This NY Times article “Lessons of Heart Disease, Learned and Ignored” has some really valuable information on the common confusions about heart attacks that lull people into complacency, such that they don’t avail themselves of the proper treatment options. It’s well-worth reading, particularly if you have family history of heart disease, as I do.
A few days ago, Paul told me of a woman who failed to check out chronic belly pain for months until it became unbearable. At that point, the CT and MRI scans showed colon cancer, already spread to the liver. That’s not good: a friend of ours died about 18 months after a similar diagnosis. (She suffered no symptoms until she fainted on the subway.)
On hearing the story, I suddenly struck by an indirect health benefit of my daily course of vigorous exercise: I would never endure such pain for more than a few days (if that) — not just due to general worry about the cause of the pain but also due to very specific annoyance with my inability to exercise as usual. The same is true of the fatigue that often comes with heart attack mentioned in article above: the problem surely wouldn’t be quite so clear or so pressing to me if I were a couch potato.
In other words, exercise doesn’t promote health merely by making the body more fit; it’s also an important daily test of one’s health. That’s kinda cool, I think.
P.S. Happy Friday the 13th! It’s my lucky day… I was born on Friday, December 13th, 1974.