DOCTOR IS IN: In matters of heart, it’s not too late

Laurence Sperling, MD of EmoryBy Laurence Sperling, MD

Even after decades of unhealthy habits, the human body has an incredible ability to heal.

What has been your vice? Have been you a couch potato? Have you been overeating? Drinking too much? Smoking?

More than half of all Americans are seriously overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control. About 50 million smoke. So you are hardly alone.

Making healthy changes in diet and exercise can help ward off many future ills.

And, here’s one main reason why you should: Heart Disease.

A proper diet is one of the best ways to combat the No. 1 killer. Changing unhealthy eating habits and maintaining good ones greatly reduces your risk.

Yet, if you need to lose weight, you may be confused by all the hype about the best diets. There are simply too many. First, high-carbohydrate and low-fat diets were touted as the best for health and weight loss – but, more recently, low-carb diets have been making news.

Both sides in the low-carb and low-fat debate have some good points. Yet, not all carbohydrates and not all fats are the same; some are good for you, some aren’t. Some increase your risk for obesity and heart disease.

An ideal diet includes mono- and polyunsaturated fats found in nuts, soy and fish. Not only can these fats help keep your appetite under control, they can lower LDL, a.k.a. “bad cholesterol.” Saturated fats (found in fatty meats and dairy products), however, raise the risk of blockages in your blood vessels and can lead to heart disease.

Atlanta, what has been your experience? Share your stories, share your ideas. Post.

  • Laurence Sperling, MD, FACC, FACP, FAHA is a member of the Emory Heart & Vascular Center and Associate Professor of Medicine; Director, Preventive Cardiology; Associate Director, Cardiology, Fellowship Training Program, Emory University School of Medicine, Woodruff Health Sciences Center.

  • For more information on cardiovascular health, please visit Emory’s Heart Stories or get a recipe for Grilled Chicken With Warm Fruit Salsa.


(Information provided by Emory on this site is intended solely for general educational purposes and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other health provider for any questions you may have regarding your health and medical condition. If you rely on any information available through this website, you do so at your own risk. You understand that you are solely responsible for any damage or loss you may incur that results from your use of or reliance on any material or information provided by Emory through this website.)

3 comments Add your comment


February 25th, 2009
5:29 am

Please don’t waste this space in such general info that says lose weight and exercise for a good heart. Be a little more specific because we all know we need to lose weight and eat correctly. What we need from a medical doctor is information to help us save a trip to see our physician. Things we can do at home. There are so many people in doctor offices now that do not need to be taking up the doctors time that the people that do need to see the doctor have to wait weeks for appointments.


February 25th, 2009
9:09 am

I agree totally with diane. This article did not tell us anything we don’t already know. We need information on new medical reatments/procedures and where to go to get the best care.


December 5th, 2009
11:18 am

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