Local News

Heart Disease More Common With Baby Boomers

Posted November 21, 2003 4:26 a.m. EST

— Baby boomers are not getting any younger and some of their bad habits are taking a toll on their hearts.

Kenneth Saler, 51, used to think he was too busy to take care of his own heart, then he had three heart attacks in five months.

"I did not exercise and was not very careful of what I ate at all," he said. "My arteries were so clogged. There was no alternative for me surgically except a heart transplant."

Saler's trouble is more severe than most people his age, but heart disease is becoming more common among aging baby boomers.

"We are seeing a huge increase in the number of patients who are having to see cardiologists," cardiologist Dr. Ramin Oskoui said.

Experts said baby boomers are not taking care of themselves and do not want to admit they are at risk.

"They see taking medication as a sign of weakness or frailty, not as a chance to stay health longer," Oskoui said.

Cardiologists said most people over 50 could benefit from more exercise and a better diet. After his transplant, Saler decided to take that advice to heart.

"I'm very careful of not only what I eat, but the quantities of what I eat," he said. "It's been a bit of a change, but worth it."

Keeping your heart healthy could also put more money in your wallet. According to the AARP, a healthy lifestyle could save boomers up to $2,200 a year in medical costs.