If heart drugs are so effective, why should I change my lifestyle?

We live in a time when people too often think of drugs as magical, relieving us of the need to change our lifestyle choices. For people with heart disease, can today’s drugs allow one to avoid lifestyle changes? The answer is, without any doubt, no. Lifestyle changes must come in tandem with any drugs your doctor prescribes; drugs should never be used in place of lifestyle modification. Many doctors will first advise lifestyle changes for reducing cholesterol levels or other conditions and only prescribe medicine if they fail but the lifestyle changes, even if minor, should be continued. Lifestyle and medications work together very well.
You must tell your physician that you are willing to give a new lifestyle, from diet to exercise to not smoking (if you are a smoker), a good try. Remember, some people prefer taking a drug to making changes in their routine: make it clearyou are not one of them. Look ahead to the chapters on food and weight control, stress, and exercise. Make a concerted effort to keep your weight down and change your meals to those low in animal products and high in whole grains and cereals, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and other seeds. The more you do in the area of lifestyle changes, the lower the dose of any drug you may need to take, and therefore the less likely you will be to suffer side effects. And better yet, sometimes you may not need any drugs at all.


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