It’s summer time and I’ve had the pleasure to take long walks on a beautiful beach the past few days.

I have an 11” scar in the center of my chest from open-heart surgery almost 4 years ago.

As people walk past me in the opposite direction, one of the few things I think about in my completely unstressed, worry free, creative state of mind is, “What are they thinking”?  What is the first thing that comes to there minds? Does a wife say to a husband, “Look dear, that could be one of us”?  Does a man or women say to themselves that they better take better care of their heart or walk a little further on the sand? Do they think about taking the doctors suggestions from their last visit a little more seriously? Perhaps that night they’ll order a salad for dinner instead of fried shrimp?

I’ll let you know that I am totally OK with people seeing my scar.

I believe it’s a badge of honor for a fight well fought.

Heart disease has consequences and in my case, it’s visual on my chest.

Perhaps my chest serves as a billboard for the Awareness, Prevention, and Education of Heart Disease. – Keith

Taxi Stand Ashtray

I arrived back in Vegas tonight. After leaving baggage claim, where one of my bags was in Los Angeles, but that’s a different story, I had to catch a taxi back to the Vegas house.

The line was very long but it always moves very fast.  They have you go in a line up and down and up and down 5 times several hundred feet before getting into a cab.  I think they do this so the people who are drunk get off the planes and think they’re in Disneyland.

The problem with this is that there were so many smokers that the second hand smoke was so bad, I felt like I was in the middle of the worlds largest ashtray with cigarettes that just wouldn’t go out.

I’m wondering how many breaths I took of smoke before getting into my cab. I got a headache in just 15 minutes.  I can’t even remember the last time I had a headache.  The smell just made my head pound. It’s still pounding and I’ve been home for 2 hours.

The smoke wasn’t the only problem.  The number of cigarette butts on the ground looked like a sick art project. Smoke and litter were everywhere and unescapable.

I may start a campaign to have McCarran Airport have a smoke free taxi stand.  I bet I could get some action and solution to this health and pollution hazard. – Keith

If thinking about changing your lifestyle is putting too much pressure on you then don’t think about it:)

If you feel like this or know someone who is then you’re probably thinking too “big”. Think smaller.

Too often we think of the task at hand as overwhelming an un-doable.  It’s a very legitimate fear.

You need to think “smaller” and what little things you can do today that are different than yesterday but knowing you can’t fail at them.  Something that is healthier perhaps. It could be activity or nutrition or both. This way of thinking is certainly an easier way to build momentum for yourself. Momentum is a great thing once you start moving.  It can also be real bad when we’re moving in a poor direction.

Perhaps it’s walking to the front door or to the mailbox each day or taking the stairs at work.  Maybe it’s ordering a sandwich with mustard instead of mayonnaise or a salad with plain balsamic vinegar instead of blue cheese dressing. Try grabbing a bottle of water instead of a soda. You know, little things.

If someone told me 4 years ago that I had to lose 200 pounds, well let me tell you I would have tuned them out real quick.  The fact of the matter is I didn’t need to lose 200 pounds, I needed to lose 5 and then another 5 and so on.  I just needed to be able to walk to the mailbox before I could walk around the block. You get the idea.  Little things, doable things, can’t fail at things. – Keith

This article appeared in the American Heart Association’s Western states Affiliate April Newsletter.
It took a near-death experience to wake up Keith Ahrens. At the age of 45, the Las Vegas businessman was tipping the scales at over 400 pounds and led a sedentary lifestyle. He hadn’t seen a doctor in years.

That was four years ago. Today, Keith is 200 pounds lighter. He’s a dynamic advocate and spokesperson for the American Heart Association, sharing his story to help others avoid the denial which almost killed him.

Keith neglected his health, had terrible eating habits and avoided physical activity for years. After experiencing classic symptoms of heart disease – shortness of breath, dizziness and nausea – he finally went to a doctor in early 2007. Keith was having a heart attack and a triple bypass operation was required to correct it.

He explains, “After I got that second chance which many heart attack victims never have, I saw it as a great opportunity to help others by putting myself out there as a voice for change.”

It was a new beginning. He changed his eating habits, started walking for exercise and participated in his first Start! Heart Walk in 2009. His dramatic weight loss and energetic, new outlook on life won him the Heart Walk Lifestyle Change Award that year. He was the top Walk fund-raiser in 2010 and is on the planning committee for this year’s event.

Keith put his communications talents to work writing a book to inspire others to follow his path to healthy living.Outrunning My Shadow:  Surviving Open-Heart Surgery and Battling Obesity. The Decision to Change My Life is the title of his book and he maintains a webpage to project his message of self-help. Keith became a Certified Fitness Trainer and Specialist in Fitness Nutrition and began using social media networks to encourage others to improve their lifestyle.

A member of our grassroots network, Keith speaks out often on the local and state level and recently returned from the AHA’s You’re the Cure Congressional Lobby Day in Washington, D.C. Keith has also earned his Basic Life Support (BLS) Instructor Certification from our Emergency Cardiac Care (ECC) program.

“If someone in your life is affected by heart disease,” Keith says, “do something. Get involved with the American Heart Association – help save lives.”

You’re the Cure on the Hill Lobby Day 2011
American Heart Association
Please share this video link with one and all – Keith

Just thinking about the possibilities to finding a Cure and Ending Cardiovascular Disease.

Can one man, women or child really make a difference?

Will your voice be heard?

My fight didn’t end on Lobby Day… In Fact, It Just Began.

Join the You’re The Cure network at

What a Day.

Met with Congressmen and Senators to cap off an incredible 2 days at the American Heart Associations You’re the Cure on the Hill Lobby Day.

Become part of the You’re the Cure Network and make a difference in your community, your state, your country.

Visit today

Hanging With Nancy

What an honor to meet Nancy Brown, CEO, of the American Heart Association.

Truly one of Americas top CEO’s

You’re the Cure on the Hill Lobby DayApril 11, 2011

I Am So Ready!

I grew up in Potomac, Maryland just 20 minutes from the White House.  I’ve been to all the museums and visited all the landmarks many times but this trip will be different.

Driving down Canal Road from Potomac through Georgetown and onto Pennsylvania Avenue to Constitution Avenue and seeing our great Capitol in front of me I felt something special.

As I venture into the hallowed halls of the Congress and the Senate to meet our legislatures this will be the first time I feel like I can and will make a difference for the millions of adults and children who have cardiovascular disease and those who will follow.

Perhaps if the legislation we’re advocating for today was passed 30 years ago my Heart Disease wouldn’t have been as severe.

Who knows what may have been… but now I know what can be.

This is going to be an interesting trip to say the least.

You’re the Cure on the Hill Lobby Day.  April 11 & 12.

I’m so ready to speak with our legislatures and meet other advocates, medical experts, researchers and fellow survivors.

Over 350 are expected to participate for the American Heart Association.

Get counted.  Click Here – Join the You’re the Cure Network and make a difference. – Keith

Do You Know Your Numbers? Mine are below.

A look back at 4 years of lab results.

I’m still working on the HDL.  It’s been as high as 49.

The ratio is very important.  The lower the better.  The ratio is your total cholesterol divided by your HDL.

Always room for improvement for sure.  It just goes to show you that we can change our numbers.

The only prescription medication that I’m on is Lipitor.

Stay focused on the prize.  The prize is YOUR HEALTH.



Random Numbers For Keith     April 2007             April 2011

Total Cholesterol –                            300                          128

LDL Bad Cholesterol –                     245                            76

HDL Good Cholesterol –                  33                             40

Ratio –                                                9.09                           3.2

Triglycerides –                                  250                           54

Blood Pressure –                            146/96                     110/72

Pulse –                                                 88                              64