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The South Beach Heart Program: The 4-Step Plan that Can Save Your Life (Random House Large Print) Hardcover – Large Print, December 26, 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 98 customer reviews

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Book Description
A pioneering cardiologist and the author of the international bestseller The South Beach Diet presents the truth about cardiac care in this country and offers his proven program for preventing heart attacks and strokes.

This year alone more than 1 million men and women in this country will suffer a heart attack or stroke. The shocking fact is that the majority of heart attacks and strokes can be prevented with the medical knowledge we already possess. Yet this isn’t happening. Why? Because doctors and hospitals are paid more to treat disease with invasive techniques like angioplasty and bypass surgery than to prevent it. In his most personal and passionate work yet, Dr. Arthur Agatston champions a revolution in heart disease prevention that will enable people to stay out of the hospital and off the operating table.

In Part 1 of this compelling book, he tells you why seemingly healthy people can suddenly have a heart attack and why people with great cholesterol numbers can be walking time bombs. He explains why belly fat can be an early warning sign of future heart disease and why a noninvasive heart scan can help predict your risk of heart attack. In Part 2, he presents the South Beach Heart Program, his 4-step plan for detecting, preventing, and even reversing heart disease: The 4 steps include: Heart-healthy eating, regular aerobic and core-strengthening exercise, state-of-the art diagnostic testing, and the latest heart-protective medications, as necessary. Thanks to his aggressive prevention approach, Dr. Agatston rarely sees a heart attack or stroke in his practice. Now you can benefit from the prevention strategy he uses to help his patients every day.

"What Size Is Your Cholesterol?"
An Essay by Arthur Agatston, MD
You may think that the title of this article is a mistake and that I meant to say, "What Number Is Your Cholesterol?" But the fact is that the size of your cholesterol is just as important as the total number. If that surprises you, there is a good chance that much of what you think you know about cholesterol is wrong and that what you don't know about cholesterol could be killing you.

Luckily, there are now tests that can determine the size of your cholesterol and whether it is a problem. And there are steps you can take to do something about it if it is. As I explain in The South Beach Heart Program, the earlier you know where you stand in terms of your risk for heart disease, the greater your chance of preventing a heart attack or stroke in the future.

Before I go into how you can find out the size of your cholesterol, let me give you a little background on cholesterol in general.

Continue reading "What Size Is Your Cholesterol?"

--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.


“Dr. Agatston has been a guest on my show with this book. Unfortunately, it was too late to help me but, maybe, not you. The doctor is here with a revolution that can save your life.” ―Regis Philbin

“Another masterpiece! The author of The South Beach Diet has taken a sharpshooter's aim at heart disease, the Normandy Beach for half of all Americans.” ―Mehmet Oz, M.D., bestselling coauthor of You: An Owner's Manual and You: On a Diet

“This book is a must-read for everyone who wonders about their risk, and the risk of a loved one, to suffer a heart attack and what to do about it.” ―H. Robert Superko, MD, FACC[MD1] , FAHA; chairman, Molecular, Genetic, and Preventative Cardiology, Fuqua Heart Center of Atlanta

“Highly recommended reading for all Americans affected by or interested in preventing heart disease.” ―The Diet Channel

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Random House Large Print
  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Large Print (December 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 073932635X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739326350
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,530,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Wayne TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Several years ago, my doctor put me on the South Beach Diet after tests showed high cholesterol. Having a roll of fat around my belly didn't help either. I was hesitant to go on a diet, because everything I heard had led me to believe that they don't work, and that I'd just end up putting the weight back on, and adding several pounds beyond that. But the diet said that I could eat normal portions, and indeed did not have to limit how much I ate of most things, so long as I stuck with healthful foods. Since getting my blood chemistry right was the issue, not losing weight, I figured I'd give it a try. And I figured that if my love handles went away, so much the better.

As it turned out, following the South Beach Diet book, by the same author, not only got my cholesterol into the normal range, where it has stayed for years, but had a side effect of my waist size dropping by five inches. Although the diet worked well, I thought that the diet book could have been written better.

This new book represents a focus and maturity that his earlier books lacked. It deals with the broader area of heart health, not just diet and exercise. Although it is still repetitive in some places, it does a good job driving home the points that it sets out to make. Just as his earlier book showed me that most of what I learned about diet while growing up was just plain wrong, Agatston shows that what most people knew about heart attacks and related conditions, including what cardiologists knew, was wrong.

What was lacking in the earlier book was a clear path for the dieter whose goal was to improve health more than lose weight. This new book gives a better framework in that respect.
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Format: Hardcover
I've been overweight my entire life but my blood chemistry tests have always been excellent so I took good heart health for granted. That is, until my dad had quintuple bypass surgery last summer. That was a major wake-up call for me and my search for information led me to Dr. Agatson's book.

Dr. Agatson explains that we have the knowledge and technology to almost eliminate heart attacks and strokes. In the book, he outlines a four-part program to protect yourself from heart disase. The four parts, in no particular order, are as follows:

Part One: Diet. Not surprisingly, Dr. Agatston recommends his South Beach Diet to prevent cardiovascular disease.

Part Two: Exercise. Again, no surprise here. A sensible program of cardiovascular and strength training is included in the book.

Part Three: Diagnostic tests. This was the most surprising part of the book for me. Dr. Agatston describes several critical but rarely used tests that can give your physician a great deal of information about your chances of having a heart attack. He also discusses some more commonly used tests, such as the new calcium scoring heart scans (which, incidentally, Dr. Agatston developed...it rates your calcium as an "Agatston score").

Part Four: Medication and supplements. Dr. Agatson discusses over-the-counter supplements that are beneficial as well as prescription medications. Several of the prescription medications are used based on the results of the diagnostic tests described in part three.

Perhaps the most eye-opening part of the book is the explantion of how a heart attack occurs. The notion of plaque gradually building up in your arteries until it blocks the blood flow is incorrect.
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Format: Hardcover
This book clears up the fallacies of the old "plumber's model" of how the heart works and explains the difference between hard plaque and soft plaque. I learned a lot about how diet and exercise affect triglicerides, insulin, abdominal fat, diabetes, and heart disease. Dr. Agatston goes into a lot of detail about lipid profiles, heart medications, invasive procedures and preventative measures. It is well-written, not condescending at all, and dispells some old myths about heart disease.

In the exercise section I have a problem with the Pilates knee pull, leg pulls and lifts, and bicycle, which can put a lot of strain on the lumbar spine, since there is no mention or picture showing lumbar support. I base this on experience and on Stuart McGill. Ph.D's research on spine biomechanics. Sometimes an exercise is great for muscles but not so healthy for the spine.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is essential reading.

Have you ever been to a cardiologist? I've been to lots. The South Beach Heart Program will teach you more valuable lessons about what you can do to improve your health than if you consulted every cardiologist you could find.

Why do you need to learn those lessons? Most of what you've been told about heart health is wrong. For example, most people have been told that the higher your cholesterol level the more likely you are to have a heart attack. Yet, more people with low cholesterol have heart attacks than those with high cholesterol. Like most things, the answer is more complicated. It all depends on what kind of cholesterol you have: And you probably don't know how to interpret or ask for the right kinds of lab tests. This book will cure those kinds of misunderstandings.

Basically, there's been a shift in what we understand about heart disease in the last few years. The older (and incorrect) view is that you need to sluice out the arteries and all will be well (much like what a plumber does). The newer (and more correct) view is that arteries become damaged and need to be healed. This book explores the implications of the newer view.

How can you tell what kind of cardiologist you have? If they favor heart bypass surgery, balloon catheterization, and stents, you've got a plumber. If they oppose those methods, you've got a healer.

Long before he was taking dozens of pounds off millions of people with his South Beach Diet, Dr. Agatston was a well-respected cardiologist. In this book, you see the four elements that he prescribes for his patients to virtually eliminate heart disease:

1. Follow the South Beach Diet.

2. Exercise according to the South Beach Heart Workout.
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