1: That’s one of the questions Dr. Scott Conard and Vince Vince Poscente pose in their book Which Door?
The answer: Typically, we’d feel fine.
“As a young doctor, in practice for 7 years, I got a phone call one evening while eating dinner at home,” Scott recalls. “A shaking voice on the other end of the phone said, ‘Doctor, I just found John on the floor and he was blue. I called 911 and tried to do CPR, but he really did not look good. They just left for the emergency room.'”
Scott rushed to the hospital. One look at the face of the ER doctor told him his patient hadn’t made it.
“Waiting for my patient’s wife in the waiting room of the ER, I felt like I was in a bubble,” he recalls. “I remember thinking, How could that be? He was one of my good friends, and he had said he felt fine. I just saw him in my office. How could he be dead now?”
2: Within a year, he had lost two female patients. One had died in her sleep, and the other one was hiking with her family and collapsed on a mountain trail.
“The most stunning thing about these stories is that all three of them were in their 40s,” Scott and Vince write.
Each of them had visited Scott’s office within 90 days of their passing. Each of them told him they felt “fine.” And now, each of them was dead.
“As you can imagine,” Scott reflects, “I was doing everything I knew to be a great doctor, and these three deaths were devastating and had me searching for answers.”
Which led him to a key insight: “There is a 5- to 15-year window before the heart attack or stroke during which it could have been averted.”
3: Scott’s epiphany aligns with a new approach to medicine. What Dr. Peter Attia calls “Medicine 3.0.”
Our entire healthcare system, or Medicine 2.0, is focused on healing patients when they get sick.
We treat someone after they have a heart attack.
Or after they are diagnosed with cancer. Or diabetes. Or Alzheimer’s disease.
Medicine 3.0 takes an altogether different approach.
Rather than treating the heart attack after it occurs, the goal is to avoid that first heart attack. Or to prevent someone from getting on the path to Alzheimer’s disease.
Medicine 2.0’s biggest failure ” is attempting to treat all these conditions at the wrong end of the timescale,” Peter writes in his book Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity, “after they are entrenched—rather than before they take root.
“As a result, we ignore important warning signs and miss opportunities to intervene at a point where we still have a chance to beat back these diseases, improve health, and potentially extend lifespan.”
Chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, neurodegenerative disease, and type 2 diabetes build slowly over time. Once they become established, it’s often too late.
Which is why Medicine 3.0 focuses on prevention.
The goal is “not to patch people up and get them out the door, removing their tumors and hoping for the best, but rather to prevent the tumors from appearing and spreading in the first place.”
Reflection: How might I change my mindset regarding my health to focus more on prevention than treatment?
Action: Discuss with a colleague, friend, or family member.