This I Believe

Arif - Verona, Wisconsin
Entered on July 3, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: illness, science
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I would like to come straight to the point. When it comes to preventing heart disease, next generation is our best hope. You do not need to be a rocket scientist to figure this one out. Please allow me to explain this further.

I am a cardiologist. I see and treat heart disease every day. It is a global epidemic and the number one killer known to mankind. I palliate but rarely if ever cure the disease. I repeat. Palliate but rarely cure. Let me elaborate further.

Blockages or plaques occurring in the blood vessels of the heart are the hall mark of the disease process. These plaques start early in life and take years to develop into full blown disease. Untreated they lead to heart attack, heart failure and cardiac death. Modern therapies mainly palliate this disease process. For example, angioplasty and stents push the plaques against the blood vessel wall. Bypass surgery builds bridges across these plaques using blood vessels from other parts of the body. The plaques and thus the disease stay. Some modern medicines alter the course of these plaques but nothing really cures them or cleans them out completely.

So coming back to the point. Preventing these plaques in the first place is the key to success against heart disease.

Our generation is some where along the path of this disease process. It is working against time. Next generation has time on its side. We can slow and turn around this wheel. We can interrupt this vicious circle.

Where do we start? There is a fix for all. There is a mother of all cures. It is called exercise and staying physically active. It attenuates all other risk factors known to cause and exacerbate heart disease.

I believe that a younger generation which is physically active is our best long term chance to prevent and win this battle against heart disease.

I would like to end with what I tell my patients often. At any given age and state of health, the more one can do physically, the longer and better they are going to live. So you can train to do more physically which means that you can train yourself to live longer and better. This is what I believe in.