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Gandolfini's Death Highlights Risks of Heart Problems

Dr. Richard Besser discusses "The Sopranos" actor's unexpected death at 51.
1:46 | 06/20/13

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Transcript for Gandolfini's Death Highlights Risks of Heart Problems
Thank you very much. Gandolfini was only 51 when he suddenly died of cardiac arrest. We're going to bring in our lead medical editor, dr. Richard besser. We're waiting for more details. But they say it was cardiac arrest. What does this bring up for you? It's so dad, when someone dies young, presumably of heart disease. The average age for a heart attack is 75. 51 is very young. When I hear that, there's things I want to know. Did people in his family have early heart disease? Were there men who had heart attacks before 55 or women before 65? Was he a smoker? Did he have high cholesterol, high blood pressure? Those are things you want to look for as risk factors. They will put you at risk for early heart disease. We see him. He know he was a big guy. And 34% of americans are overnight. And 36% of americans are obese. The ama came out yesterday and said that obesity is a disease. What do we do to fight this? Yesterday, when they said it was a disease, because obesity is such a big risk factor for so many things. Diabetes, heart disease, in particular. And what they're trying to do is draw attention to that and say, you know, if you are obese, especially if you have the weight around your middle, that's the metabolically active fat that can put you at greater risk of having a heart attack. You have to do something about that. And there's things that you can do to try and reduce your risk. When you hear someone at such a young age, presumably dying of heart disease, hope it's a call to action, in his name or not, to do something about your life to improve your health. It makes you stop and think. It certainly does. Rich, thank you so much. We're thinking of his wife and his young children. All right.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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