Are you at Risk for Heart Disease?

Last month’s untimely death of the King of The Sopranos, James Gandolfini was a huge wake-up to call to my overweight baby boomer husband. Fifty-one year old Gandolfini, who stood at 6 ft. tall and weighed in at about 300 lbs., was one of an estimated 2,150 people who die per day from a heart attack in the United States, according to the American Heart Association.

If your partner is like my husband, he probably hasn’t seen his doctor. In fact, men see their physicians for checkups about half as often as women do, according to Men’s Health Network, a nonprofit group.

Unfortunately, the sudden death of Gandolfini was the motivation my husband needed to look into heart disease. A report conducted by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said almost half of Americans have at least one of the top three risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, or smoking.

Dr. Richard Fogel, a cardiologist at St. Vincent Heart Center of Indiana confirms that the beginning of arthrosclerosis which causes coronary disease can happen in young men in their 20’s. Fogel recommends that early action is the key in preventing an early death from heart disease. The CDC says the major symptoms are:

Chest pain or discomfort
• Upper body pain or discomfort in the arms, back neck jar or upper stomach.
• Shortness of breath, nausea, lightheadedness, or cold sweats

July’s issue of Time Magazine featured Dr. Oz’s Heart Health Checklist.
Dr. Oz stresses four key points:

Take charge of your life- Watch the intake of sugar, salt and fats.
• Beware of belly fat-overeating that leads to excess belly fat is particularly dangerous. If your waist size at the belly button-not your belt size-is more than half of your height, you need a checkup.
• S.O.B warned-pay attention to shortness of breath or a change in stamina. These can be telltale signs of cardiovascular trouble.
• The Last Supper- Dr. Oz wants to know what you ate on Sunday. Most heart attacks occur on Monday morning because of weekend binges that are combined with the stressors of the new week.

The lesson learned from the tough Mafia character of “Tony Soprano,” is that wise guys need to watch their weight. Although genetics, diet, and exercise do play a significant role in heart disease prevention, it is important to schedule a complete physical and not ignore the obvious signs of impending heart disease.


About the author

I am passionate about sharing senior citizen news and resources discovered from both my profession and personal journey.

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