American Heart Month 020120

The Power of 5 Formula was developed to address major health concerns and causes of death in the US and other developed countries in the world. As a physician and influencer, I use my platform to address and motivate individuals of all ages to promote healthier lifestyles.

Since February is American Heart Month, this is a great time to review some sobering statistics associated with heart disease.

Here are some facts as reported by the CDC:

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States.1
  • One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease.1
  • About 655,000 Americans die from heart disease each year—that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.2
  • Heart disease cost the United States about $219 billion each year from 2014 to 2015.3 This includes the cost of healthcare services, medicines, and lost productivity due to death.

Coronary Artery Disease

  • Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing 365,914 people in 2017.4
  • About 18.2 million adults age 20 and older have CAD (about 6.7%).3
  • About 2 in 10 deaths from CAD happen in adults less than 65 years old.4

Early Action Is Important for Heart Attack/Myocardial Infarctions

  • In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds.3
  • Every year, about 805,000 Americans have a heart attack.3  Of these,
    • 605,000 are a first heart attack3
    • 200,000 happen to people who have already had a heart attack3
    • About 1 in 5 heart attacks is silent—the damage is done, but the person is not aware of it.3

These stats are sobering and, to a large degree, preventable or at least modifiable. Also sobering is the fact that these figures have progressively grown worse over the last three decades. Solid research has clearly demonstrated that lifestyle modification at any time in life (preferably sooner than later) has the potential of altering the trajectory of these statistics. The Power of 5 Formula addresses five lifestyle choices that, when modified, can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks/myocardial infarctions, sudden death, the need for cardiac bypass or coronary stents, or stroke.

To begin our celebration of American Heart Month, Melissa will provide a full day’s menu with recipes to help you get a head start on your heart-healthy meals. Check it out on the Power of 5 Test Kitchen.

Generally, I recommend following a Mediterranean diet (although Melissa and I follow a whole-food, plant-based diet). US News and World Reports and other publications have endorsed the Mediterranean lifestyle as “healthiest and best for overall health, weight loss and weight maintenance.”

More recently, however, I did a literature review of the Green Mediterranean diet, which allows for a more modest alteration to one’s diet as compared to the standard Mediterranean diet. It recommends further lowering animal products, especially red meats and processed foods. When a research project was performed in Israel there were improved outcomes in the group that followed this practice alongside the addition of multiple daily servings of green tea and a single green high-protein/low-carb shake. You can read more about this research here: has also reported that the study indicated “their findings suggest further limiting meat intake while increasing plant-based, protein-rich foods may benefit the cardiometabolic state even more. And it may reduce cardiovascular risk beyond the known beneficial effects of the traditional Mediterranean diet. Participants following Mediterranean-based diets also reaped additional health benefits that included decreases in diastolic blood pressure, insulin resistance, and an important marker of inflammation, C-reactive protein, which has an essential role in vascular disease.”

For American Heart Month we encourage you to give the Power of 5 Test Kitchen recipes a try! We hope you will enjoy them enough to incorporate them into your own lifestyle. Please feel free to use them frequently and share them with your friends.

Consider starting a new habit. Go green once a week. Maybe you can give “Green Mondays” a try!

To a Long and Healthy Life,

David Bernstein, MD

P.S. Remember to follow Melissa in the Power of 5 Test Kitchen and join in the happenings!
• Like our Facebook Page
• Follow us on Instagram: @powerof5testkitchen and @drdavidbernstein
• Tag two of your friends to share this post!

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Underlying Cause of Death, 1999–2018. CDC WONDER Online Database. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2018. Accessed March 12, 2020.
2. Virani SS, Alonso A, Benjamin EJ, Bittencourt MS, Callaway CW, Carson AP, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2020 update: a report from the American Heart Association
4. Circulation. 2020;141(9):e139–e596.

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