diet and lifestyle.

In a panel interview with Larry King asks Dr. Ornish, who is a physician consultant to President Clinton, whether he agrees with Clinton’s doctors that his condition was not due to lifestyle or diet.

“I have a different perspective,” says Dr. Ornish. I can’t talk about the President directly, but I can say that in general for them to say that lifestyle, diet, exercise, stress, really don’t have anything to do with whether a bypass clogs up. It’s  just not what the facts show. We’ve done studies, and others have replicated them, showing that when you change your lifestyle you can stop and even reverse the progression of heart disease. But if you put a new bypass in, but you don’t change your lifestyle, it’s a little like mopping up the floor around a sink that’s overflowing without also turning off the faucet or putting a new oil filter in without changing the oil. It’s gonna clog up again. It doesn’t have to be that way, and I say that not to blame, but to empower because when we change our lifestyle, more than most doctors recommend, we can stop and even reverse the progression of heart disease, and we can keep those bypasses open without having another stent.”

In Part Two, Larry King, looks inside the experience of open heart surgery and the fact that may people who end up having to have it never experienced symptoms of heart disease. King asks Dr. Ornish about Bill Clinton experience.

“I can’t really talk about the President because I work with him, but I will say what’s important. What many people don’t realize is that angioplasty and stents, unless you’re unstable, and from what I’ve read about the President’s condition, he needed one. But 90—95 % of the people who are getting stents are getting them because there’s some concern that they’re not getting enough blood. But the randomized trials like in the New New England Journal of Medicine, the Courage study, showed that stents do not prolong life and don’t even prevent heart attacks, and the main reason for getting them is to make the chest pain better. But we’ve shown and others have shown that if you change your lifestyle sufficiently, you can reduce angina or chest pain by 90-95 % simply by changing diet and lifestyle. The only side effects are good ones.


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