It’s been almost 25 years since Larry King found himself having a heart attack in Washington, D.C.’s George Washington University Hospital. While he initially went in because of a mild pain in his right shoulder, the emergency room doctors had a feeling something more serious was going on.
King patiently waited, he was struck by an intense pain. The doctor looked at the talk show host and put it simply: “Mr. King, you’re having a heart attack.”
Then just 53 years old, King was a self-described careless eater who smoked as much as three packs a day, a habit that tripled his risk of a heart attack. He had been diagnosed with heart disease seven years earlier, but never heeded the advice of his physicians seriously enough to change his ways. (One doctor actually puffed away on his own cigarette while advising King to stop his ways.)
After the heart attack (and quintuple bypass surgery months later), King knew he had to change his habits — and change them fast. He stopped smoking immediately after his heart attack and gave up the fattening, greasy foods that once were his diet staples.
King proudly credits those changes his for his trimmer figure, lower cholesterol numbers, and increased energy levels. “I have a lot of stamina, which is fortunate,” he says.
More than two decades later, King, who is now semi-retired, continues to squeeze regular exercise and healthy meals into his busy schedule of interview specials for CNN and work for his Larry King Cardiac Foundation, which provides financial aid to patients who can’t afford heart procedures.
He’s also a tireless heart disease advocate, speaking on numerous panels around the country and having penned two books on the subject, Mr. King, You’re Having a Heart Attack and Taking on Heart Disease.
Recently, King’s charity has teamed up with So You Think You Can Dance executive producer and judge Nigel Lythgoe’s Dizzy Feet Foundation to promote National Dance Day on July 30 (Everyday Health is also a partner in this groovy initiative) and the public service campaign, Dance 4 Your Life!, which encourages people to dance all year round.
Read more of this article at Everyday Health.