Heart attacks in your own backyard

Two men from my community just died of heart attacks. Both were in their 40s.

What bothers me most about these all too frequent stories is that it is so preventable. You can bet that both had little or no symptoms prior to their deaths. You can also bet that they've had cholesterol panels taken by their doctors.

Followers of the Track Your Plaque program know that these are sure-fire paths to failure. The absence of heart disease symptoms should provide no reassurance whatsoever. High cholesterol, in-between cholesterol, low cholesterol--none are confident indicators in a specific individual.

Stress test? How about the patient I saw today who, until I met him, had been undergoing stress test after stress test, every year--all while the quantity of coronary plaque tripled. False reassurances provided by his cardiologist led him to believe that all was well--while this stack of oily rags was just waiting for the spark to ignite.

Too little time, too much money, too far away--there's a hundred excuses for not getting a heart scan. Or, you've had a heart scan and no one can tell you what to do about it. If you're reading this, however, you've found the most intensive source of information available on how your heart scan can serve as the start of a program of heart attack prevention for a life free of dangers.

It's not that tough. But it won't just go away on its own. I just have to look around me in my own community, watch the local news, talk to friends, and I'll heart about all the people just in my neighborhood who should be learning these lessons. I rant and rave about this but some people need to hear it from a friend, colleague, neighbor, rather than some crazy doctor bucking the standard line.

You, too, should be telling anyone who will listen about how heart disease can be identified and controlled.