Testimonial: I had a massive heart attack in 1985 when I was 53 years old. Dean called me and he had called my doctor; and actually my doctor told him not to take me in the program because he didn’t think I would last the year. But Dean didn’t care. He knew that the thing worked. He had the book and he explained what it was. And it was a complete change from the life that I was living. But I had to do it. I knew I had to do it ’cause I couldn’t walk across the street in time for the light or I would get a chest pain.
But almost immediately—I would say within 2 or 3 weeks—I noticed the difference. As soon as I noticed the difference, I knew that this thing was . . . it was possible for me to live.
Dean Ornish: Coronary heart disease is still the most common cause of death, not only in the United States but in most of the world. What most people don’t realize is that it’s almost completely preventable for 95-99% of people today, knowing what we know.
We don’t have to wait for a new drug or a new device or a new breakthrough to be able to prevent heart disease. We simply need to put into practice what we already know.
Now heart disease results when your heart becomes starved for oxygen that the blood carries. In part, this can be caused when blockages build up in the arteries that feed the heart. Then the question is: What causes the blockages to build up? What causes the arteries to constrict? What causes little platelets to form blood clots that can clog up the lining of your arteries?
And it turns out it’s primarily what we do and how we live. Emotional stress, lack of exercise, loneliness and depression; also a diet that’s high in saturated fat and cholesterol and stimulants. So all these lifestyle factors converge on the heart in ways that can be harmful or can be healing.
In our research we found that when people followed the Program that we outlined in the Spectrum, instead of getting worse and worse, they actually got better and better. We found that after just 1 month, the blood flow had improved to the heart. There was over 90% reduction in the frequency of angina or chest pain.
After a year, even severely blocked arteries became measurably less clogged. And after 5 years even, there was even more improvement than after 1 year. These simple, low tech, low cost interventions that form the basis of the Spectrum program can not only prevent but in most cases can stop or even reverse the progression of even severe heart disease if you are willing to make big enough changes.
Testimonial: We used to go down to Houston once a year to be tested. And, actually, Dean picked a doctor down there. And in the beginning, the first time I went there he thought we were all nuts. And every year we would go back and you would see where my heart was totally dark and green with no blood in it, and each year it became red and white and it just came back to life. In those days they thought that once you had a heart attack and the muscle died that was it. But you could see the actual muscle coming back.
But it’s all changed. I was in a poker game where we all smoked. I used to smoke Cuban cigars, and people smoked cigarettes and we’d have cake when we took a break and everything. And then over time and over the years, they saw what happened to me and now nobody smokes; nobody drinks coffee; they have herbal tea; they have non-fat cookies or something. It’s totally changed.
I didn’t tell ‘em to change. I don’t tell anybody what to do. I just do my thing. I don’t say this is better for you or anything like that. They just see. They see that it worked. I’m almost 80.