- Alex Hobbs, a physically fit man, experienced two heart attacks at a relatively young age due to hidden “sticky cholesterol” leading to plaque buildup in his arteries.
- Despite being athletic and having no family history of heart disease, Alex’s two episodes exposed the importance of diet alongside physical exercise for maintaining heart health.
- After the second heart attack, Alex made significant lifestyle changes, adopting a plant-based diet, reducing alcohol intake, and resuming his exercise regimen, resulting in improved health and weight loss.
- His story underscores the potential impact of dietary choices on overall health, even for those who are physically active and seemingly fit.
- Alex now advocates awareness on heart health and stresses the transformative power of exercise and good nutrition on life quality.
A tale of unexpected heart ailments emerged from Robinson Township, Pennsylvania. Alex Hobbs, a physically fit and active man of 33, experienced an unforeseen heart attack while coaching a youth soccer team.
Beginnings of a Battle
Alex felt a burning sensation in his chest and stomach midst of a soccer game, which he initially mistook as a mere discomfort due to a previous respiratory infection. However, a pain in his jaw signaled the harsh reality: a heart attack.
Acquaintance with Fear
Despite maintaining a composed demeanor during the incident, Alex was utterly terrified inside. The fear stemmed from something more than the immediate uncertainty of his survival. He was reliving a trauma that had struck him six years ago at the age of 33.
A Journey of Recovery and Relapse
Back in a February afternoon, while training for a marathon, Alex experienced his first heart attack. That evening, his arteries were relieved of two major blockages through the embedding of two stents. Doctors cleared him off any possible heart damage but suggested a break from his job as a high school math teacher to recuperate.
Throughout his life, Alex had been an avid sports enthusiast. He had spent his years playing soccer and basketball, running, weight training, and coaching. Given his athleticism and lack of any family history of heart disease, the incident of heart attack left him shocked.
The only explanation provided to him by the doctors was the presence of “sticky cholesterol” in his bloodstream, which could lead to plaque buildup in the arteries. For a math teacher who was adept at solving problems, the prevailing uncertainty was quite frustrating.
Post the incident, Alex did recover physically, but the haunting thoughts of the attack left him emotionally drained. He abandoned heavy weightlifting, developed sleep anxiety, and became excessively self-conscious about discussing the incident with his acquaintances. He mentioned, “It was the first time I’d ever had feelings of depression.”
Alex’s new lifestyle also had a noticeable impact on his wife, Beth. She was finding it challenging to help Alex, who had always taken pride in his healthy and fit lifestyle. However, amidst the rough phase, Alex valued his love for life above all. Determined to regain his health, he decided to upgrade his health routine.
The Path to A New Lifestyle
He aimed at getting better in shape and managed to lose about 20 pounds initially. However, due to depression, he started exercising less, indulging more in food, and developed a penchant for red wine. During the COVID-19 pandemic, his health routine further disrupted, resulting in a weight gain of as much as 50 pounds.
Between the two heart attacks, his arteries had a significant plaque buildup, and both his cholesterol and blood pressure levels rose. Post his second heart attack, he underwent another stent insertion operation. This time, his doctors strongly suggested some serious lifestyle alterations.
Road to Rehabilitation
Accordingly, Alex started incorporating changes into his life. He embarked on a plant-based diet, virtually quit drinking, and resumed his walking and running routines. His efforts bore fruit, and he managed to shed the excess 50 pounds.
Beth also started adjusting her cooking habits to match Alex’s new dietary patterns, while occasionally serving meats to the kids. The whole family’s favorite dish soon became Buddha bowls, brimming with hummus, quinoa, and marinated vegetables.
Soon after his 40th birthday, and with his new healthy lifestyle, Alex began to feel physically fitter and relief from depression and anxiety. He now journals his experiences and with an emphasis on healthy living, and is determined in spreading awareness about the influence of exercise and dietary habits on overall health.
Alex now firmly believes, “I want people to know that it can truly change your life.”