Running From The Reaper

My father died of his third heart attack at the age of 47. His brother had the first of several heart attacks at age 50. For a long time now, I’ve known that I’m going to have to run a little harder from The Reaper than most. If there’s one thing you can’t deny, it’s your DNA.

I’ve always worked hard to maintain a decent weight and I’ve been running regularly all my adult life. But since I turned forty, I’ve noticed the pounds creeping up and last winter after an extended bout of bronchitis and inactivity, things really got out of hand. A visit to my doctor last February was the straw that broke the camel’s back. My weight was up to 202 lbs and my total cholesterol over 200 mg/dL for the first time in my life.

I changed the way I ate and increased my running mileage, producing a nice drop back down to 163 lbs, well within my ideal weight range. Last week, I went back to my doctor for another physical. He just about dropped his stethoscope when he saw my weight loss and measured my blood pressure at 114/78, not to mention my pulse of 56 bpm. I eagerly awaited my lab results. Last night, my doctor called me with the verdict:

Total cholesterol: 175 mg/dL (desirable less than 200)

LDL cholesterol (the “bad kind”): 101 mg/dL (optimal 100 or less)

HDL cholesterol (the “good kind”): 62 mg/dL (optimal 60 or above)

Triglycerides: 59 mg/dL (optimal 150 or below)

Needless to say, I was thrilled. According to the American Heart Association risk calculator, my risk of a heart attack in the next 10 years is less than 1%.

This stuff isn’t just for forty-something fogies like me. For all you readers out there in your twenties and thirties who are busy raising kids and/or building your careers, a word of advice: don’t let yourself go. You’re laying the foundation now for the kind of health that you will have in your last decades of life. It’s never too early to start going for an annual physical and reducing your risk.

I know I can’t run from The Reaper forever, but if I have anything to say about it, I plan to go into double OT and, God willing, hold at least one great-grandchild in my arms.

Oh, and one more thing: be sure to give your eyes a 5-minute break looking at distant objects for every 30 minutes you spend staring at your computer screen.

Just had to throw that one in there.

  1. Ed

    Glad to hear the blood work came back with excellent results. Gives me encouragement to continue eating healthy and getting into a regular exercise routine. I also like the reassurance that the ‘method’ has been validated by another independent source and the results are real.

  2. Mike the Eyeguy

    With all the meat and eggs I’ve been eating lately, I was anxious to see the numbers. Well, it’s true–high protein and “good carbs” rule.

  3. Hal

    Congratulations!! I hope you get to hold a great grandchild in your arms as well.

  4. Mike the Eyeguy

    Thanks Hal.

    Now if I can just dodge the proverbial Mack truck…

  5. DAVID u

    Glad to hear you are going to be around bloggin for the next several decades! Off the subject…………just found out I am going to the Bama-Auburn game Saturday! Life is good! 🙂


  6. Mike the Eyeguy


    I’ll do my best and let God worry about the rest.

    That is great news! You may run into Number One. He thinks he’s scored a ticket too (I’ll believe it when I see it).

    We’re going down Friday for a special tour for National Merit Scholars, so being in T-town on Iron Bowl weekend should be a blast. More on that later.

  7. lAURA

    Congrats from a nurse. Those are excellent numbers. I know you are working hard. Keep up the good work.

  8. Laurie

    So what have you been doing, South Beach or Atkins? Low carb is the only thing that gets triclycerides that low. (Not to brag, but mine were 46 after four months on South Beach. Of course, after a weekend of people stuffing us with food before and after a funeral, I’m sure they are currently much higher!)

  9. Mike the Eyeguy


    Thanks Nurse Nazi! (jes kiddin’ of course) 🙂


    South Beach. I’m not really “on” it anymore, but a lot of the habits have stuck. I’m eating my share of meat and eggs, but I’m also getting a lot of protein from fish (omega-3 fatty acids are good for what ails ya), nuts (especially pistachios) and beans. Plus, I’m running so much now that I can occasionally “cheat” with impunity!

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