Cover image for Before it happens to you : a breakthrough program for reversing or preventing heart disease
Before it happens to you : a breakthrough program for reversing or preventing heart disease
Bernstein, Jonathan Sackner.
First Da Capo Press edition.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, MA : Da Capo Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
xvii, 261 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RC672 .B43 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



You hear about it all too often: an otherwise completely healthy person struck down by heart attack in the prime of life. The result of hidden heart disease--the first symptoms of which are slightly high cholesterol or blood pressure-this is the kind of tragedy that sends us running to the doctor for a physical. But today's medical guidelines don't indicate treatment for most; based on the cost-effectiveness of treatment for society, lifesaving medications are withheld for high-risk patients. It doesn't have to be this way.Under the Don't Die Young! plan, concerned readers are screened for heart disease with a few doctor-ordered blood tests and, depending on the findings, treated with up to four medications: an aspirin, an ACE-inhibitor, a statin, and a beta-blocker. The scientific evidence for this strategy is overwhelming: The medications work, they stave off heart disease, and bring heart health back. Their use cuts an individual's risk of heart attack in half-even without starting an exercise program, or cutting back on saturated fats.Explaining the science as well as how to talk to doctors about their necessary involvement, Don't Die Young! will help more people identify and treat their heart problems. Providing both a pound of prevention and treatment advice for those who already know they have heart disease, it will save lives.

Author Notes

Jonathan Sackner Bernstein, M.D. is the Director of Clinical Research and Director of the Heart Failure Prevention Program at Northshore Hospital (Long Island, New York)
Kate Kelly is an experienced collaborator and co-author of a number of commercial health titles

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

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 "[i]f 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. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal Review

Bernstein (director, clinical research and the Heart Failure Prevention Program, Northshore Hosp., Long Island, NY) provides a realistic take on treating early heart disease by lowering high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Given that heart disease is America's top killer and that most people will not change the lifestyle risks that could help prevent cardiovascular events, his prescription-that most adults over 40 "will be able to achieve optimal [cardiovascular] health by using a customized mix ofaspirin, statins, beta-blockers and/or ACE inhibitors"-makes sense. Under his plan, a few simple blood tests can help doctors determine which combination of medications works best for individual patients. Well written and well organized, Bernstein's book offers clear explanations of scientific research that will help public library patrons understand heart disease, diagnostic tests, and test results. Those looking for a book that emphasizes diet therapy for cardiovascular health should read John P. Cooke's The Cardiovascular Cure.-Howard Fuller, Stanford Health Lib., Palo Alto, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
How to Use This Bookp. xi
Introduction: The Lifestyle Mythp. xii
Part 1 Simple, Safe and Scientific: The Breakthrough Program
Chapter 1 You're Probably Going to Die from Heart Diseasep. 3
Chapter 2 The Workings of the Cardiovascular Systemp. 13
Chapter 3 Feel Better and Live Longer: My Program and How It Worksp. 27
Chapter 4 The Tools of the Program: Aspirin, Statins, Beta-Blockers and ACE Inhibitorsp. 36
Part 2 How to Work with Your Doctor
Chapter 5 Talking with Your Doctorp. 69
Chapter 6 Your Tests and Your Resultsp. 79
Part 3 Your Personalized Plan
Chapter 7 If You Have High Blood Pressurep. 93
Chapter 8 If You Have High Cholesterolp. 107
Chapter 9 If You Already Have Heart Diseasep. 121
Chapter 10 If You Have Diabetesp. 130
Chapter 11 If You Are Overweight (Even 10 Pounds)p. 145
Chapter 12 If You Smokep. 157
Chapter 13 If You Have HIVp. 168
Chapter 14 Men: You Are At Riskp. 178
Chapter 15 Women Are At Risk, Toop. 187
Part 4 Commonsense Lifestyle Strategies
Chapter 16 Reducing Stressp. 201
Chapter 17 Adding Exercisep. 207
Chapter 18 The Heart-Healthy Eating Planp. 213
Chapter 19 Conclusion: Don't Worry about the Costs, Just Keep Your Family Alivep. 218
Appendix A Warning Signs of Heart Troublep. 223
Appendix B Interpreting Test Resultsp. 228
Appendix C Insurance Issuesp. 231
Appendix D Prescription Medicines for Heart Diseasep. 234
Bibliographyp. 237
About the Authorp. 251