If I Start Exercising, Eat Right, Stop Smoking, And Take My Medicines, Will My Heart Disease Go Away?

Dr. Califf answers the question: 'Will My Heart Disease Go Away?'

— -- Question: If I start exercising, eat right, stop smoking, and take my medicines, will my heart disease go away?

Answer: Someone who already has coronary artery disease should hold out great hope that by living right -- that is, exercising, eating the right diet, losing weight, taking the proper medications -- there should be great hope that nothing bad would happen for a long period of time, but unfortunately, we have no treatment that causes the coronary artery disease to go away once you have it.

Therefore, one should not give up either, because these treatments are effective -- that is, they prevent the progression of the disease, and have a great chance of reducing the risk that a heart attack, a sudden death, or heart failure would occur -- which, of course, if we can have a good quality of life, would be very important.

It's critical, of course, to realize that for many people, coronary disease is a disease of aging; that is, it happens in later years of life, and as much as we'd like to, we're not going to live forever. So, the goal of much of the treatment of this disease is not to make it go away -- we don't really know how to do that, but it's to greatly improve the quality of life, and to reduce the bad things happening to you. Therefore, in no way would I give up, I would get even stronger about these measures, which are critical to having a good and long life.

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