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Intensive lifestyle changes for reversal of coronary heart disease.

15 Aug

Reversal of Coronary Artery Disease from Lifestyle Changes

When 48 patients with moderate to severe coronary artery disease were randomized into either an intensive lifestyle change group (the changes included a 100% whole foods vegetarian diet, aerobic exercise, stress management training - imagery, meditation and yoga - and group psychosocial support.) or a usual-care control group, and both groups were studied at the 5-year follow up with coronary arteriography, the experimental group far exceeded the most optimistic expectations for improvement.

Average coronary artery stenosis (closing up) had decreased 1.75 absolute % points after 1 year (a 4.5% relative improvement); and by 3.1 percentage points by the fifth year (a whopping 7.9% relative improvement) in the lifestyle change group.

By contrast, average coronary stenosis in the control group increased by 2.3 percentage points (a 5.4% relative worsening) and by a scary 11.8 points after 5 years (a 27.7% thickening). (p = .001)

Indeed, there were a total of 28 cardiac events (that''s a euphemism for heart attacks and other bad things) in the lifestyle group, as opposed to 45 in the control group, after 5 years.

This groundbreaking study shocked the medical community, which had heretofore insisted that coronary artery disease could not be reversed by non-surgical means.

It continues to change the nature of cardiac care across the U.S. and around the world.

Citation: Ornish, Scherwitz, Billings, Brown, Gould, Merritt, Sparler, Armstrong, Ports, Kirkeeide, Hogeboom, Bran. Intensive Lifestyle Changes for Reversal of Coronary Heart Disease. JAMA. 1998 Dec 16; 280 (23): 2001-2007
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award