Dear Annie: I have a family history of cardiovascular disease and lost my mom to a heart attack when she was only 32.
To be preventive about my own health, I had something called a vascular wellness screening: a check of my arteries for atherosclerosis, the plaque that builds up in our arteries as we age. The tests were easy, painless and held at a local church. I had some mild blockage in the arteries of my neck, but nothing serious at the time.
Two years later, my doctor recommended that I repeat the tests. This time, my left neck artery was significantly blocked. This signaled to my doctor that my heart arteries could be blocked, too, and tests showed that to be true. With my family history, there was no doubt that I was at high risk for heart attack and stroke, but I wouldn't have known without the screening.
I encourage people to get their arteries screened. Most people don't think about the health of their arteries or know the word "atherosclerosis," but getting these tests could help you know what is going on inside your body before something serious happens. Work with your doctor, and share your test results so that he or she can use them to help you stay well for as long as possible. — Joan P. in New Jersey
Dear Joan P.: Thank you for this timely information. February is American Heart Month. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in this country. Those who have a family history of heart disease or stroke and feel that a screening would be beneficial should contact their doctor or any local hospital or university health center to set up an appointment. For more information on American Heart Month and how to maintain a healthy heart, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov/Features/HeartMonth or the American Heart Association.
Dear Annie: My wife's college roommate visited us for five days. She turned out to be the Visitor from Hell. Here's what happened:
She strongly recommended that we take her to a certain restaurant that serves great food. We took her three times, at her request, and guess who paid the bill. My wife prepared all the other meals, and our guest never once offered to take us out. In addition, she didn't even bring us a small hostess gift, which, although we didn't need one, would have been thoughtful and appreciated.
During her entire stay, this woman bragged nonstop about everything she has done and will do. She used my computer several times and had me print out one article after another for her personal use. I tried to be nice, but by the fifth day, I lost it, especially when she asked my wife to wash her dirty clothes.
Before leaving, this inconsiderate guest expressed the wish to return next year. My wife puts up with her eccentricities, but I can't. What do you suggest? — Frustrated Husband
Dear Frustrated: Unless your wife is willing to ask her friend to stay at a hotel for at least part of the visit, nothing will change. There's no reason you both have to put up with this guest. Let your wife enjoy a few days with her ex-roommate while you visit family or friends elsewhere, either for part or all of the time she's there.
Dear Annie: This is for "Tolerant in the Land of Enchantment," who pointed out the necessity of blowing one's nose when eating red and green chili at Christmastime in New Mexico. "Tolerant" is obviously a transplant to our area.
First of all, it's chile, not "chili." Chile start out green on the vine and turn red when ripe. In New Mexico, both are popular. When ordering chile, some folks can't decide which to get and order "Christmas," which means both red and green chile, regardless of the time of year. — A Northern New Mexico Native
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.