Columns for The Lufkin News

Heart Disease Prevention for the Holidays

Posted Dec 03, 2013 by Sidney C. Roberts, MD, FACR

My brother just had a heart attack. He had classic chest pain and immediately went to the ER. Before he could sneeze, he was transferred from his small town to a regional center for a heart catheterization, where they found a single vessel blockage. He had a stent placed and has no significant damage. He’s doing great. He’s more upset that A&M lost to LSU.

I’m the one not handling it well.

You see, my brother is only five years older than me. He exercises regularly, jogging 3 miles at a time. He’s even been to the Cooper Clinic in Dallasfor all sorts of tests. Our father will be 80 years old in a few weeks, and he has not had a heart attack. Why my brother? And, to the point of my worry, why not me?

Now, I know that we all just gorged ourselves over Thanksgiving, and Christmas is right around the corner. Any talk of diet and exercise should wait until after the first of the year, right? If you are like me, it takes awhile to get psyched up for this. Habits are hard to start and easy to break. This needs to be a lifestyle decision. Mind you, I am not a stranger to exercise… I just haven’t been very friendly with him lately.

If you are like me, there are things you just don’t really want to change. I like my morning latte from Standpipe Coffee and cookies from Confections (shout outs to Ben and Dawn!), and when I travel, I often seek out nice restaurants. At 178 lb, many would say I am not overweight. The insurance industry, however, would disagree. My BMI is right at 25, the cutoff for being “overweight”. Scary word, that one, but not as frightening as “obese”, which a significant percentage of Americans are now.

Dr. Huber, my internist, would like to see me lose 10 lb or more. He told me so last year. In one ear and out the other… Actually, I did lose weight, but gained it back. I should learn to schedule my appointments at the low end of the scale.

As a cancer physician, I preach prevention and early detection every day. The facts with cancer are irrefutable: diet, exercise, and not smoking are three very important things we can do to help lessen our risk of getting cancer. Well, those three things also happen to be the key to lowering one’s risk of heart disease, which kills even more people than cancer.

We are fortunate to have access to incredible cardiac care right here in Lufkin. Truly excellent cardiologists and cardiac surgeons practice here. I would not hesitate to have my heart cath done down the hallway from my office here at Memorial if I had to. But like my cancer patients tell me, they really didn’t want to ever see me professionally, and I’d just as soon keep my relationship with my cardiology friends a social one.

I don’t want to be a “do as I say, not as I do” role model and end up on the cardiac cath table in five years. I see Dr. Huber this month to discuss what other measures – tests? medication? – I need to take for heart disease prevention.

And, I’ve decided that December is a good time to start my diet and exercise program. Yes, I’m going to enjoy Christmas! But maybe I can limit my portion sizes some and NOT go for that second (or third) slice of pecan pie! (Or that second cookie at Confections!)

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Meet Our Team

Sidney C. Roberts, MD, FACR

Sidney C. Roberts, MD, FACR

Radiation Oncologist

Madelene Collier, RN, OCN

Madelene Collier, RN, OCN

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Jewel Randle, RT (R)(T)

Jewel Randle, RT (R)(T)

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Aimee Salas, RT (T)

Aimee Salas, RT (T)

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Josh Yarbrough, RT (R)(CT)(T)

Josh Yarbrough, RT (R)(CT)(T)

Radiation Therapist

Julie McClain, RT (R)(T)

Julie McClain, RT (R)(T)

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Linda Miller, MS

Linda Miller, MS

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Evelyn Leach

Evelyn Leach

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