Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Needs Suggestions After Friend's Heart Attack

DEAR HARRIETTE: A guy I grew up with just had a massive heart attack. He lived to talk about it, but it is scary. We are all in our late 50s, and while we have some aches and pains, I think most of us consider ourselves pretty healthy. I know I don’t necessarily take the precautions that I have been given over the years too seriously, and this was a big wakeup call. My friend almost died. Apparently, the only reason he lived is that he could tell something awful was happening and he asked his wife to call an ambulance immediately. He ended up having surgery to correct blockages in his arteries. What can my friends and I do to avoid this kind of crisis? -- Afraid to Die

DEAR AFRAID TO DIE: The sad truth is that many of us think we will live forever and often don’t take into account how the choices of what we ingest and how we move our bodies will affect our health and longevity. By the time you reach your 50s, your patterns are pretty well-ingrained. But doctors do say that it’s never too late to make smarter choices.

What everyone should do is get a complete physical to check the status of your body and its functioning. If you have established a baseline with your doctor, you should compare where you are now and where you have been so that your doctor can help you determine what you need to do to make healthier choices. You absolutely have to be honest with your doctor. Admit what you eat and drink and how much you exercise. If you use illegal drugs, say so. If you abuse prescription drugs, tell your doctor. Without a clear and complete picture of your behavior, your doctor will not be able to give you an effective road map toward optimal health. For more ideas, go to: