Take Care Tuesday – Your Health Matters, Don’t Take it for Granted!

Brothers1

A year ago yesterday I posted the following on Facebook:

Asking for thoughts and prayers for my brother John Anderson, recovering from a very serious heart attack … yesterday morning he had the heart attack while at the gym, and fortunately they have a nurse on staff and the person next to him was a doctor. but it was a massive heart attack. He woke up briefly tonight, which was a very good sign, but he has a long road ahead.

The picture at the top is from this past Christmas – so you can be assured there was a happy ending! But when I wrote that, my brother had suffered a major heart attack, and had yet to really regain consciousness. It was slow going, and even now he has to deal with a new reality in how he goes about his life – but he is here, with his kids, friends and family.

It took a while for him to understand and accept how serious things were, even though he’d already had one heart attack (a minor one in 2006) and even as they implanted a defibrillator in his chest!

At that point I decided it was really time to get a full cardiac workup – not just because of my brother, but because I was the only one left in my immediate family who hadn’t had serious heart issues. My dad had a very serious heart attack at 45, and now with my brother having two at 43 and 49 – it was time for me at 47 to get myself checked.

The wonderful thing is that although there is that great saying ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ – that isn’t how our health care system works. Think about it – between co-pays, deductibles, co-insurance and so on, the up-front costs are enough to keep healthy people from ever getting routine checkups. Then there is the ability to get anything beyond a routine checkup … fortunately I have a good relationship with my primary doctor, and she made sure I was able to get into a cardiologist in the same practice.

I wrote about this before, but basically where my brother got all the bad genes – cholesterol, blood pressure, etc – I got all the good ones. And aside from my thyroid my heart and cardio-vascular system is in great shape.

My message? Take care of your health – make figuring out your risks a priority, even when it is more money than you want to spend. Especially when you are younger – during your 20s and 30s you might still feel indestructible, but these are the years where a history can build. Learn your numbers, where your body is strong and weak, what you need to watch and what you don’t and so on. You don’t want to be feeling lousy when you need to know what is ‘normal’ for you and have no idea.

Take care of your health – eat reasonably well, stay active, keep to a healthy weight (and more and more research says weighing a bit too much is better than weighing to little), and keep a regular set of checkups. And know your family history of risks and make sure your doctor is aware of them. Do everything you can to make sure you are around for as long as possible with the ones you love.

Happy Tuesday!

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18 thoughts on “Take Care Tuesday – Your Health Matters, Don’t Take it for Granted!

  1. Glad to read your brother is doing well, and I agree (of course) with taking care of ourselves, our nutrition, our fitness level, our heart health. We all “know it” but somehow so many people fail to take care of themselves properly.. Even though there are no guarantees, we really need to do as much as possible to be and stay healthy.

    • So true – the thing I try to impress upon our boys is that these are the years we form habits that will build the foundation of a lifetime of health. I have relatives in poor health for whom it is really too late even though they aren’t that old … so it is very important that as soon as possibly you build that solid foundation.

  2. Excellent post! So glad to hear your brother is so much better now.
    I think this applies to both ends of the spectrum – abusing our bodies through inactivity but also through OVER activity and pushing ourselves too far beyond our limits. This is definitely something that I learnt first hand through my back injury as a result of rowing but I just kept on going as I wanted to compete and win… It was only when I realised that I was popping painkillers all day at the age of 20/21 that maybe I wasn’t invincible… Life is about so much more than this and it is so key to care for our health so we can actually life it!

    • It is funny the ‘new normal’ we can adjust to over time … until we realize ‘this isn’t NORMAL’! Thanks for the comment – it is so true that we need to look at the big picture beyond where we are now! And also that when we’re in our 20s we feel like we ARE invincible!

  3. I’m so glad that your brother is doing well and I remember your post about the cardiac workup. It actually made a very big impact on me. My husband’s father has a lot of heart issues and after reading your post, I had a long talk with him about taking care of himself and the risk factors he might have. He started exercising and eating better and plans on getting a full workup as well. (His sister got one recently and because my husband is a man the doctor told her that he was at a higher risk so he’s going to see the same doc most likely.)

    I made some appointments for myself as well. I don’t have a family history, but if I’m going to be out there running around, I better make sure everything is in good working order. I have a little girl that needs me to be around for a long time! 🙂

    • Glad you are getting checked out and your husband as well – there are no guarantees, but at least understanding your risks is a very important step. For example, my wife and I both have ‘low cholesterol’ – but the numbers are very different! And we definitely want to be there for our families as long as possible!

  4. Heart workup has been on my list of things to do for a few weeks now. Step one was getting a good rec, which is done. Now I want to check my insurance there and get it scheduled. Your post is a good push to get me to do that, goal will be this week.

    • Prepare for a hassle from insurance! 🙂 My primary care needed to provide a ‘diagnosis’ to get the specialist authorized and a full battery of tests approved. But it is really worth getting it done … just like it is worth yearly checkups even if you feel fine.

  5. I’m glad to hear your brother is ok. I’m sure it still worries him, especially as bad genes can be difficult to overcome.

    Great reminder to be vigilant about health regardless of how “fit” we think we are. Sometimes I would rather be in denial about my age and assume I’m fine, but it really is better to get regular physicals to ensure I can continue to do the things I love.

    (PS, I’m glad to have found your blog 😉 )

    • So glad we found each other’s blog through Salt – it is always fun expanding our community … and as parents of teens we need to stick together 😉

      Keeping track of health is really important, and it is more than just being ‘fit’ – eating, general activity level and other habits. If you don’t follow Megan (http://www.thelyonsshare.org/2014/04/09/top-10-reasons-to-stand-up-for-your-health/) you might want to check out her blog today about the dangers of sitting.

      • Thanks for the link. I read in some magazine recently that sitting is the new smoking. It makes me think that setting up my computer over my treadmill would be a great idea.

        And yes, we parents of teens need to stick together. Mine is making a solid bid to make me permanently bonkers. Not that I have far to go.

      • That was a saying I recall from when I was a kid ‘you’re driving me crazy … but it is a short trip’! 🙂

        And it is amazing what we are learning about our sedentary lifestyle from recent research!

  6. I am glad to hear your brother is doing well! Health is really something that we take for granted until we find it in jeopardy. I myself exprienced some major health issue by the age of 25-27 and I am more than glad that I can move, eat and live the way I want now. Your message is a very important one! We have to invest in our helth as long as we still can! How good that you managed to check on your conditions!

    • Thanks Juli! Investing in our health really is important … in today’s post I talk about an aunt who may never live alone again in spite of only being 62. She is morbidly obese and has made choices that have really destroyed her health – it is a very sad thing to see!

    • Thanks Megan! Question – Do you encounter people in your coaching who are not interested in tracking their health? Of because of what you do, are most people really looking to improve things and therefore inclined to track and take care of themselves?

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