Dr. Chauncey W. Crandall, author of Dr. Crandall’s Heart Health Report newsletter, is chief of the Cardiac Transplant Program at the world-renowned Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. He practices interventional, vascular, and transplant cardiology. Dr. Crandall received his post-graduate training at Yale University School of Medicine, where he also completed three years of research in the Cardiovascular Surgery Division. Dr. Crandall regularly lectures nationally and internationally on preventive cardiology, cardiology healthcare of the elderly, healing, interventional cardiology, and heart transplants. Known as the “Christian physician,” Dr. Crandall has been heralded for his values and message of hope to all his heart patients.

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Case Study in Stroke Prevention

Tuesday, 08 Feb 2011 09:30 AM

You should never believe that stroke or heart attack is inevitable. That’s what they used to think in Finland, a country that in the 1960s had the world’s highest death rate from heart disease and stroke.

Then, in 1972, the government launched a prevention program. Everyone from doctors and nurses to libraries and schools was asked to promote a healthy lifestyle. Schools improved lunch programs and local governments built walking tracks, pools, and ice rinks.

The message from the government was to quit smoking, reduce dietary fat and salt, get adequate exercise, and eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. People were also encouraged to monitor their blood pressure and cholesterol.

Finnish families took the message seriously, mostly because they had been directly affected by heart attacks and strokes. And the media got in on the program, too: One Finnish doctor produced a television show that encouraged 10 contestants to lower their blood pressure and cholesterol. The show was so popular that it ran for 15 years and inspired many of the country’s municipalities to sponsor similar competitions of their own.

The end result? Since the early 1970s, the incidence of heart attack and stroke has fallen 75 to 80 percent in Finland.

I was able to observe this amazing turnaround firsthand on a visit to Finland last year. I traveled throughout the entire country while speaking on a ministry tour, and I was repeatedly impressed by the fitness level of the Finnish people.

An estimated 65 percent of Finns are regularly active because they have so many sports/exercise facilities available. Every city and village has well-lit, well-maintained paths for walking, biking, and cross-country skiing. Fruit and vegetable consumption has tripled since the 1960s.

The Finns are remarkable proof that lifestyle changes can dramatically affect your quality of life. In fact, Newsweek recently ranked Finland as the most desirable country in the world to live in.

© HealthDay

 
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