My apologies to George Gershwin.
As you may know, David Goldberg, the CEO of SurveyMonkey and a big name among the Silicon Valley set (and the husband of Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's Chief Operating Officer), passed away earlier this month while on vacation with his family in Mexico. The cause of death is listed as blunt trauma (he fell off a treadmill and hit his head), but in an autopsy last week, it seems he might have had a heart arrhythmia that contributed to his death. That is, perhaps his heart gave out first, then he fell.
In either case, it was a horrible, unexpected tragedy and at best, we can only try to learn from such an event. While this may be a good time to discuss safely using treadmills (e.g, use the safety key), let's focus on Goldberg's possible arrhythmia and what that condition can mean for you.
Arrhythmia literally means "lack of rhythm." According to the American Heart Association, the term arrhythmia refers to any change in the heart's normal pattern--too fast, too slow, or erratic. "When the heart doesn't beat properly, it can't pump blood effectively."
So what can you do to prevent something like this happening to you? Talk to your doctor before you begin any exercise program no matter how old you are. (David Goldberg was only 47.) Make sure you're healthy enough to begin a program and have your doctor do any tests that might be necessary beforehand. While there are sometimes symptoms of arrhythmia, that's not always the case. Why does it matter? Because arrhythmia can lead to, in worst case scenarios, cardiac arrest (a heart attack) or stroke. If your doctor does determine that you have any medical conditions, such as arrhythmia, that need to be monitored, always wear a medical ID, like a Squid ID, so if tragedy does strike, paramedics will be aware of your condition right away and know how to deal with it properly.