It Runs in the Family – One Man’s Fight to Stay Alive

Scott Allen knows his family health history, and it is his life’s guiding principal!

As a young child, Scott grew up in a house where eating a low cholesterol diet was a priority. His father had a history of heart disease, and his mother did everything she could to keep him and her children well. Scott never ate a candy bar and didn’t even realize that carob chips were different than chocolate chips until he was a teen!

Scott’s paternal grandfather, who he did not know, died young and his paternal grandmother also had a history of heart disease.  Scott’s dad passed away just a few years ago, at age 67 from his seventh heart attack, the first of which was when he was just 34 years old. Scott remembers seeing his father suffer from one of those heart attacks in the family home when he was just 11 years old!  Scott’s father did not help matters as he aged – not prioritizing exercise, healthy eating and even continuing to smoke against doctor’s orders.

Scott Allen knew that he was going to be predisposed to heart disease and has taken his health into his own hands! At 44 years old, Scott is an avid cyclist who does not take eating right and exercising lightly. He watched how the poor lifestyle choices made by his father effected his health, his mobility, his ability to spend time with his kids and grandkids and ultimately cut his life short.

Scott chose early on to take a different path and lives a life doing everything he can to defy his cardiovascular genetic predisposition.  Part of his journey includes participating in American Heart Association events and volunteering his time and leadership to the Philadelphia Heart Walk and the Hard Hats for Hearts initiative, aimed at keeping those in the construction industry healthy. Scott hopes that through these lifestyle choices and opportunities to give back that he will teach his young children the importance of taking care of yourself and others.

Written by Lauren Rose, Senior Communications Director of the American Heart Director