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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  August 28, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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sustained winds still clocked at 50 miles an hour. i'm martin savidge at the cnn center in atlanta. >> i'm randi kaye. our special coverage of hurricane irene will continue at 10:00 p.m. but right now, dr. sanjay gupta reports with "the last heart attack." thank you for watching. everywhere you look, it seems a heart attack is just waiting to happen. more than a million heart attacks a year. that's one, just about, every 30 seconds. just in the united states. if you haven't had a heart attack yourself, you likely know someone who has. i've got a secret to share -- with what we know right now? we could see the last heart attack in america. i've been investigating this for over a year. i've got lessons to share, things you need to know, things your doctor may not tell you.
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i was lucky i didn't die of a heart attack. >> reporter: former president clinton, like too many people, was busy. and for years he ignored warning signs from his heart. but in 2004, during an exhausting book tour, there was something different. >> i had a real tightness in my chest when i was getting off the airplane and the only time i'd had it unrelated to exercise. >> reporter: we're here outside new york presbyterian hospital. in just a couple of hours, former president bill clinton is scheduled to undergo surgery. >> so i immediately went down to our local hospital and they did a test, they said you got real problems. they hustled me down to columbia
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presbyterian and they confirmed the determination that i had serious blockage and needed the surgery. >> reporter: doctors immediately knew -- options were limited. the 58-year-old clinton needed to have his chest opened, his heart stopped, and surgery performed. >> there's no medical treatment for reversing the obstructions that had already formed in his blood vessels. >> i got hillary and chelsea there. all i remember is it happening fast and everybody who cared about me was scared and i felt rath serene. >> reporter: on labor day, 2004, mr. clinton had four blood vessels bypassed. >> starting this morning around 8:00 he had a relatively routine quadruple bypass operation. we left the operating room around noon and he is recovering normally at this point so i think right now everything looks
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straightforward. >> there was that period when you're just not sure you can come back. that bothered me. that and the pain. >> reporter: if it happened to him, could it happen to you? what about me? i'm a pretty typical guy in his early 40s with a family history of heart disease. so i decided to go on a mission to never have a heart attack. but how? when people talk about trying to end heart attacks in the world or in america at least, one of the ways to do that is to take a look inside the heart, see what's happening before someone ever has a problem. and that's what we're going to do here today. you're actually going to look for what? my heart? >> yes. for calcium which is part of e theate row sclerotic process. the plaques in the heart. zplif's never zplif's. >> i've never had a problem but you are looking for it anyways. >> yes, if you are heading for a heart attack in 5, 10, 20 years,
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you're already have plaque. >> you may recognize him as the author of the south beach diet books. but he's also the inventor of the coronary scan. he doesn't make any money from it. we all know plaque is bad. it blocks your blood vessels. plaque is formed by ldl cholesterol in the blood. the bad cholesterol. think of it as l, for lousy. building up on the walls of your arteries forming plaque. it can accumulate slowly, over time, narrowing the blood vessels like something building up inside a pipe. this narrowing in the blood vessels leading to your heart can cause chest pain, called angina. it can also cause a heart attack. did you ever wonder how seemingly healthy people can have a heart attack? this may surprise you. most heart attacks happen in people with no symptoms. in people whose arteries are less than 15% blocked.
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here's how. cholesterol can cause unstable bubbles or blisters of plaque to form in your arteries. these can be incredibly dangerous. most are covered by a cap, but inflammation and stress can cause the cap to thin and rupture resulting in a clot that blocks the flow of blood to the heart. robbed of oxygen, the heart muscle can't function properly. heart attack. therein lies the key, he says. we can now find clues before heart trouble gets dangerous, even before the first symptoms. well before you get to the stage president clinton was. bill clinton, former president, arguably had at least eight years of some of the best health care in the world. it was after he left office. he had significant heart problems. that surprised a lot of people. how could it be he could get this level of health care and still have heart problems? >> he had multi-vessel disease. so he had a lot of plaque.
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that plaque certainly could have been identified with a heart scan years before. >> i don't want to sound glib, but why wasn't it done? again, you would assume the white house doctors, the president of the united states, they'd be doing that for him. >> well, yeah. it was not the standard of care then. we are past that. >> reporter: i decided to ask bill clinton about that. turns out he did have a core nar calcium scan just months after leaving office but technology was so new then doctors weren't quite sure what to do with the results. >> they said i had some calcium build-up around my heart that put me basically in the top third of risk. but they said there was no evidence of blockage because i'd done so well on the stress test. for a few months before this happened, i noticed whenever -- not every time, but often when i would do rather strenuous exercise, there are some really hilly areas in the town where i
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am. i'd climb those hills and have to stop and take a breath. i didn't take it seriously, because every time that happens i just lowered the exercise level, got my breath back, and it was never painful. it was just tight. >> if this isn't good for my heart, i don't know what is. >> reporter: by the time he felt the first symptoms, that tightness in his chest, president clinton's heart disease was well advanced. it had been decades in the making. >> you don't die with your first plaque. you develop atherosclerosis blockages really your whole life for many, many years before it causes a heart attack or stroke. >> reporter: and what dr. aggregateson told me next should ring a bell of hope for just about anyone who's ever worried about a heart attack. doesn't have to happen. >> one of the best kept secrets in the country in medicine is that doctors who are practicing aggressive prevention are really seeing heart attacks and strokes
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disapir frpear from their pract. it's doable. >> you're saying with what we know right now, we don't have to have any more heart attacks in this country. >> i'll never say any, but the great majority, yes, absolutepyly. >> it is the biggest killer of men and women, heart disease in this country. >> it is completely preventable. >> coming up, more tests to gauge my heart attack risk. and can you really tell who is a heart attack waiting to happen? also, can the right diet make you heart attack proof? we'll meet a woman who's betting her life on it. in here, the planned combination of at&t and t-mobile would deliver our next generation mobile broadband experience to 55 million more americans, many in small towns and rural communities, giving them a new choice. we'll deliver better service, with thousands of new cell sites... for greater access to all the things you want, whenever you want them. it's the at&t network... and what's possible in here is almost impossible to say.
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dads who get it, get go-gurt. with a family history of heart disease and a lifetime of bad eating habits, president clinton told me he was a heart attack waiting to happen. but what does someone really look like who is about to have heart attack? you probably wouldn't think this guy. tom behar, 53, thin, seemingly healthy, and one step short of a full-blown heart attack. in fact, he's checking into this hospital in lincoln, nebraska for open heart surgery. it's an important lesson. what you see on the outside
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doesn't always match the inside. >> obviously closed down quite a bit. >> reporter: the surgeon shows us the striking images on the angiogram of behar's heart. >> you can see this tight narrowing right there where that closes down so that limits the amount of blood that can get out. then you've got a real tight narrowing right up here where that vessel on the side takes off, then another narrowing here, then you've got a pretty tight narrowing there. >> reporter: all the major blood vessels supplying blood to the heart -- blocked. yes, that is the very picture of a heart attack waiting to happen. >> he's at risk for heart attack just because of the amount of plaque that he has in there. >> reporter: like me, behar has a family history of heart disease. that's why four years ago he underwent the coronary calcium scan that we just learned about. his results were not good. >> the score was 111. >> reporter: zero is the best. over 100 means an increased risk
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of heart attack. even sudden death. >> and you may breathe. go ahead, rest your arms down if you'd like. it is going to take me a couple of minutes to check these images, make sure we have everything we need. >> reporter: behar went through the test again this year and the score was up to 243. the average score for someone his age -- 5. >> i was doing some exercise about three weeks ago, jogging routine that i do and made it about .3 mile and then had the classic symptoms, chest pain, and then pain down the left arm and shortness of breath. >> what room is this? >> reporter: as in the case of bill clinton, behar was told he had no options by the time he saw the doctor. within days woe need bypass surgery. >> in this instance this is sort of what i consider a medical failure. in other words, he got these narrowings and plaque despite
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our efforts to prerent it from progressing. and my goal would be, even though i'm a surgeon and treat these things, is to not have them get to this point. from a public health standpoint we have to do this, because this bypass operation is going to be very expensive. >> reporter: he's not kidding. average cost in the u.s. -- $112,000. and there are about 450,000 procedures performed every year. total price tag -- more than $50 billion. >> our money would be better spent years ahead of this to prevent him from getting to this point. >> reporter: prevent ever getting to this point. that is precisely my goal.
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for me, and for you, the last heart attack. the doctor has guaranteed he can see trouble coming, years in advance, well before i'd need surgery, if i do the right tests. >> so here is where the sbloblos flowing. >> he's using ultrasound to look for plaque in the carotid artery leading to the brain. a blockage here would cause a stroke and would be a sign i'm at increased risk for heart attack. >> unless you do the imaging and advanced testing, you are really playing russian roulette with your life. >> reporter: your body needs cholesterol. actually makes it. it is in the lining of every cell in your body. the liver sends out ldl cholesterol and when everything works right the good, hdl, salvages excess ldl and brings it back to the liver. you also get cholesterol in foods, things like meat, french fries, eggs, butter, desserts, ice cream. your cholesterol number is a
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good measure of what's in the blood. but here's the problem -- it doesn't tell if you it is building up in the walls of your blood vessels forming plaque. it's the plaque that causes heart attacks. >> if you look in the coronary care unit at people that have heart attacks, the cholesterol levels of those who have heart attacks versus those in the street who have it are essentially the same. >> that is kind of surprising. right? because you'll hear people exchanging their cholesterol numbers. if it is low they seem quite proud of it. if it is high, there's cause for concern. you say that that's -- you know what? you're not looking in the right place. >> that's essentially useless. >> reporter: here's what does matter, he says. the size of your ldl, or bad cholesterol particles. larger ldl particles don't pose much of a threat because they pass through the blood vessels without sticking. it is the smaller ldl particles that are more likely to lodge in the walls of blood vessels and cause a build-up of plaque. >> if they're small, you can have a lot of little particles
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that penetrate the vessel wall more easily. there are a lot of little old ladies in their 80s with very high cholesterols who have squeaky clean vessels. they have very large cholesterol particles and they don't get in to the vessel wall. >> so you have to ask about the size of the particles as well when it comes to bad cholesterol. >> yes. >> reporter: that's why the doctor wants a blood sample. >> i don't think anyone likes getting their blood drawn. >> reporter: he wants to find out if i have a lot of small ldl particles. a sign that i could be prone to building up plaque no matter what my overall cholesterol number is. coming up -- i was incredibly lucky that something more severe didn't happen. >> lessons from former president clinton. and pictures don't lie. i learn if my arteries are young or old. time to find out what fate has to offer me. and a controversial diet. this 66-year-old woman says she's eating her way to heart health. >> we're never going to end the
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epidemic with stents, with bypasses, with the drugs, because none of it is treating causation of the illness. icing s that serve our country. my name is marjorie reyes. i'm a chief warrant officer. i am very grateful and appreciative that quicken loans can offer service members va loans. it was very important for me to be able to close and refinance my home quickly. i wanted to lower my mortgage payment. quicken loans guided me through every step of the process. the whole experience was amazing! [ tony ] serving those who serve us all... one more way quicken loans is engineered to amaze. [ kimberly ] the university gave me the knowledge to make a difference in people's lives. [ carrie ] you're studying how to be an effective leader. [ cherie ] you're dealing with professionals, teaching things that they were doing every day. [ kimberly ] i manage a network of over a thousand nurses. [ carrie ] i helped turn an at-risk school into an award-winning school. [ cherie ] i'm responsible for the largest urban renewal project in utah. [ kimberly ] and university of phoenix made it possible.
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spend just a few minutes with bill clinton, and you'll see he's a changed man. for starters, he's a lot thinner than he was as president. when his half-hearted exercise routine -- >> really out of shape though.
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>> reporter: -- and his taste for fast food became the stuff of parody. >> your mcnugget is really from great britain. from somalia. >> reporter: dr. dean ornish has stud bied and written about diet and heart disease for decades. >> mrs. clinton asked me if i would work with the chefs who cook for the first family and then began working with president clinton directly as one of his consulting physicians. the president did like unhealthy food and we were able to put soy burgers in the white house, for example, and have him get foods that were delicious and nutritious. >> reporter: but even with dr. ornish's help, in 1999 after his annual physical, the white house doctor said the president had put on 18 pounds since a check-up just two years earlier. while diet and ekxercise can goa long way, most doctors will tell you to get to the last heart attack in america, there is
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more. >> there was public knowledge he was going through some rather stressful times during that time. it just goes to show you that information alone is not sufficient. we need to work at a deeper level. we need to work with the underlying stresses that people are experiencing, the loeblness and isolation in many cases that people are experiencing. >> try taking the weight towards the balls of the feet. >> reporter: that's why dr. ornish includes yoga, meditation and group sessions at his institute in sausalito, california. >> i came to vermont determined to get my cholesterol down with low fat ben and jerry's cherry garcia. >> reporter: we now know when president clinton was president he passed his annual physicals but his heart disease was still progressing. undetected. i asked his cardiologist why. >> one lesson is that check-ups are not a substitute for
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lifestyle. >> reporter: as president, bill clinton never got any of the advanced imaging, like the coronary calcium scan or the ultrasound of his carotid. those are tests that are now more ready available to everyone. and clinton was also getting a false sense of assurance from the testing he did have. and it was the year he left office when he had the first symptoms of heart disease. >> in 2001 when chelsea was graduating from stanford, i started running again. i wanted to get in good shape and i thought, this is crazy. i couldn't run more than three-quarters after mile without stopping and walking 100 yards and getting my breath back. >> reporter: three years later, the bypass operation with dr. craig smith. president clinton's heart troubles were not over. when the devastating earthquake struck haiti in 2010, president clinton flew to port-au-prince to support the relief efforts.
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i spent time with him and saw that he looked tired, not himself. >> got all pale and weak and then i got all these letters from the doctor crowd saying, yeah, it's normal because fools like you won't do what you're supposed to do because you don't eat like you should, don't exercise like you should. >> reporter: the doctor said it was a mechanical failure of the bypass and he needed stents to open the blocked artery. >> i got so lucky they were able to put those two stents in, you know, and fix an artery that was pretty bent and ugly. >> the goal of the treatment and i think it will be achieved is for president clinton to resume his very active lifestyle. this was not a result of either his lifestyle or his diet which have been excellent. >> reporter: but dr. dean ornish didn't see it that way. >> so i wrote him a letter.
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i said the friends that mean to most to me are friends that tell me what i need to hear, not what i want to hear. your genes are not your fate and i say this not to blame you but to empower you and i'm happy to work with you in whatever extent you want to move forward in that way. we met a few days later and he was ready to do it. >> i essentially concluded that i just played russian roulette because even though i had changed my diet some and cut down on the caloric total of my ingestion and cut back on how much high-cholesterol food i was e eating, i still -- without any scientific basis to support what i did was taking in a lot of extra cholesterol and clearly my body didn't dispose of it and clearly that's why i had that blockage. i should have changed after the surgery. >> coming up -- president clinton transforms his diet to save his heart.
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and what is life like after heart surgery? tom bare's painful recovery and his complications. >> walked about .3 mile and it was excruciating. also, she said no to surgery and dwroe food as medicine. we'll tell you if it's working. you could save a bundle with geico's multi-policy discount. geico, saving people money on more than just car iance. ♪ geic
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i'm martin savidge. here's a look at the headlines.
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on the outer banks of north carolina, long after irene slammed ashore, we're seeing the worst devastation in vermont. southern half of the state essentially under water, hundreds of roads, entire communities. authorities assume there are casualties but have no idea how many or where. mount pillier, the capital, is bracing for major emergency ahead after river crest early monday. along the eastern seaboard, more than 4 million people are tonight without electricity. at least 18 deaths are being blamed on irene in seven states. among the victims -- an 11-year-old boy killed by a falling tree. it is far too early for an accurate estimate of damages but wind damage alone projected to top $1 billion. the carolinas alone could reach $400 million.
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where is irene now? well, speeding into southeast canada with top sustained winds still clocked at 50 miles an hour. now back to the sanjay gupta gupta special -- "the last heart attack." in lincoln, nebraska, 53-year-old teacher tom bare has emrnlgerged from 3 1/2-hour byp surgery an operation that required his heart to be stopped for more than an hour. he's in the intensive cardiac care unit, the first stop on a slow, painful recovery. >> little sore. little hoarse. little tired. but other than that, pretty good. >> reporter: bare doesn't know it yet, but he's heading for a life threatening complication. one that will soon have him back in the operating room.
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>> it is nice to be home. you can -- they say you heal ten times faster and you feel 100% b better. i didn't have any idea of how uncomfortable i was going to be just doing little things. like getting out of bed in the morning was the hardest thing to do. >> reporter: life after bypass surgery. for tom bare means it is three weeks before he takes his first walk outside. and gets a painful warning of trouble ahead. >> little worried back there. my arm's starting to hurt. that's gone, now it's just hard to catch my breath. >> reporter: i spoke to tom bare right before his operation. >> what happened? >> none of the arteries worked. >> did they say that this was pretty unusual? >> never seen before.
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>> wow. that's not the kind of luck you want. >> no, no, not at all. so the doctor's just going to use veins today. >> reporter: complications are an unfortunate part of the process for 12% of the people who have bypass surgery. 1 in 300 patients need a second operation within two years and 1 in 20 receive stents during that time. bill clinton needed to have one of his blood vessels re-opened six years after his operation. after getting the stents to open up that blocked artery in 2010, former president clinton says he decided to make changes in his diet. this time around, he decided to get much more strict, radical even in his approach. no more meat.
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no more eggs. no more dairy. almost no oil. the mantra is, eat nothing that has a mother or a face. talked about the fact that you loved to eat. >> you know, i like the stuff i eat. i like the vegetables, fruits and beans, the stuff i eat now i like. >> do you call yourself a vegan now then? >> well, i suppose i am if i don't don't eat dairy or meat or fish. >> so you've cut all that out. >> once in a while, literally in well over a year now, at thanksgiving, i had one bite of turkey. >> you're doing this for your health. >> yes. >> is that why you're doing it? >> absolutely. >> reporter: clinton's dietary guides, dean ornish and this guy, caldwell esleston at the cleveland clinic. >> apparently he read my book. i've never met the man. >> he wrote me a letter saying i
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was even cheating online because he was afraid in my protein drink i had some dairy in there. it was hilarious. and i checked and on one of them, he was right. i only had done it once. >> you check it out. >> yeah, i did. >> reporter: every month the 77-year-old esleston holds a day-long seminar attracting doctors and heart patients from across the country -- like sharon, a retired private investigator from canton, ohio. she had a heart attack six months earlier after a coronary artery became completely block. >> he said, for someone who had what you have, the only warning you usually get is death. and at that point i really knew how lucky i was. >> reporter: like a lot of women, she did not experience the classic chest pain. but rather, fatigue and a pain in her jaw. >> he said you're going to have to have open heart surgery. he says i can fix you today. i can just take you right down to o.r. and i can operate on you
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right now. my son was in there and he was ready to wheel me down to the operating room because he was frantic. you know, it is terrifying. >> reporter: what she did next may surprise you. she turned the surgeon down cold. said no to open heart surgery and decided to take a chance -- >> i bought some parsnips the other day. always have sweet potatoes on hand. >> reporter: using food as medicine. >> i love these. >> reporter: like president clinton, she has given up the foods she loves like butter and cheese. she's betting her life on dr. ses esleston's diet. >> she had a heart attack, doctors recommend she have intervention, sl a downside? could she be putting herself at risk? >> no. data going back over 20 years and this most recent study about a decade, once they start eating this way you'll make your heart heart attack proof.
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>> heart attack proof. >> we know that if people are eating this way they are not going to have a heart attack. >> reporter: esleston thinks heart disease is completely preventable, no matter what sort of family history you have simply by eating right. >> it is a food-borne illness and we're never going to end the epidemic with with stents, with bypasses, with the drugs, because none of it is treating causation of the illness. >> reporter: he has won some allies, like dr. terry mason. >> is there anybody who doesn't know what it is? >> reporter: chief medical officer at cook county hospitals in chicago and the city's former public health commissioner. >> we've eaten ourselves into a problem and we can eat ourselves out of it. >> reporter: but it also puts es sell ston squarely against conventional wisdom which considers indict only a padiet only part after heart-healthy lifestyle. >> if doctors said heart disease is a food-borne disease, if you follow this very restrictive diet, in exchange you're not
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going to have a heart attack. what would you say to that? you agree with that? >> i would say that's an overstatement, an oversimplification and overstatement of really what we're able to do. even though i know there are people who say it. >> reporter: without a doubt, esleston is one of those people. general surgeon by training, not a cardiologist and he holds no special degree in nutrition. but during his research he came upon a stunning fact. some cultures around the world like people living in central africa, new guinea highlanders, indians in mexico, have virtually no heart disease. none. so what can we learn from them? coming up -- taking a page from the heart-healthiest sports on the globe. the diet. dr. esleston says can make you heart attack-proof. od. ♪ [ female announcer ] we're throwing away misperceptions
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♪ i like the way you sing ♪ and when you dance with me ♪ you always make me smile [ male announcer ] we believe you're at your best when you can relax and be yourself. and at thousands of newly refreshed holiday inn hotels, you always can. holiday inn. stay you. and now stay rewarded with vacation pay. stay two weekend nights and get a $75 prepaid card. mr. president, how are you? >> great. >> reporter: since leaving office, bill clinton has made his own health an the health of the country his top domestic priority. i saw him firsthand when he invited me to little rock. last time we spoke a few weeks ago you said you were going to be really strict on the diet. were you doing pretty good job,
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you say. >> yeah, i'm doing it more strict now. >> are you? >> yeah. by the time i have my 65th birthday, i want to weigh what i did when i went home from law school in 1973. >> wow. >> that's what i'm working on. >> that's a grand am bigs. i like that. how much was that? will you tell us? >> i got down to 185. now i got down there when chelsea was married, i weighed about 192. which is what i weighed when i graduated from high school. anything under 195 was my optimum weight my whole life but in the summer of '73 we had a scorching hot summer and i ran three miles a day at the hottest hour of the day which i could do back then in order to make the pounds go off and it was the first time since i was 13 years old that i had weighed 185 pounds. i'm going to try one more time to make it. >> president clinton's diet -- no meat, no dairy, almost no oil, got me thinking, how different what he's eating now
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as compared to what he used to eat and what most of us still eat. make a habit of high-fat, high-cholesterol meals like this and you can physically see the beginnings of heart disease. for starters, your blood actually looks different. >> so let's start by looking at what healthy blood looks like after it has been centrifuged or spun. you can see there are two components. this bottom layer represents the blood cells and this top player represents the plasma. the plasma is a clear yellow layer that contains mostly water and electrolytes. >> reporter: here's what happens to your blood if you follow an unhealthy diet. the top layer is white and cloudy. it's just laden with heart clogging fat and cholesterol. >> you have some easy-to-remember adages about how people can decide what they should or should not eat. >> we know what they shouldn't eat. that is oil, dairy, meat, fish and chicken. what do we want them to eat? we want them to eat all those
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whole grains for their cereal, bread and pasta, beans, vegetables, yellow, red, green and fruit. now what particular vegetables do we want them to have? bach choy, swi. >> reporter: nothing with a mother. nothing with a face. you can imagine, the meat, egg and dairy associations think that's a terrible idea. >> incorporating lean beef into a healthy diet can actually help you stick to a healthy diet because it is a food that people enjoy. >> extra source of egg -- eggs a source of 13 vitamins and minerals. >> dairy products are very nutrient-rich. you get a lot of nutrients for every cal ray that you consume. >> reporter: a plant-based diet runs up against our meat-loving culture. >> us doctors eat meat because most americans eat meat. if they don't really see for
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themselves or their own families why it might be a good idea to cut back or even cut meat out of your diet all together then they may not be so inclined to trem for their patients. >> reporter: even doctors who do see the benefits of the esleston diet may not recommend it to patients. >> anybody who's able to do that diet can have dramatic success. the problem is is that many people are unable or unwilling to make these changes and so in my practice, i try to take baby steps one step at a time. >> reporter: and dean ornish said when it comes to diet, it's not all or thog. >> one of the interesting findings in all of our studies, the more people changed their diet and lifestyle the more they improved in direct proportion. >> i was curious about the science between dr. esleston's claims so i dug up some of these peer review journals. they are small, just a handful of patients but the results are pretty impressive. in one study, patients on the diet had no heart attacks or any coronary events of any sort
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after five years an three-quarters of these patients actually saw their blockages get smaller. you're not talking about just reducing your chance of heart disease. you're talking about potentially reversing heart disease. >> oh, absolutely. >> the lay wisdom is that once you develop these plaques, they're there, you're stuck with them. try not to let them get worse. is that faulty thinking? >> i think it's absolutely faulty thinking. >> reporter: here's a picture esleston likes to show of a heart patient with a blocked coronary artery, and here's that same patient after going on a plant-based diet. you see the way the blockage has almost disappeared? sharon survived a heart attack a year ago after a coronary artery became completely block. now she's counting on the esleston diet to keep her from having another. >> thankfully your heart muscle funks is normal. >> reporter: kim's cardiologist says -- so far, so good -- with the diet. >> it is a difficult sell but those who get on to it have benefited from it, without
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question. >> reporter: i asked sharon to meet me here in new york city. cooking at home is one thing, but eating on the road, eating on the run, that's quite another. as the old saying goes, if her diet can make it here, it can make it anywhere. 46th and broadway, please. sharon? how are you? when you cook at home it is lot more in your control. what's the most difficult thing when you're on the road? >> when i see here, i see pizza, which it is not because i'm sure there's oil in it. and pizza, that looks like pepperoni. when i look up here i see pasta. so my question would be, when i go in, do you have whole wheat pasta. then my second question is can you prepare it without oil. that's not -- that's a not. but they have pasta and they have salad. >> okay, so here's another restaurant. i'm going to take some advice from you. you look at a menu like this. tell me what comes to your mind.
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>> the majority on there, i'm not going to eat. >> you are you a just focusing on salads is it. >> no, not really. could i have the baby spinach leaves minus the chicken. i could have the peaches, strawberries, forget the walnuts. >> is this a restaurant that you would -- >> oh, yeah, if i was hungry, you bet. >> you'd eat a meal here? >> you bet i could. >> she is a true pleefr. so is former president bill clinton and nowadays they have a lot of high-powered company. all of these ceos and former ceos are either vegetarians or vegans. coming up what some schools are doing now so kids don't get heart disease later. dr. agatsyn tells me if i should be worried. tinted moisturizers with scientifically proven soy complex and natural minerals. give you sheer coverage instantly, then go on to even skin tone in four weeks. aveeno tinted moisturizers.
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and started earning loads of points. you got a weather balloon with points? yes i did. [ man ] points i could use for just about anything. ♪ ♪ there it is. [ man ] so i used mine to get a whole new perspective.
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♪ [ male announcer ] the new citi thankyou premier card gives you more ways to earn points. what's your story? citi can help you write it. >> reporter: the former president once told me he likes to see results. he's helped with relief efforts after the tsunami in asia and the earthquake in haiti. he worked on getting affordable aids drugs to africa. he and his foundation are seeing results closer to home like at the northeast elementary magnet school in danville, illinois. >> on your mark, get set, go! >> reporter: at northeast magnet students have phys ed every day. more than one in five schools in the united states don't require p.e. at all. fresh fruits and vegetables are on the menu every day.
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no more fried foods. no more french fries. fruits and vegetables at every school lunch. again, that seems like it should be the way it is. >> shows you how far afield we have gotten. there were so many people, schools that were serving lunches that didn't have fruits and vegetables because they contracted with firms to provide them and they were trying to save money. and the kids were happy with pizza and french fries or whatever. >> reporter: right. >> i told you years ago when we started this i didn't know how much of a dent we could make in this. changing a culture is hard. it's turning a ship around before it hits the iceberg. but i think we are beginning to turn around. >> does anybody know what a cardiologist is? >> reporter: dr. arthur agatson is focused on young people.
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the south beach diet author focused on working with students in philadelphia on healthy eating. >> mm! wow. >> reporter: efforts like this these come at a time when obesity and diabetes are at all-time highs. in the next 20 years, the american heart association predicts 33 million more americans will have heart disease. unless we change. >> we are very concerned because we are seeing the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease increasing. >> reporter: would you call yourself healthy now? >> well, i think i'm healthier than i was. you know, i lost 20-something pounds. all my blood tests are good. all my vital signs are good and i feel good. i actually believe it or not have more energy. i seem to need less sleep. >> once you begin making changes most people find they feel so much better so quickly it
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refrains the reason for making the changes from fear of dying to joy of living. >> reach back with your right hand. >> reporter: a year into her diet, a year after her heart attack, she feels great. simply walking tired her out 12 months ago. sharon, do you think this can make you live longer? >> i hope so. i hope i get to see you retire. >> i have a feeling you have to live a very long time. which i hope you do. >> i hope i do, too. yeah. well, you know what? if i don't live longer, i know i'm going to live more of a quality life. >> reporter: and sharon is doing it using food as medicine. for tom it was a tougher road. he required surgery. >> i was told i was going to feel like a million dollars. that hasn't happened yet. i'm still waiting for that, that
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payoff. i'm told that i'm good for another 40 years or so. i'm hoping that's the case, but with my history i'm going to have to watch it. >> reporter: so what about me? i have a family history. am i heart attack-proof? a couple weeks ago i met with dr. agatston to gauge my likelihood of having a heart attack. >> sanjay, good to see you. >> reporter: time to see what fate has for me. >> we had good news when we did the images. you had no plaque on the calcium score. your carotids were very young, like a spring chicken. >> reporter: someone made a comment to me that there is a four-year guarantee. >> yes. i would extend it to five to seven years. >> reporter: based on what you have seen before we go over there, five to seven years if i'm feeling chest pains probably
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not a heart attack. >> yeah. >> reporter: more good newses. looking at my bad cholesterol, the ldl, they are mostly large particles, the kind that don't turn into plaque in vessels: putting it all together, what can you tell me? >> you are at low risk for future heart attack though there is a family history. clearly the lifestyle that you maintain your weight, do exercise has helped decrease your risk. >> reporter: if diet and exercise can make someone like me low risk for a heart attack, even with a strong family history, that's encouraging. >> i don't think there is any question that not only could we be past our last heart attack, but the vast majority of people, even my age, if they are prepared to change their diet, exercise more could actually reverse a lot of their


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