ABC News is reporting a phenomena that family physicians around the country are reporting to me: Tim Russert’s death Friday from sudden cardiac arrest may have hit a nerve deeper than sadness.
Russert’s death may have lead some to fear for their own seemingly healthy bodies, or the health of a loved one – and doctors are seeing the effects. Calls are up dramatically for exams for middle aged men.
This is good. Very good.
Heart disease is the number one killer for men and women. And, hopefully, the Russert family tragedy can become a teaching tools and an opportunity for others.
Men, if you haven’t done so in the last few years, get your personal physician to check your body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting blood sugar, and lipid profile. Ask your doctor not what is normal for each, but what is optimal for each.
And, if your measurement is not optimal, ask your doctor what you can do.
Be sure your immunizations are up to date. If you’re 40 or over, get a PSA and digital rectal exam. If your 50 or over, it’s time for a colonoscopy.
By following this simple advice, at least some good can come from a very sad event.