'He certainly didn't look like a walking heart attack'
YESTERDAY was trundling along as a typical Sunday morning at my place.
The dog and I were having a lazy start - a bit of tidying up, bacon and eggs and a second cup of tea while I mentally mapped out the column I thought I was going to write.
I'd had a call from number four kid who lives on the Gold Coast during which he told me he's given up eating red meat for the sake of his health and the planet.
He's off work injured so in his spare time he's been reading about the history of the Silk Road, the Ottoman Empire, ancient China and lordy only knows what else.
Last time he called he was telling me about the 90-year-old man he met at the bus stop and spent an hour with discussing trickle-down economics.
The kid should have a PhD by now, but he's not interested in going to university and I've learned - with his help I should add - to accept each of them as they are and to let them work it out.
I checked he's getting enough iron and beyond that, at 25 his decisions are his.
So back to Sunday and all is normal in my world - until the phone does the 'ding'.
It's a message from one of my favourite people who's married to another of my favourite people.
And for the fourth time, I hear the devastating news that a dear friend, a male in his fifties, has had a heart attack.
His left artery was 80 percent blocked, the right one 99 per cent and now he's in Brisbane recovering from quadruple bypass surgery.
Russell wasn't overweight, smoked only occasionally, was physically active and looked pretty damn fine at 58.
He certainly didn't look like a walking heart attack.
The Heart Foundation says two out of five Australian men aged 45-74 have a moderate to high risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next five years.
It's not just a man's disease but men are twice as likely to die from a preventable heart attack or stroke than women, and most heart attacks in this age group are preventable.
Despite the number of men at risk, more than half are not doing the one thing that could prevent it from happening.
It's as simple as having a heart health check with a GP and for the sake of a simple blood test, you can find out what your risk level is and what you can do about it.
"She be right mate" is no way to manage your health.
Increasingly men are getting the message and it's not because of fancy education programs, television advertising or informative websites.
They are realising the extent of the problem because they are losing their mates, their brothers, their fathers, cousins and uncles way too young.
None of the four men in my life who had heart attacks in their 50s were overweight.
In fact, all of them were great looking specimens of manhood.
Two survived, two didn't and the devastation of that will last forever.
Men, please don't think you are not at risk. If you are over 45, man up and go see your GP.
In loving memory of Lindsay Fairweather and Scott Claridge.