Enliven Magazine had the pleasure of sitting down with Keith Douglas. The husband of actress Tasha Smith (best known for her roles in Tyler Perry films); Keith Douglas is the Chairman of successful companies like RKD Music and Talent Management and the Speakers Bureau Institute. He’s also a motivational speaker and makes it a goal to inspire others through his life experiences. Douglas recently suffered a heart attack and with heart disease being the number one cause of death in African Americans, there’s much we all can learn from his story.
Douglas was one who ate pretty healthy and stayed active, but he did not get enough sleep and was always on the go. Here’s his story:
Enliven Magazine: Take us through the heart attack ordeal. What happened?
Douglas: I was rushing into town to make my daughter’s graduation and I got there right before she started to walk to receive her diploma. I began to perspire profusely and I was having discomfort in my chest. I got up to exit and get some fresh air outside. Every time I would take a step my chest would get tighter and tighter. At that time, I was startled and didn’t know what was going on. I prayed and then I begin to experience a pain I had never experienced in my life before. Then I fell unconscious. My son who was also attending his graduation was running late for the graduation and he discovered me laying unconscious outside. At that time my son and another person took me to the emergency room that was down the street. He didn’t wait on the paramedics but decided to get me in the car due to the severity of my condition. When I got to the hospital and became conscious, due to my surprise, I was told by the doctor that I had a had heart attack.
Enliven Magazine: How has your lifestyle changed since the heart attack? (Eating, exercise, etc).
Douglas: My lifestyle has changed drastically. I have changed my vigorous traveling schedule. I have changed my diet. [I have also incorporated] more exercise, meditation and prayer to reduce stress levels.
Enliven Magazine: What is your message to others regarding heart health?
Douglas: For them to get early screenings for heart disease and go see a cardiologist to get tested, whether be male or female. Know the warning signs. Also, change their diets totally and exercise more and stress less.
Enliven Magazine: Tell us about your collaboration with Aspirin. What is the goal of this campaign?
Douglas: Well, I take an aspirin regimen everyday to make sure that I don’t have any artery complication. The aspirin aids in reducing my stress levels and preventing stroke. Recently, I was selected to be a spokesman for Bayer’s aspirin which resulted in me getting a national commercial with my son who had discovered me during my heart attack.
Enliven Magazine: Is there a scripture or biblical principle that helps you to stay focused on living healthy?
Douglas: 3 John 1:2 Above all, I wish that you would be in good health and prosper even as your soul shall prosper.
According to the American Heart Association, nearly 4 in every 10 non-Hispanic Black adults have cardiovascular disease, claiming the lives of 37 percent of the nearly 288,000 Blacks who die each year. Risk factors for the heart disease include diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, stress and lack of exercise. There are some uncontrollable risk factors that include family history (which may not be hereditary but may in fact be by generations of bad eating) and age.
To prevent heart failure and other heart disease, it’s crucial to treat risk factors successfully, says Anne L. Taylor, MD, a professor of medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital and vice dean of academic affairs at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. It’s also important to live active lifestyles and be conscious of nutrition. Get checked today!
Here’s Douglas on TBN’s Praise the Lord