By Dilip Ray, MD
Baltimore, MD: The news story with headline — “With multiple major surgeries, survivor of cancer and other ailments lives active life” — by J.V. Lakshmana Rao about life of Sardar Hari Har Singh published in India Tribune dated May 11, is an inspiring real-life saga.
Sardar Hari Har Singh has controlled his diabetes, recovered from stroke and stomach cancer and now jogging daily 10 kilometer for 90 minutes after a five-vessel sites bypass surgery. Stroke and heart problems are most likely linked to diabetes. Coronary artery diseases treated with balloon dilation, stent or bypass surgery are temporary measures. The disease process of atherosclerosis continues. Most person will have recurrence of symptoms or heart attack or stoke sooner or later. One can halt, reverse coronary atherosclerosis and heart problem and become symptom-free by lifestyle modifications. Sardar Hari Har Singh is a shining example and he has achieved this, and now he is living a normal life even after five-vessel bypass surgery.
Dr. Dean Ornish published his paper in 1986, about how one can halt, reverse and become symptom-free from coronary artery disease by changing lifestyle. He had achieved this in 99 percent of his cases. He has discussed this in many papers he has published and books he has written, including the book, The Spectrum: A Scientifically Proven Program to Feel Better, Live Longer, Lose Weight, and Gain Health.
Later on Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., of the Cleveland Clinic, also published papers and a book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure. Dr. Esselstyn started with 24 or so patients. Twelve or so have adhered to lifestyle modification and they are still alive even 20 years after their angina pain and some after heart attacks. Following this, many other physicians achieved similar results over past two decades.
Dr. Esselstyn recommends a plant-based (fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains) and low fat diet — no more than a total of 10 gm fat a day, including in cooking. The no- fat food includes all oils, including olive oil, meat, fish and diary products. All nuts (contains oil) and avocado are in the no list too. Dr. Ornish’s diet is slightly less restricted and recommends exercise and some forms of relaxation therapy. Sardar Hari Har Singh more or less follows Dr. Ornish’s method.
Needless to say that one needs to be under care of his or her physician when on such therapy.