You may have heard about this. He didn't die immediately. He died on the ground afterwards. Fortunately, the co-pilot was able to land the plane safely. But, they couldn't save him.
My understanding is that he was a very heavy man, like 300 pounds, which is most unusual among pilots from what I have seen.
But, here's what we should think about: He was a commercial pilot, so he was undergoing frequent health checks, including heart checks. I'm sure he had regular blood work and electrocardiogram. And he may have had other heart testing as well.
Apparently, he passed all of it, and they felt he was safe to fly. They were wrong.
What it means is that, despite all the advances, heart disease remains a “hidden disease” in many cases. It is still true that the first sign of having heart disease may be sudden death.
I believe that arteriosclerosis is a natural age-related pathology to which all humans are inclined. I'm saying that everybody gets it – to some extent.
But obviously, if you eat healthily and live healthily, and maintain your weight properly, and do not smoke, and do exercise, you are likely to get much less of it than otherwise.
And I also believe that genetics plays a large role because hundreds of millions of people live conventionally, yet some succumb early to heart disease while others live long in spite of having the same lifestyle and influences.
Obviously, you can't change your genetics, but you can change your diet and your lifestyle, and it's going to do a lot of good no matter what. But, the point I am trying to make is that people have got to stop thinking they are “OK” just because they don't have symptoms. The early stages of heart disease are truly invisible. There is no pain. There is no disability. There may even be excellent athletic performance as the arteries are slowly closing and plaque is building up.
So, don't be dismissive about this. Rather, you should assume that you are doomed to have heart disease to some degree, and you are going to do everything possible to minimize the extent of it.
That means eating an unrefined, plant-based diet, which means whole plant foods as the preponderance of what you eat. I don't say you have to be a strict vegetarian to avoid heart disease, but you damn sure ought to be a near- vegetarian. There is simply no good reason to eat vast amounts of animal food. Whatever animal food you eat should be a small part of your diet. Load up on fruits, vegetables, salad greens, beans, raw nuts, whole grains, and anything of animal nature that you eat should comprise only a small and restricted part of your diet.
Otherwise, exercise regularly- very important! Avoid poison habits. Secure sufficient rest and sleep. And consider taking heart-protective supplements such as high-dose Vitamin D3, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, fish oil, turmeric, resveratrol, and more. The prevention of heart disease should be a daily preventative practice for all of us. The nightmare of what happened to that United pilot need never be anything that happens to us. If we're smart, we will tend to that very seriously every day.