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Lifestyle Changes Lower Heart Disease Risk, but Doctors Frequently Miss Them

It’s well-known that lifestyle changes work wonders for lowering heart disease risk, yet doctors often don’t tell patients that making certain changes -- like quitting smoking, exercising and addressing high blood pressure and obesity -- could help.

A report in the new American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine is now calling for “practical strategies to incorporate lifestyle medicine techniques into clinical practice.”

The reality is that an estimated 75 percent of Americans go to their doctors for medical advice every year, yet physicians often underestimate the influence their words could have -- and neglect to tell their patients the importance of making simple lifestyle changes.

Sadly, what most physicians do tell their patients is to take a drug (two-thirds of doctor visits result in a drug being prescribed) -- and not much else. What they should be saying -- but which most patients will unfortunately end up needing to find out for themselves -- is that lifestyle changes (exercising, eating healthy and releasing negative emotions) are often better than drugs for addressing a wide range of diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine March/April 2007, Vol. 1, No. 2, 79-90

Science Daily March 9, 2007