It’s wonderful to be young and carefree.

At least that’s how I remember it. Sure, it was no fun being broke all the time and having to drive cars that were always at least seven years old, but being young just seems better.

One thing I remember about being young is that I didn’t worry about my health. Sure, I felt bad at times and I’m pretty sure I had anxiety that wasn’t diagnosed until my mid-40s, but I didn’t worry about it.

Like most young people, I figured I would live forever. The days and years seemed to last forever and I would surely be always no older than my mid-30s.

Also like most young people, I have learned a harsh lesson. Nobody, and I mean nobody, stays young forever. Going by pop culture standards, you’re old as soon as you hit 30. But let’s be honest. Most of us seem to do all right until we hit 44, 45, 46. Somewhere in that range.

I’m not sure what happens in that time period, but things seem to start going bonkers. We have aches and pains in places we didn’t even know we had, things don’t look as clear up close and the idea of getting up and doing … something, just wears us out.

And we start paying attention to our health. When we’re young we get mad because the job takes money out of our paychecks to pay for health insurance we’re convinced we don’t need. When you’re no longer young, you’re willing to “pretty much work for the insurance and hope something is left over.”

And we also pay attention to anything that’s related to health. Which brings me to the latest study I found about things that can lead to a fatal heart attack. Not a heart attack you learn a valuable lesson from, but one that lets you get finished with life before you expected.

As far as I know, there isn’t a history of heart trouble in my family, but my mother did have a heart attack a few years ago, so I tend to perk up when I see something about heart attacks.

This study was on and detailed the things you may or may not be doing to bring your life to a sudden halt. Let’s take a look at them.

1. You’re not making muscle health a priority. The heart is basically a muscle and five things keep it going: blood pressure, cholesterol, weight/BMI, waist circumference and blood glucose. Have them all tested on a regular basis and if one or more is off, you might want to make a few changes.

2. You’re not exercising regularly. I think most of us can figure this one out.

3. You’re smoking. Another no brainer. The biggest risk to your heart health. And, according to a doctor who helped conduct the study, a pack a day, over five years, costs $12,000. If you quit smoking and put that money aside, you could get a pretty good used car every five years.

4. You’re drinking too much. I don’t think anybody would doubt this.

5. You’re stressed. It seems like this would sound the death knell for all of us, but some people are really stressed.

6. You’re snoring. This can often the sign of a condition called obstructive sleep apnea, which raises the risk for diabetes, obesity, hypertension, stroke, heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

7. You’re diabetic. On top of everything else diabetics have to deal with.

8. You’re obese. This one shouldn’t need any explanation.

9. You’re not eating high quality protein. You know, like eggs, almonds, chicken breast, cottage cheese, and greek yogurt. Some protein to avoid is sugary yogurt, fried meats and protein bars.

10. You’re not thinking about the future. This one is for the youngsters. A lot of heart problems can start way before you think they would. Pay attention to what your body is telling you and get it checked if something doesn’t seem right.

11. You’re eating too much salt. Salt makes a lot of things so much better. Your health isn’t one of them.

12. You’re ignoring your doctors orders. Yeah, I know. They’re all a bunch of quacks who don’t know what they’re talking about. But sometimes they get things right.

And believe it or not, there’s probably at least one person out there who really cares about you. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for them.

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