Guest: Dr. Robert Vogel
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Dr. Robert Vogel, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver, co-author of The Pritikin Edge, and active advocate for Pritikin ICR.
Segment overview: Dr. Robert Vogel, cardiologist and co-author of “The Pritikin Edge”, and active advocate for Pritikin Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation (ICR), discusses heart health among men.
Health Professional Radio – Heart Health Among Men
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to the program. I’m your host Neal Howard here on Health Professional Radio, so glad that you could join us today. June is National Men’s Health Month, we’re in studio today with Dr. Robert Vogel to discuss men’s health as it relates to a healthy heart. Now heart diseases the leading cause of death among men, one in three of us have some form of cardiovascular disease. Welcome to the program today Dr. Vogel.
Dr. Robert Vogel: Nice to be with you Neal.
N: Thanks so much for returning to talk with us Bob. When we were here in other segments we talked about the silent heart attacks, we talked about some of the stressors that affect a healthy heart. We even talked about some of the nutritional aspects of leading a healthy or unhealthy heart lifestyle. Now June being National Men’s Health Month, let’s talk about the stressors and how heart attack is very prevalent among us.
V: Yes. The statistics are really striking. Sixty one percent of men will have either a heart attack or stroke some time in their life. More than 30% of men will die from heart disease and 90% of heart attacks are really preventable. If you think about that, the number one killer of heart disease is something that is preventable. So that’s the message we’re trying to get out.
N: Discuss what coronary heart disease is at its core.
V: At its core, coronary heart disease is the accumulation of lipids and other tissue within the arteries of the heart that lead to blockage as maybe small blockage that would lead to reduction of blood flow or maybe a rupture of these plaques in the coronary arteries which leads to an acute coronary syndrome, a heart attack or something of that nature.
N: Now when an adult male dies suddenly of a heart attack, are there always signs and symptoms beforehand above and beyond just an unhealthy lifestyle? I mean maybe he’s a little bit overweight but healthy and then boom a sudden heart attack and he passes away. Are there always symptoms?
V: There are not always symptoms. Heart disease can accumulate very, very slowly. We now know that perhaps 20% of young men who die traumatically during war time have pretty good evidence of the start of a blockage within their arteries this just progresses decade by decade and at 40 or 50 or 60 or whatever, we get the sequelae to it and that sequelae maybe the first symptom of sudden death and we see the blockage in the arteries. Now there are other causes of sudden cardiac death but the majority of it is related to what we call coronary heart disease or the accumulation of cholesterol.
N: Would you say that it’s good for all men to keep a handle on their blood pressure and heart rate or are there certain candidates that should start taking a look at their blood pressure and their heart rate as opposed to just across the board?
V: Across the board, men and women but we’re talking about men right now. Again need to know 61% of us are gonna have a heart attack or stroke, that’s the simple truth and it’s not only blood pressure and pulse as you said but your blood cholesterol and your blood sugar are numbers that every man needs to know in addition to the lifestyle issues that I’m sure we’ll talk about. But these are the basic ingredients and then we add to those, are you smoking? Do you get enough exercise? How was your diet? Are you overweight, which is the majority of Americans.
N: What role does sleep play in the prevention of coronary disease? As men, we’re busy and I know that from other segments with you I’ve learned that busy doesn’t necessarily mean stressed out or stressed at all. But when it comes to heart health, what are your thoughts on that?
V: The Australians, they did a study a couple of years back actually showed what our parents had been telling us for years, 7 or 8 hours of sleep is really ideal and if you look at the relationship with heart disease that’s when we have the fewest heart attacks. So sleep is important whether it’s causative that is you need to sleep or just that if you have a bad lifestyle, you’re not getting enough sleep or sleeping poorly and that leads to heart disease. But there’s no question that Americans don’t sleep well, we don’t know how to go to sleep, we watch television, we read in bed and sleeping habits are very important. Also many of us being overweight don’t sleep well because we have what’s called obstructive sleep apnea, we stop breathing at night, we snore, we wake up and we wake up and we don’t feel rested and then we fall asleep driving to work or whatever. And so sleep is critical and it’s both the amount of sleep and the quality of sleep and also the…of sleep where we sleep deeply and don’t wake up.
N: When it comes to reversing the unhealthy lifestyle, do you ever recommend pharmaceuticals in conjunction with a better diet, more exercise, better sleep and the like or cessation of smoking or is your philosophy strictly better lifestyle through better eating and exercise?
V: There is no question that you could start with lifestyle, diet, exercise, smoking cessation but today speaking as a practicing Cardiologist we have very good drugs. Often we want to get your cholesterol down very low if you’ve had a heart attack and you start again with diet but the drugs that we have, the statins and other drugs that we have today are very, very helpful and so we always use the drug that have in scientific trials and clearly proven to be a benefit and we have many of those drugs today so it’s always lifestyle plus drugs.
N: And are there certain drugs that their efficacy say increases as you begin to take in the healthy nutrients and minerals and improve your lifestyle? Does it enhance the effect of the drugs eventually eliminating the need for the drug?
V: Yes and that’s a good way to think about it. There is a symbiotic, I guess in the word relationship between lifestyle and drugs and many of the drug studies that reduced a heart disease, those individuals who have healthy lifestyle in addition did better. And at times we’re able to get individual patients off drugs which is nice but the purpose of a healthy lifestyle isn’t just to get people off drug, some drugs you just should be on if you have heart disease or other problems and we like to continue them along with the healthy lifestyle.
N: Where can we go online and get more information about your practice and National Men’s Health Month?
V: Well there are number of websites, you can unabashedly read the book, The Pritikin Edge that I wrote several years ago and the American Heart Association has a wonderful website that will talk about diet and exercise and smoking cessation and knowing your numbers, your cholesterol and your blood pressure and your blood sugar and that would be a start for many individuals that this is life saving for men back. In June we always like to think about how health is critical and for men that starts with heart health.
N: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. And we’ve been in studio this afternoon talking with Dr. Robert Vogel, Cardiologist and Co-Author of The Pritikin Edge and active Advocate for Pritikin Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation Program and we’ve been in studio discussing heart health among men. National Men’s Health Month is June of every year and we’ve been here talking about some of those issues that apply to us guys. It’s been great having you here on studio today with us Bob.
V: Nice talking with you Neal.
N: Transcripts and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm and you can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.