Sportscaster Dick Enberg Dies at 82, Heart Attack Suspected

Heart health

By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder

Every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a heart attack. It is the leading cause of death for both men and women. And it appears that one of the latest victims of this disease is famed Sportscaster Dick Enberg. He was found dead Thursday morning in his La Jolla, California home. Enberg was 82-years-old. He had a 60-year long career in sports and will surely be missed.

His wife, Barbara Enberg, reported that she and her family found out the devastating news when he did not arrive in Boston from a flight he was supposed to take leaving from California. She believed he had been waiting for a car that was to take him to the San Diego airport for a 6:30 a.m. flight.

"He was dressed with his bags packed at the door," she said. "We think it was a heart attack."

The official cause of death has yet to be released, however, his family is certain a heart attack was responsible for Enberg’s death.

There are so many risk factors for heart attacks that we perhaps should not be surprised that it is the leading cause of death. Some of these risk factors are just not controllable. Risk factors, like age, are a bit difficult to control. The risk for heart disease increases in men after the age of 45. Then there are genetics or family history.  

“Your risk increases if your father or a brother was diagnosed with heart disease before 55 years of age, or if your mother or a sister was diagnosed with heart disease before 65 years of age,” according to the National Institutes for Health (NIH).

Other more common and controllable risk factors include obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, hypertension, diabetes and smoking.

Even standing is now identified as a risk factor for this disease. Recently, a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggested that workers who stand on the job are more likely to have heart disease than those who primarily sit. And the risk was the same after they adjusted for age, ethnicity, education and health. Reportedly, standing increases the likelihood of blood pooling in the legs. It also creates venous pressure in the body by “trying to pump blood back up to your heart and that increases oxidative stress.”   

Now an even more recent study suggests that sitting for prolonged periods is associated with high troponin levels. Troponin is a protein that is released in the bloodstream during a heart attack.  

In the case of Enberg’s death, the irony is that if he had boarded that flight he was supposed to take, he would have probably increased his risk for heart attack with the prolonged sitting  required for a cross-country trip. He was also older in age, which is another risk factor.  

Despite all these risks, however, it is possible to be proactive about heart attacks. Nowadays, you can get preventive screenings and tests for heart disease and heart attacks even before you have symptoms. Specialized testing such as whole genome sequencing can predict with good certainty what your risk for this disease is, and provide you with the opportunity to be aggressive about reducing your risk factors.

And of course, in addition to appropriate physical activity, there is a lot you can do nutritionally to help prevent heart disease and heart attack. This includes eating a healthy diet with plenty of antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables. Fish may also be a good addition to the diet when it comes to heart health.

And keep in mind, there are certain minerals that are critical for maintaining a healthy heart.

  • Magnesium & Calcium. These minerals’ importance for the heart can’t be overstated, and they work together hand-in-hand. Magnesium influences heart muscle energy production, keeps calcium levels balanced, loosens up tight blood vessels, reduces inflammation and keeps the electrical activity in the heart behaving properly. Think of calcium as “Fire” and magnesium as “Hold your fire!” in the heart. Low magnesium has actually been found to lead to worse outcomes in patients with heart disease and higher risk of irregular heartbeat. Magnesium is also widely regarded for its muscle-relaxing properties, which may help people with high blood pressure. Low calcium levels can also cause electrical abnormalities in the heart.
  • Sodium & Potassium. High blood pressure increases your risk for heart disease. And if you have high blood pressure, your doctor has probably told you to cut back on salty foods. Reducing your sodium intake can help lower high blood pressure. What your doctor may not have told you is that a good balance of sodium and potassium can also help to reduce blood pressure. Studies show that the sodium/potassium ratio intake should be less than 1. Unfortunately, only 12 percent of the U.S. population has this adequate ratio. The American Heart Association recommends a maximum daily intake of 1,500 mg of sodium, but in reality 99.8 percent of the population consumes much more. Avoid processed foods, which tend to have alarming amounts of sodium per serving.

It is also extremely important to determine whether you are absorbing adequate amounts of these minerals (nutrients) from the foods you eat. As you age, your bodies may have more difficulty doing this. Nutrient deficiencies may prevent you from keeping your heart in the healthiest state possible. And one of the best ways to determine whether you have nutrient deficiency is to obtain a nutritional test.

Finally, speak with a competent healthcare professional  about any medications you are taking, as these may deplete vital nutrients necessary to keep your heart in good shape.

For more information about heart disease and heart attacks, read here.

Enjoy your healthy life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of healthcare and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.

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