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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Book Review-Longevity Made Simple


When I was a local Executive Director of the American Heart Association I had the great honor of working with some amazing doctors and researchers who were dedicated to helping people live healthier lives. One of the doctors I got to know well was Richard Flanigan, MD. He is an accomplished cardiologist who recently wrote a book with his equally accomplished daughter, Kate Flanigan Sawyer, MD, MPH. Their book is Longevity Made Simple (http://www.longevitymadesimple.com/). It is a book I have so enjoyed reading.

Longevity Made Simple is a very approachable book about a very complex subject. It is written in "plain English" and is also only 168 pages, so very readable. I also like the way the information is broken down and presented in the book. The basic premise is to help the reader understand the 10 Leading Causes of Death, their risk factors, preventative lifestyle behaviors that can be adopted and the resources & ideas that can help us manage our risk factors in order to live healthier, longer lives. This book makes you believe it is possible....with a little dedication and work!

I have learned so much about the 10 Leading Causes of Death. If you are wondering, they are:
1.   Heart Disease
2.   Cancer
3.   Stroke
4.   Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
5.   Accidents
6.   Diabetes Mellitus
7.   Influenza/Pneumonia
8.   Alzheimer's Disease
9.   Kidney Disease
10. Septicemia

As the authors argue, if we focus on these top 10 and how to manage our risk factors related to them, we are going to add significant years to our lives. Perhaps the most poignant paragraph in the book is:
...your health is up to you. You decide what you put in your mouth, what you do with your body, or what screening tests you get. What we are telling you here is that those choices make a real difference. The right choices can add years to your life, while the wrong ones can not only take away years to your life, but also make those final years low quality ones filled with disease and disability.

And just so you know this is an empowering book, filled with eye opening information and positive steps each of us can take, here is another- uplifting- quote:
A recent study in the British journal Heart showed that becoming very active in late adulthood cuts coronary artery disease by 90 percent! So, no matter the age, prevention practices work and should be practiced...

I definitely recommend this book. It is a compact  resource book filled with important information, why it is relevant to each of us and how we can take steps, given our specific risk factors, to live healthier, longer lives.