TWIN brothers Barry and George Hatchman enjoy the occasional bickie but their lifestyle and diet is not the major cause of their heart disease.
The 69-year-olds both led fit and healthy lifestyles and had decorated careers in the air force based at Amberley but they were also told within months of each other they needed open heart bypass surgery to repair blocked arteries.
Barry is well on the road to recovery after his triple bypass in November.
But George was this week told he was set to undergo a similar procedure within weeks.
A cardiologist told Barry he had several blockages around the lower part of his heart and within a week he was on the operating table.
"Surreal is the word because even though I'm close to 70, I didn't feel like I had heart problems, I felt good. I did not think that I was a heart victim," Barry said.
"I still like my nice things but certainly not to extreme. Everybody has their transgressions."
Barry took part in the Nijmegen March in Holland in his 50s and continues his fitness regime by walking five kilometres a day and working out at a rehab gym.
He said it was a routine he was able to maintain post-surgery.
"I am better than before. I've got more endurance and more spark," he said.
"This thing about having heart bypass surgery it puts so much fear into people. If you are faced with heart bypass surgery, don't be afraid, just look forward to it as excitement that you are going to get a new life."
George is an avid volunteer in the Ipswich region and spends his days working with community groups and organisations.
It's a demanding role he'll have to take a break from when he goes under the knife in a matter of weeks.
Five of George's arteries are 90% blocked.
"I was a bit taken back that my brother needed open-heart surgery and he suggested I get checked out," George said.
"You get a bit disconcerted, it's a bit of a confidence loss but a disease that's not going to go away and just increase but inevitably it's a disease that would likely see me have a heart attack.
"While I can live a normal life at the moment there is no uncertainty about when I can have a heart attack."
The brothers are using their experience to encourage others to get their heart health checked.
Recent Amcal research showed more than 83% of Queenslanders were aware of a family history of cardiovascular disease and proactively had their heart health screened.
Of those who had their heart health tested, more than a third were diagnosed with a heart condition or told they were at risk but many chose to disregard these symptoms instead of investigating the cause with their GP or pharmacist, Amcal senior pharmacist James Nevile said.
"It is important that Queenslanders - and all Australians - understand why they are at risk and what steps are required to prevent future heart disease or appropriately manage their pre-existing condition," he said.
Anyone concerned about their heart health may wish to consider a free nine point heart health check during February, available at Amcal + Pharmacies nationwide.
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