SAM McDade was struck by a silent killer, but losing weight helped save his life.
The retired Army Warrant Officer Class 2 had double heart bypass surgery in April after doctors discovered some of his arteries were blocked.
In November 2012, Mr McDade saw a photo of himself when he weighed 83 kilograms.
He then embarked on a healthier lifestyle and had lost 11 kilograms to March this year.
Mr McDade, 66, has a family history of heart disease and his doctor was concerned with his weight, his high blood pressure and low heart rate.
He was sent for stress tests but it wasn’t until his third test when doctors detected not enough oxygen was reaching his bloodstream.
Mr McDade was then sent to St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne for an angiogram, which showed his blocked arteries, and he was scheduled for surgery four weeks later.
“I was feeling fine and fit,” Mr McDade said.
“I was extremely surprised.”
He said people needed to be aware of the silent killer and not be blase.
“This can happen to anyone,” he said.
“There are people who look fit and can do a lot of fit things, but salt hardens the arteries and fats build up blockages.
“You might not know until you start experiencing heart pains or you’re short of breath.”
Mr McDade said fast food was the way of the world and gone were the days where people cooked proper meals.
He said junk foods affected arteries and he encouraged people to reduce their salt, sugar and saturated fat intake.
“When I go shopping I look for things with the Heart Foundation tick,” he said.
Mr McDade encouraged people to participate in the Big Heart Appeal in September to raise money for the heart foundation.
For more information visit heartfoundation.org.au.