Heart disease continues to be a major problem for Americans. It’s the leading cause of death in adults.
There are a number of risk factors that contribute to heart disease, but one in particular can be difficult to tackle: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. It’s often referred to as “bad” cholesterol.
A healthcare system in Indiana is taking an intense approaching to battling this disease. The Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease is a 72-hour cardiac rehabilitation program designed to stop the progression and even reverse the effects of heart disease.
It focuses on a patient’s:
- Stress management
- Love and support
Not surprisingly, often the most difficult area to tackle is diet. Foods high in saturated and trans fat (think fast food or animal-based products) have become staples of the American diet.
Participants in the Ornish Reversal Program are taught that eating a heart-healthy diet doesn’t have to be tasteless, especially if you incorporate plenty of flavorful fresh fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and fish.
In the year that the program’s been around, more than 145 participants exceeded expectations when it came to results. One participant had to stop multiple times to catch his breath when going on a walk, but after going through the program, can make it without any rest stops. Participants have experienced an average of 18.4 percent reduction in total cholesterol, 24.1 percent reduction in LDL level, triglyceride levels decreased an average of 9.9 percent and some participants have even been able to stop taking statins.
It’s National Cholesterol Education Month. If you are not aware of your cholesterol levels, we encourage you to make an appointment with your physician. If you know you have high cholesterol, make sure you are actively taking steps to address it.
The Ornish Reversal Program was established by Beacon Health System’s Elkhart General Hospital for Cardiac Care, in partnership with Healthways. Elkhart General Hospital is a Battelle Healthcare Colloquium member hospital.
About the Author
Jessica Gingerich MSN, BSN, RN, NP-C, CCRN is the Director of Cardiovascular Clinical Services at Elkhart General Hospital. In this role, she manages the hospital’s heart failure and valve clinic, cardiac diagnostics, cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation, and the Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease.