The Nation's Health + [Heart disease reversal]

Heart disease reversal: Don't get smug!

It may sound silly, but after someone succeeds in stopping their heart scan score from increasing or reduces their score, I warn them to not get smug. Let me explain.

I'll tell you about Jack. I met Jack a few years ago after he had a heart scan at age 39. His score: 1441! A score this high at his age obviously puts him in the 99th percentile. Also recall that a score >1000 carries a 25% annual risk for heart attack.

This captured Jack's attention. At the start, his lipoproteins were disastrous with numerous abnormal patterns. Jack committed to the program. After one year, his lipoproteins were around 80-90% corrected towards perfection. He'd lost 27 lbs, was exercising six days a week, and felt great.

Jack's repeat score one year later: 1107--over a 300 point drop! A huge success. He was ecstatic.

Unfortunately, work and life in general distracted him. Jack allowed himself to drift back to old habits, indulging in fast food 2 or 3 times a week, slacking on exercise such that it became sporadic, half-hearted efforts, and regained 15 lbs. He even failed to show up for appointments and we lost contact for two years.

One day, Jack simply decided to see where he stood, so he got himself another heart scan. The score: 2473--over a doubling from his reduced score.

The message: Long-term consistency is key, even after you've achieved control over your score. Stick with your program--and don't get smug!