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(image courtesy

(image courtesy

In everyday life people tell of their heart problems in two ways.

1. “I had a procedure. No big deal.”


2. “My heart problem changed my life.”

Both are viable, though one is a wake up call.

Grandpa died of a heart attack in the early 60’s.

Dad had five by-passes in his fifties.

Both were smokers. Grandpa quit for good, Dad took it back up after he recovered from his surgery.

Neither had a happy ending, part of the smoker’s life. It was an eye opener and still a common history.

ABC News published a story titled “Baby Boomers Living Longer, Not Healthier.”

The author, Katie Moisse, shows a young smiling face on the side. She’s laughing at Boomers? Hope not.

Halfway down the page they included a hypertext: CLICK HERE to see which celebrities have heart disease.

How do you not hit that?

A list of people, some familiar, with heart issues? Call if morbid curiosity.

It’s not a comprehensive list and includes no causes, just the remedies.

Not all are Boomers, but David Letterman is. He had bypass surgery in 2000. His dad had a heart attack at age 36, then died of a second heart attack twenty one years later.

Family history matters.

Baby Boomer Ron Jeremy drove himself to the hospital for heart surgery this year. The infamous porn king has a unique Portland connection with his club. He also has college degrees, bachelor’s in education and theater and a master’s in special education.

The guy’s a thinker.

Boomer Rosie O’Donnell had a heart attack in 2012. A stent solved the blockage problem. Author Lisa Collier Cool writes about Rosie in Yahoo Health, “Rosie O’Donnell says it’s a “miracle” that she survived, after ignoring heart-attack warning signs because she didn’t recognize her danger…she took an aspirin, then waited until the next day to get help for what turned out to be a 99 percent blockage in her LAD coronary artery, a type of heart attack called the ‘widow-maker.'”

If you think Rosie talks tough, it’s because she is tough.

Kelsey Grammer’s heart attack came in 2008. Here’s a man who’s been married four times, has five kids, and been an iconic figure on television for decades. Add the booze and cocaine and the load gets heavier to carry around. Kelsey says he can’t die because he’s got too much left to do. He’s already done a lot on both sides of the fence.

What will he say when he meets his maker? “I’m doctor Frasier Crane and I’m listening.”

St. Peter says, “No, you’re Kelsey, and I’ll do the listening.”

American Heart Month wouldn’t be complete without a list of heart attack symptoms. From WebMD:

  • Discomfort, pressure, heaviness, or pain in the chest, arm, or below the breastbone
  • Discomfort radiating to the back, jaw, throat, or arm
  • Fullness, indigestion, or choking feeling (may feel like heartburn)
  • Sweating, nausea, vomiting, or dizziness
  • Extreme weakness, anxiety, or shortness of breath
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeats

Finally, a friendly admonishment to the rich and famous from the late, great, Johnny Cash:

“Come on you’ve gotta listen unto me
Lay off that whiskey and let that cocaine be”

Good advice for everyone.

Stay healthy. For a head start, call the Portland Wellness Center.










About David Gillaspie
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