Medical Edge: Reversing Heart Disease

Created: 01/09/2014 5:40 PM
By: Kenny King

Sister Donna Hawk has served the church her entire life, but it was more than divine intervention that helped this 70-year-old begin to reverse her heart disease. 

"Artery disease is pretty rampant in my body so I just began to think about, maybe i should do something preventive."

So, Donna enrolled in a different type of intervention at Cleveland Clinic. A 12-week cardiac lifestyle intervention. It's designed for people who have already had one heart procedure, surgery or heart attack and are looking to prevent another. 

"If you implement specific lifestyle changes you essentially reduce the risk of another cardiac event."

The program is based on outside research that shows specific lifestyle changes can, in fact, reverse heart disease. And may improve other chronic conditions as well. 

"We've seen patients who have went off their blood pressure medications because they were eating better, managing stress better and exercising and also we had patients who reduced their need for diabetic medications." 

Over the past year, Donna has switched to a strict plant-based diet, she exercises daily and has added meditation to her daily prayers. It wasn't easy changing life-long habits but she's 50 pounds lighter, her cholesterol is better and her cane is collecting dust. 

"It's a good feeling, a good feeling. It's nice to have the cane in the closet, not on your arm." 

"I have lost some weight but i still have a goal. About 20 pounds down the road. I expect to do that.