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The Tragic Death of Dave Goldberg

Dave Goldberg, the 47-year-old CEO of SurveyMonkey and husband of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, died Friday, May 1, 2015 while exercising on a treadmill near the Four Seasons Resort in Punta Mita, Mexico. He left his villa at 4PM to exercise and his brother, Robert Goldberg, found him on the floor of the gym at about 6:30PM, lying by a treadmill in a pool of blood. He was transported to Hospital San Javier in Nuevo Vallarta where he was pronounced dead.

Incredible Genetics Passed on to Their Children
Goldberg married Sandberg in 2004, and they have two children who inherit the genetic firepower of two of the most brilliant self-made executives in the world today. They met when both worked for Yahoo. Goldberg was graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1989, with a BA in history and government. She was graduated from Harvard in 1991, summa cum laude with a BA in economics, and was awarded the John H. Williams Prize for the top graduating student in economics. Her mentor and thesis advisor was Larry Summers. In 1995 she received an MBA from Harvard Business School with highest distinction. Forbes Magazine ranks her as the ninth most powerful woman in the world. David was a Silicon Valley executive whose company runs an online polling and questionnaire service. In the early 1990s he maxed out his credit cards to fund his first Internet venture, and then went on to work at other tech companies including Yahoo. Under Goldberg's leadership, SurveyMonkey grew from 14 to 500 employees, with a 2014 worth of $2 billion and 25 million customers.

Why I Don't Believe He Died Just from Falling Off a Treadmill
I have never met Dave Goldberg, examined him or even seen his medical records, but it is very unlikely that he died just from falling off the treadmill and banging his head. The only thing I know about his medical history is that he reportedly had high blood pressure. The most common cause of high blood pressure is high blood sugar, and from looking at his pictures I am almost certain that he was diabetic or pre-diabetic. Almost all people with a fat belly and relatively small buttocks have excess fat stored in the liver, which increases risk for a heart attack and sudden death.

Newspaper reports claim that his death was caused by loss of a huge amount of blood from the cut on his head, which is almost impossible. When most people cut themselves, they form clots and bleed only a little. However, people with a large belly and high blood pressure are usually told to take aspirin or other anti-clotting medications that can cause massive bleeding into the brain after a head injury, which can stop breathing and cause death.

Significance of Fat in the Belly

People who store fat primarily in their bellies store excess fat in their livers, and excess liver fat leads to diabetes. A high rise in blood sugar damages every cell in your body. To prevent your blood sugar level from rising too high after you eat, your pancreas releases insulin that drives sugar from the bloodstream into your liver. However, if your liver is full of fat, it will not accept the sugar from blood. Instead your liver releases its stored sugar into the bloodstream to drive your blood sugar level even higher. If you have a large belly and small hips, the odds are overwhelming that you are already diabetic and are headed for a heart attack. Furthermore, if you have diabetes or other heart attack risk factors, your doctor is most likely to put you on aspirin and other anti-clotting medications that will increase your chances of bleeding into your brain with any trauma to your head.

How My Medical knowledge has Affected My Lifestyle
I led my medical school class in cholesterol, with a value of 282 (normal up to 150) at age 18. As a resident at The Massachusetts General Hospital, I led my group of residents with a value or 318. My father died of diabetes and my brother is diabetic. After my residency, I thought that I could prevent an impending heart attack by becoming a marathon runner, but running as much as 120 miles a week and working out three times a day failed to bring my blood levels to normal. Jim Fixx, the best-selling author of “The Complete Book of Running” and a good friend, died of a heart attack while running. He ate steaks all the time, avoided vegetables, and still had a big belly in spite of running lots of miles.

Since then I have read everything I can about nutrition and disease. Today I am 80 years old and can average 20 MPH on my bicycle rides. I race over 25-30 miles three times a week and do interval training on the other days unless my legs feel too sore. I am 6 feet tall and weigh 140 pounds, with less than an inch of fat to pinch on my belly. I have learned that you cannot prevent diabetes or heart attacks just by exercising. I believe that you should also avoid:
• overweight, particularly fat in your belly
• red meat (blocks insulin receptors)
• fried foods
• all sugared drinks including milk (lactose) and fruit juices, except during vigorous exercise
• smoking, second-hand smoke and third-hand smoke
• alcohol
and you should:
• eat large amounts of vegetables and fruits.
• try to exercise every day
• get blood levels of hydroxy Vitamin D above 50 nmol/L
• continue to try to grow more muscle, whatever your age.

I avoid taking medications or supplements, but if you and your doctor agree that you should take them, make sure you are aware of their potential side effects. People who take aspirin or other anti-clotting medications would be wise to have another person present when they exercise or do anything that has a risk of falling.

David Goldberg
October 2, 1967 - May 1, 2015

May 10th, 2015
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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