james-gandolfiniI was shocked to hear about the unexpected death of James Gladofini, the well-know star of the SOPRANOS HBO SERIES.

Although the details are not available, I already know that this will get some 50 year-old guys wondering whether they are at risk for sudden death due to coronary artery disease.  It will raise awareness.

Of course, the particulars in his case, are hard to know.   From appearances he was a barrel-chested overweight fellow who ‘huffed and puffed’ often during his acting, and ate a lot of steaks (if you can believe his characters actions…..perhaps not true).  That said, how does a 51 year-old man die suddenly of a massive heart attack.

Certainly, sudden and unexpected death is possible for any of use (sorry to say).  We can all  kid….but yes….that truck really could run us off the sidewalk!! (I’m hoping not….but…hey…let’s be real!)

Beyond these issues, the real question is preventing this from happening to you….how do you do it?

1.  Exercise regularly.  This is the best method to prevent a heart attack or to survive it …..it’s not just about ‘not getting’ your heart attack…it’s living through it, and people who are in better shape….survive such stresses better and more often.  Read THE KEYS , my simple book on suggestions for living longer and healthier,  for some direction here and what your minimum exercise requirement is.)

2.  Know your cholesterol and blood pressure.  These two items have the greatest impact on your risk, independent of any actions you may or may not take.  Come on in to check on these and see if you need attention to these.

3.  Lose some weight…if you are significantly overweight.   Now….James Gladofini was probably obese as defined by a BMI (body mass index) of over 30.  Being overweight is not a concern….being obese is!   Again….figure our your BMI by looking at THE KEYS and the BMI chart in the back

4.  Take a baby aspirin daily.  This is a very simple method for preventing heart disease and is particularly a consideration for men (less so for women as they have much lower risk…age-for-age…as men.)

5.  Come in and get a heart check up.  A simple treadmill test is very diagnostic in this regard and very reassuring, or we can do a CT scan of the heart to check for Calcium deposition in the coronary arteries.

Of course….we don’t know Mr. Gladofini’s heart history…it may have been substantial, he may have had many heart stents in the past and a long history of heart disease….. but you can do a lot to prevent this from happening to you and to give yourself peace of mind!