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130620_MEDEX_CIGAR.jpg.CROP.article568-large (Copy)A big fat duuuuuuuhhhhhh in the world of health today, as a new study discloses that half of all cardiovascular deaths are due to preventable factors. Why duh? I have been reporting on this phenomenon since I wrote my quintessential health manual, The Six Keys To Optimal Health, a decade ago. Okay, okay, to be fair, many of you have not read it; and I am certain many of you do not peruse the health news in the same manner I do. However, saying that, we all know the risk factors for cardiac events, so why are people not taking heed?

The study, published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine online, looked at data from the BRFSS (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System) 2009–2010 of over 500,000 people, ages 45 to 79, to asses risk factors associated with cardiovascular deaths (heart attacks, heart failure, etc). The five primary risk factors were: smoking, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure—and all are preventable. Complete elimination of each of these risk factors would reduce cardiovascular deaths—the leading cause of death in the U.S.—by 54% in men, and nearly 50% in women.

heart disease risk factorsSmoking and high blood pressure led to the highest proportion of preventable deaths, and nearly 80 percent of people reported exposure to at least one of the five risk factors. Despite these risks being preventable, if every state was brought to the level of the best state, only ten percent of the deaths would be prevented. Get it? What this means is that Americans, in general, practice risky cardiovascular behaviors. Yes, eighty percent of the country either smokes, is obese, has high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. And many have several, and some have all! Do you get it? That’s freakin’ abysmal. And we wonder why health is so poor in the U.S. Can’t blame healthcare (sickcare) for this one.

Like I said, we all know the risks, so why do we fail to avoid them? Ummmm…I can take a guess…let’s see: because American citizens have become so spoiled by ease and comfort that we believe we are entitled to live as we please, and then be “saved” by medicine. That’s precisely what universal health care was all about – our inalienable right to have our preventable conditions treated – and this study proves it. Preventable! I know it is hard to hear, and it certainly doesn’t endear me to the masses when I say it, but it’s the truth and we both know it.

So let’s go over it again:

I know we are all going to die, but nobody reading this wants it to be them, not prematurely anyway. So do the right stuff and I promise you will get more out of life, and more life to get things out of. I’ll continue to send out tough love via health information, facts, and no nonsense interpretations meant to wake…you…up. Hope you are listening.

Probably no surprises here, but regular exercisers have more lift to their libido.  So says a recent study out of the VA medical center in North Carolina.  According to the research, men that worked out regularly (and quit or refrained from smoking) reported better sexual function.  This was true even after adjusting for age and race.  Nice. A related Finnish study showed that women who exercised regularly and quit or refrained from smoking had better urinary health.  These findings are scheduled to be released tomorrow at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association in San Francisco.

photo-1427384906349-30452365b5e8 (Copy)Although the benefits of exercise and disadvantages of smoking are pretty evident for most people, many do not realize how quickly they can benefit by just getting started now.  I’ve done it, quit smoking after twenty years.  I loved tobacco; but without a doubt, my greatest gains have been in my cardiovascular endurance, and that alone was worth quitting. I do not miss the feeling of being out of breath on the slightest brisk walk or run.  Sure, I continued to work out, play sports and be relatively active, but I was entirely aware of my cardiopulmonary limitations, simply because I’d get winded.  However, since I was smoking from a very early age, I didn’t realize how much it effected my endurance until I quit.  To this day I say it’s the greatest effect I’ve noticed, and that benefit alone keeps me from ever restarting.

When it comes to sexual health, the cardiovascular system is everything.  For men to get and maintain an erection, receiving proper blood flow to the penis is imperative.  That’s how Viagra works, by increasing penile blood flow.  But you can do it naturally: Kick the nicotine habit, and work out, both anaerobically (resistance training), and aerobically (treadmill, bike, hiking, elliptical, etc.).  I guarantee if you do both these actions (keys #2 and #6 in my book The Six Keys to Optimal Health), you’ll feel results almost immediately.  You know they say a hard man is good to find…well, it’s good for the man, too.


As important as practicing healthy habits is, discontinuing (or better yet never starting) poor health habits can add years to your life–twelve to be exact; this according to the findings of a recent study. Let’s see, twelve years ago I was…DANG that’s a long time! Check it:

The study tracked nearly 5,000 British adults for 20 years, and looked at the following four bad health habits:

  • smoking
  • drinking too much
  • inactivity
  • poor diet

Researchers found that people partaking in these habits had a substantially increased risk of death, and they seemed 12 years older than people in the healthiest group. Doh!

Of the research subjects having all four habits (314 people), 29% died through the study period. The subjects having none of the habits (394), only 8% had died. The people involved in the study were adults aged 18 and older, but 44 years old on average. The most common cause of death among subjects was heart disease and cancer, both caused by the unhealthy habits studied.

The healthiest group included never-smokers and those who had quit; teetotalers, women who had fewer than two drinks daily and men who had fewer than three; those who got at least two hours of physical activity weekly; and those who ate fruits and vegetables at least three times per day.

“You don’t need to be extreme” to be in the healthy category, said lead researcher Elisabeth Kvaavik of the University of Oslo. “These behaviors add up, so together it’s quite good. It should be possible for most people to manage to do it.”

Tis true. It is one of the major premises in my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health. Healthy habits are cumulative. Start slowly and add habits one by one. For example, start with bodywork, like chiropractic care, and get out of pain. Once pain starts to subside, start exercising. Cut out sodas next. Then start eating more fruits and vegetables, and so on. It doesn’t have to all be done at once. Pick up a few healthy habits, then go for the more challenging ones, like quitting smoking or drinking or mainlining speed. Having a foundation of a handful of healthy habits will get you through a lot easier than trying to kick a habit cold turkey with nothing to fill the void.

By reducing faulty health habits you could add twelve years to your life–no small amount once you start getting up there. Add to that a few healthy habits and woo-boy you might even tack on another twelve. Think of that. What will you do with the time?

Time to get serious, people. Forty percent of all cancers are preventable. Listen up: 4.8 million cancer cases do not have to happen. Get it? You are in charge of your health. Health is NOT random. If you are living by that philosophy, you’re sunk.Is there a health care crisis? You bet. The crisis lies in the idea that you are not responsible for your own health, or your health care. Forty percent of all cancers are preventable. This from a report by the Geneva-based International Union Against Cancer (UICC). As UICC president David Hill says, “If there was an announcement that somebody had discovered a cure for 40 percent of the world’s cancers, there would quite justifiably be huge jubilation.” No kidding.

OK, so what can you do? First, let’s look at the top three cancers:

What can you do today that can help prevent these cancers tomorrow?

The first thing you want to do is observe your diet. Minimize processed foods, or better yet, get rid of them altogether. Whole and natural is best. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Take your vitamins. Drink lots of water (two liters per day, minimum).

Next, minimize or quit smoking. Minimize smoking? Exactly, most people that smoke can’t do so moderately, so kick it altogether. Try breathing clean air, too. How about an air purifier? Don’t minimize their usefulness. If you own a home in Los Angeles, contact me, I’ve got a guy that can set you up.

Minimize alcohol, recreational drug, and pharmaceutical drug consumption. These substances are toxins to the body. Stress the liver and kidneys and you’ll be increasing your cancer risk (among other illnesses) exponentially. Alcohol can cause many different forms of cancer–2-4% of all cancers to be exact–including esophageal, stomach, liver, breast, colon and others. And don’t underestimate the drugs your doctor gives you; they’re poisons, too.

Maintain a healthy weight. I’m not one to lay on the guilt trips, so simply put, if you are overweight, just lower it by something. My dad dropped from 225 to 190. He’s still about 25 pounds overweight, but that drop he made was significant to his health.

Exercise regularly. C’mon now, if you are not doing this you are missing out on so many health benefits that, well…you’ve got nobody to blame but…OK, no guilt trips. Just do it.

Get plenty of healthy sun, but don’t overdo it. Listen, we all need the vitamin D, and we now know more than ever how much so. But sun worshiping, tanning beds, Jersey Shore…puleeze! Be smart, protect yourself–safe sunning is the only way to go.

There you have it: You are in control of your health. Health is not random. There is a health care crisis, and it’s that far too many people neglect some very basic health enhancing behaviors. My book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, has these and hundreds of other tips to prevent cancer and live a life of health and vitality. You can direct your health: you are responsible for the health you have and maintaining it. Nobody else.

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