Before It Happens to You: A Breakthrough Program for Reversing or Preventing Heart Disease

Jonathan Sackner Bernstein, Author, Kate Kelly, With Da Capo Press $26 (249p) ISBN 978-0-7382-0918-0
If, in the last 10 years, drugs have come to the fore as the first line of attack against depression, a similar revolution may be happening with cardiovascular care. Bernstein, director of clinical research and of the heart failure prevention program at Long Island's Northshore Hospital, recommends a battery of drugs even before problems start to emerge, since studies show that""if you start treatment before you develop any symptoms of heart disease, you'll live longer."" Writing with commercial health writer Kelly, Bernstein outlines a""Before It Happens Plan"" based on the regular use of""statins"" like Lipitor and Zocor to lower cholesterol, aspirin to prevent stroke, as well as""ACE inhibitors"" and""Beta-Blockers"" to discourage high blood pressure. Bernstein thinks that people are more likely to stick to the daily use of drugs than to an exercise regimen, and that in many cases the drugs should be used even if one works out regularly and eats carefully. While Bernstein's voice doesn't really come through on this project, his message does, as do his practical and very specific suggestions for who should seek treatment and when. He tutors readers on how to discuss the issue with doctors, how to understand test results, and how to use the drugs safely. The needs of diabetics, people with HIV, smokers, people with high cholesterol and people who are overweight are considered in separate chapters, as are the differing needs of men and women. Periodically, Bernstein marshals shock statistics to keep one convinced:""Each year, more than half of all deaths in America are caused by heart disease. That's more than all forms of cancer combined."" For many readers, a more vivid depiction of the situation will be unnecessary.
Reviewed on: 02/01/2004
Release date: 02/01/2004
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