Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It Can Happen to You

James Gandolfini died of a heart attack at age 51.  Sadly, this is all too ordinary.  You know why it is ordinary?  It is ordinary because no one really thinks they will have a heart attack. The fact is that if you live in the USA and eat a normal western diet, you are at risk.  If you go to restaurants, the portion sizes are much too large filled with way too much artery clogging fat and a huge amount of salt.  Most families eat out more than they do at home.  Hey, I get it.  I am busy and totally domestically challenged.  All I am saying is that you might want to reconsider.

Do you know what numbers you should know?  Click here to find out what numbers you should know.  Go ahead, I'll wait.  So, you've clicked and now you have learned from the American Heart Association what numbers are important.  I hear you saying, my numbers aren't bad, I'm not at risk.  Are you sure?  My blood pressure was 110/70 and my total cholesterol was 134 and I had a massive heart attack.  So tell me now that you aren't at risk if your numbers are good. You exercise so you aren't at risk?  Well, meet Jen at My Life in Red.  She is a distance runner and suffered a heart attack. You don't have any family history of heart disease so you aren't at risk?  Neither did I and have I mentioned that I suffered a massive heart attack?

You've been to the doctor and he or she has told you you need to lose weight but you don't listen because you don't have any other risk factors so how bad could extra weight be by itself?  Well, the American Medical Association has classified obesity as a disease.  Do I agree with that?  No, but I'm not a doctor.  I think it is an epidemic of bad decisions.  Before you start throwing stones at my bluntness, I am medically classified as obese.  I am this way because of a culmination of bad decisions in my 44 years.  Too much sugar, too much fat and nacho cheese as a primary food group. Admittedly mostly because my kitchen hates me and my smoke detectors serve as my oven timer most days.  Does that mean I am diseased?  Well, quite honestly yes but not with obesity, with heart disease as a result of my bad decisions. I think calling it a disease gives people a free pass to think that this is a disease so they don't need to do anything to address it. It is a pass to continue to  live a western lifestyle that thrives on indulgence.  So, if your doctor tells you that you need to lose weight, are you so arrogant as to think that it really won't cause you any problems if you don't? It leads to heart disease, stroke and cancer.  I struggle with mine daily, so I'm not saying it isn't a struggle.  What I am saying is that you should should take the struggle seriously.

I read all the sentiments from folks as they learned of the death of James Gandolfini.  All I could think is the one take away I wish that everyone would take away from this is not oh, how sad. I wish what everyone would take away is that if it can happen to him, it can happen to everyone.  If it can happen to me it can happen to you.

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