The Christian Broadcasting Network

The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Retired vascular surgeon, more than 30 years

Author, Prescription for Life (2014)

Co-founder World Medical Mission, Samaritan’s Purse

Board member, Samaritan’s Purse

Past president, North Carolina Chapter of the American College of Surgeons

Past president, North Carolina Surgical Society

2 term governor of the American College of Surgeons

Married to Harriet

Guest Bio

Turn Back the Clock on Aging! PREVENTING ARTERIAL DAMAGE                 

Dr. Furman has operated on blockages of arteries throughout the body: arteries to the heart, to the brain, kidneys and legs.  He says more than half of all Americans, as well as people in many other countries, will die because of what is going on in their arteries.  “Without a change in lifestyle on the part of the patient, the damage to the arteries continues after surgery is done,” says Dr. Furman.  Instead of continuing to operate on the symptoms of aging, Dr. Furman decided to try to save lives by teaching people how to prevent what causes the demise of more than half of Americans.  Dr. Furman has spent his lifetime researching the aging process and has developed a 3-part strategic lifestyle plan that will turn back the clock of aging!   

When he was 42, Dr. Furman tried on a pair of pants on sale in a store.  They were too tight.  At that moment, Dr. Furman decided to get his weight back to what he remembered as an ideal weight of 140 pounds.  He started a stringent program with no snacks and smaller portions.  Three months later, he bought those pants.  Soon Dr. Furman started exercising.  “The key to the strongest heart possible was a lifestyle of exercise,” he says.  The more research Dr. Furman did, the more he realized that even with his two lifestyle changes that he would have to examine the food he was eating.  He read about the significantly harmful effects that saturated fat and dietary cholesterol had on the arteries.  “If I wanted to stay as young as physiologically possible, I needed to cut out the foods that were causing plaque buildup in my arteries,” says Dr. Furman.

The condition of the arteries determines how well the body is supplied with all it needs to function at 100 percent.   “If your arteries age, you age,” says Dr. Furman.  He says we may never have any symptoms of blockage in our arteries but he assures us that we have cholesterol deposits building up in our arteries.  “Don’t let your first symptom be death,” says Dr. Furman.  Sometimes our initial symptoms may be more devastating than death.  Dr. Furman says strokes occur when an artery in the brain ruptures resulting in bleeding into the brain tissue, or by the artery becoming blocked, cutting off oxygen to that area of the brain.  He also believes Alzheimer’s can be prevented.  This process of intellectual deterioration is called dementia and is the 6th leading cause of death in America.  “Arterial aging is a major cause of memory loss,” he says.

Dr. Furman shares the 3-lifestyle changes we need to stay younger longer:

  1. Eating the right foods.  One report showed that adults who ate mainly whole-grain cereals, fruits, vegetables, nuts pasta, fish, rich and poultry had a reduced risk of overall early mortality and cardiovascular mortality as well as a reduced incidence of cancer.  Avoid:  red meat, egg yolks, cheese, whole milk, butter and anything fried.
  2. Maintaining an ideal weight.  For men, use 105 pounds as a baseline for the first 5 feet and 5 pounds for every inch thereafter.  For women, use 95 pounds as a baseline for the first 5 feet and 4 pounds for every inch thereafter. 
  3. Committing to a life of exercise.  Numerous reports show a sedentary lifestyle is just as dangerous for your heart and brain as smoking.  Dr. Furman suggests 30 minutes, 6 days a week.

“Prevention is the greatest thing for staying younger longer,” says Dr. Furman. 

At the conclusion of cancer patients' appointment times (he knows every person with cancer thinks about eternity), Dr. Furman asks them if they want him to discuss eternity with them.  “I do not force any discussion on them,” he says.  He shares the Gospel with people because as a surgeon Dr. Furman wants his patients to have the healthiest lives.  He wants them to live younger longer, and even longer throughout eternity. Dr. Furman is the co-founder of the medical arm of Franklin Graham’s Samaritan Purse called World Medical Mission. 

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