A few weeks back we got together with some friends for dinner. I had not seen my friend for a few weeks and was somewhat taken by surprise at how unhealthy he looked. Over the course of dinner he managed to tell us about his busy schedule and how his diet had gone by the wayside (he confessed to having eaten a hot dog, a Big Mac, and two doughnuts over that same day). My friend doesn't only suffer from bad acid reflux, for which he takes medication, but also from high blood pressure, for which he also takes medication. I was honestly amazed that he took it all very lightly and seem to not worry about his health one bit (did I forget to mention that he has also suffered from cancer?).
There seems to be a preponderance of people today that simply count on medication from their doctors and a dose of good luck, and ignore any type of personal responsibility when it comes to living a healthy life. My friend is most definitely not alone. I have another friend whose father suffers from diabetes (takes medication but not daily insulin) yet insists on living an unhealthy lifestyle which includes consuming levels of alcohol that far exceed the "moderate" level. Every time my friend tries to address his concerns to his father, he is basically ignored and disregarded.
It really amazes me how much most people ignore any level of personal responsibility when it comes to living a heart healthy life. Every time I meet with my cardiologist he is always reinforcing how important diet and daily exercise is to my level of success in holding heart disease at bay. After a long day of work it's not easy to go home and get on the elliptical, but I do it because I know how important it is to successfully control my cholesterol. There is no such thing as a magic pill, everything is going to take some level of effort and it is incumbent on all of us to at least try to get to a point where maybe we won't have to take prescription medication any longer.
The picture of my father after his quadruple bypass surgery in 2007 will stick with me forever. I swore then that I would never allow my cholesterol to do to me what it did to my father. As for my friend, I am sure that he will continue eating an unhealthy diet and ignoring any signs of danger. Maybe he will be one of the lucky ones and live a long life without suffering repercussions from his unhealthy lifestyle, but that is definitely not a chance that I am willing to take.
Published On: August 16, 2010