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FROM KATHLEEN (LEHNHERR) ELY:

Pam Lehnherr Gull noted in an email to me that her father died at the age of 41. My own father, Jim Lehnherr, died at 45; his sister, Dorothea, at 52; and his twin brother, John at 54. They all died of heart disease but all were also heavy smokers.

When Hansjeorg was here I asked him if there was a history of heart disease in the Lehnherr family in Switzerland and he told me not that he knew of, but Pam's note made me think of that again.

My little brother is an M.D.; for the last fifteen years he has been working in emergency rooms but recently completed a residency in radiology and is now a radiologist in Billings, Montana. He is very concerned about this trend of heart disease in our family and it would be interesting to see if it is indeed something in the family. His solution has been to be on a totally fat free diet and extensive exercise program. His cholesterol has been quite lowered as a result of this diet.

FROM BOB LEHNHERR:

Interestingly enough:
My father June Lodeen Lehnherr Dad died at 63--smoker/emphysema/WWI gas

My grandfather Gottlieb John Lehnherr died at 73--UNK
My maternal grandfather John Adam Leuze died at 68
My great grandfather Jakob Lehnherr died at 74
My maternal great grandfather Christian Marmet died at 58--UNK
My great great grandad Jakob Lehnherr died at 72
My great great great grandad Johannes Lehnherr died at 87

So as you can see I'm pushing the hereditary historical limits of the Lehnherr forebearers.

Further I had a heart attack in Jan 95, and I wrote the following article:

MY MESSAGE - FROM THE HEART

I am 74, retired United States Air Force, 5'9"...on January 6th, 1995 at about nine o'clock in the morning, while out taking my once a week walk of about one mile, I suddenly began to feel bad...no real pains, just weak and feeling lousy...no one else was around...I was alone in a small park with my dog and about 3 blocks from home. Fortunately, after sitting on a bench for a few minutes, I was able to walk back to my home. As I was trying to tell my wife to call my son (a retired fire chief familiar with Medic One procedures), who lived some 30 minutes away, I collapsed on the floor...she did call my son and he told her that if I thought I needed him, she had better call 911...which she did...the emergency crews from the fire station and the medics (two vehicles) all arrived in about 5 minutes....they determined that I had had a heart attack...after a few minutes of radio calls and radioed EKG's we proceeded to a hospital about 8 miles away...from the time of the attack to the hospital emergency room was about 1:20 minutes.

At the hospital I was surrounded by my wife, a son, my pastor, nurses, medics from the 911 crew and several doctors...more EKG's, oxygen and other questions and probing...I was given two choices by the doctor--either take blood thinner or an angioplasty. I told him to call and check with my primary care doctor whom I had been seeing over the years--he did, and came back and said that it was "…a decision for me to make...", OK, I said if the blood thinner doesn't work what happens next...and he said, then we do an angioplasty...so I said let's go with the angioplasty...immediately I was in an operating room undergoing an angioplasty procedure to correct the blockage. It was successful!

I had a good recovery, and was home released from the hospital within 5 days. At the time of attack I was in poor physical condition, short of breath, 50 pounds overweight, high cholesterol and on medication for high blood pressure. My recent years of reduced physical inactivity, over eating and other indulgences had taken their toll. My weight was approximately 225.

When I was released from the hospital I was persuaded by my wife and the hospital staff to enroll in a cardiac rehabilitation class, which met twice (one hour sessions) a week for lectures on diet, medication, causes of heart problems, etc, and 3 times a week for one hour heart monitored exercise sessions (tread mills and stationary bicycles). At the time I was very angry with everyone and everything...WHY ME?...I already knew what they were telling me about what to eat and what not to eat....I already knew I needed to exercise....I thought I had all the answers, so after a few weeks I indicated that I was going to quit...one of the young "30-ish therapists"...needled me about quitting...something about being an "angry stubborn old fart"...so I reluctantly stayed on through the 8 weeks of lectures, fully intending to quit the subsequent scheduled exercise periods...the needling continued and I began to experience a mental attitude change...my anger subsided.

From the date of hospital release I began to heed the dietary advice to cut out dietary fats...now for me that meant cutting out everything I liked...such as bacon, eggs, cream on my cereal, cheese, sausage (I love German wursts), fried chicken, pork, steak, that chunk of kidney fat on prime rib roast, barbecued ribs, butter, ice cream, chocolate!!, potato chips, fatty dips, etc....I gave them up!! Yes, I quit all fatty foods "cold turkey"....I learned to read the nutrition facts on food labels....I now strive to maintain a less than 10% fat calorie count on anything and everything that I eat. I eat fish and skinless chicken or turkey--broiled, baked, steamed or boiled....bread made with out fats or oils...boiled, steamed or raw vegetables and fruit. No french fries or Big Mac's! NO cheese or ice cream!

I began walking 3 miles a day starting about 05:00 every morning, rain or shine, 7 days a week, at home or away…haven't missed a day in the last six months. I continue to go to the hospital cardiology rehab class one day (hour) a week primarily for blood pressure, pulse check, treadmill workout and to maintain the discipline. I now weigh 185...down 40 pounds...my waist is now 38 instead of 42...my neck is now 16 instead of 17...I now wear large sizes instead of extra large. I have done two instrumented tread mill checkups (Echograms), which indicate an improving trend and a successful angioplasty...after 6 months I'll repeat the treadmill check.

I feel great, I breathe easier and I have accepted the challenge to continue to survive...the "message", _the heart attack_, I believe came from "God"....I finally accepted that, and changed my way of eating and exercising...I'm now eleven months into my bonus of extended life! I plan to attend the college graduation of my 7 year old grand daughter...and hopefully her wedding!

There is a good book on the subject that you might try to get....a New York Times bestseller--DR DEAN ORNISH'S PROGRAM FOR REVERSING HEART DISEASE ...any good book store should have it in stock.

If you have more questions let me know...remember I'm only a patient...and a "success story" for the cardiology rehab center.

My last cardiologist checkup was in June...everything OK. It's now 3 AUG 97...I still maintain the low fat dietary regime...I have yet to eat red meats, eggs, butter, whole milk, cheese, ice cream. My biggest problem is foregoing chocolate and nuts...I admit to liking dry wines, dark beer and premium sake...I prefer Japanese style cooking...lots of raw fish and steamed or broiled seafood...lots of fresh vegetable and fruits...my weight is currently 195 stripped about ten pounds higher than my goal. I walk 3 miles at least 5 days a week...can't jog as I have two artificial knees.

My father had three brothers; Virgil Dennis who died at 53...one time heavy drinker of prohibition days booze...smoker...kidney problems; Earl Rudolph, who died at 41 of lukemia--he was a doctor of internal medicine in Boston; Cecil Martin, also a prohibition days boozer alcoholic died at 54; Jewell Margaret Faith Lehnherr Valek, died at 57 with probable hypertension and related heart problems (dad's only sister). You can tell your brother that I have a copy of Earl's autopsy, which was extremely thorough and detailed if he is interested.

I don't lay my heart attack to heredity...I believe I personally created my own problems through high fat diet and lack of exercise...life style has to be a big factor in my opinion.

LINKS TO INFORMATION ON HEART DISEASE

 

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