Joseph sat motionless and stunned as his physician told him that he probably would not live long enough to see his 5-year-old get married. "But I'm only 40!" he shouted in his head. The young father tried to remain calm as the doctor began to ask him about his lifestyle. He was a highly competitive executive in line for a promotion. For every question asked, he had a "yes, but" reply. "And that is why you have a cholesterol level even higher than your elevated blood pressure," his clinician told him. "Your arteries are clogged and your heart is working overtime to compensate. Keep it up and you'll get that never-ending vacation, compliments of a stroke, heart attack, or cancer. There are medications to help, but unless you can change your habits, make sure your affairs are in order... "
The anecdote is common in physician's offices and emergency rooms around the country. But studies, like those recently presented to the American College of Cardiology, show signs of good news. Atherosclerosis (where plaque builds up inside your arteries), for example, is reversible with lifestyle changes. Dr. David Kavesteen, a board-certified internist and cardiologist, sees patients like Joseph daily in his multi-specialty practice. In addition to diagnosing and treating cardiac disease, he also counsels patients about how to increase longevity, avoid the pitfalls that lead to shortened life spans, and understand the interrelationship between the complexities of lifestyle and physical health. "The three foundations for longevity," he says, "are nutrition, fitness, and mind over body." Dr. Kavesteen integrates modern medicine with a holistic perspective focusing on prevention, a practical approach that makes his work especially pivotal in areas like nutrition, diabetes, dyslipidemia (a high blood cholesterol disorder), and weight loss.
Double-blind studies-the gold standard of investigation because neither the investigator nor study patient are aware of who is in which group, thereby eliminating bias-continue to demonstrate that making simple lifestyle changes can reduce your chances for and reverse the course of heart disease, regardless of family medical history. "The unchecked stress of daily living," Dr. Kavesteen says, explaining such findings, "leads to the body responding with increases in epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisone." Too much epinephrine and norepinephrine can raise blood pressure and lead to heart damage, kidney failure, and stroke, while unhealthy levels of cortisone can adversely affect metabolism and increase a person's chances of developing diabetes. As we all know, a hurried life also contributes to a habit of overeating and poor diet choices that flood the digestive system with toxins and small LDL (low-density lipoprotein) particles that are often at the root of heart disease.
Speaking again at this year's NAVEL Expo, Dr. Kavesteen will focus his lecture on longevity and what specific steps we can start taking now to improve our chances in life later, especially when it comes to diet. "It's important to know which foods to eat as well as which ones to avoid," he says, while offering examples. "You need antioxidants from fruits and vegetables, omega-3 from flaxseed, and fish oil supplements from reliable producers like Nordic Naturals" Dr. Kavesteen will also discuss supplements and "superfoods" like coenzyme Q10 and red yeast rice and how they can lower your cholesterol levels.
As a last thought, Dr. Kavesteen reminds us that love and the intimacy that comes with it can translate to a real sense of fulfillment, while depression leads to early death. "Make connections and find peace within yourself," he says. "Daily meditation can turn negative thoughts into a much more positive attitude." So the key to disease-free longevity, then, is a sound mind, healthy outlook, and willingness to change for the better. And that's just something that medication can't buy.
David Kavesteen, MD, is the leading physician at Heart and Health, PLLC, located in North Babylon and Middle Island. He received his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from SUNY Stony Brook, with a magna cum laude and distinction in research award, then continued his studies at Brooklyn's SUNY Health Science Center, and completed his internal medicine training at the prestigious New York University Medical Center. Dr. Kavesteen received further education at Maimonides Medical Center, where he specialized in cardiovascular diseases and nuclear cardiology. He is board certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Diseases, and Nuclear Cardiology. To learn about his Dyslipidemia, Diabetes, Nutritional, and Weight Loss programs, please visit 0bb.488.myftpupload.com.