Tony Siragusa, Genetic Obesity and Heart Attacks


Tony Siragusa, nicknamed “the Goose,” was a defensive tackle for 12 seasons and a major player in the 2001 Baltimore Ravens’ Super Bowl-winning team. He also played for the Indianapolis Colts. From 2003 to 2015, he was Fox Sports’ sideline reporter for National Football League games. He also hosted several television shows. He died on June 22, 2022, from what appeared to have been a heart attack that may have been associated with recent extensive weight loss (down from well over 400 pounds to 360 pounds).

Early Life and Football Years
Siragusa was huge from birth. He attended David Brearley High School in Kenilworth, New Jersey, where he played on the defensive line, punted and place kicked. He had a 39-yard punting average and was 15-of-18 on extra point attempts. He also was the New Jersey state wrestling champion with a 97–1 record. He went to the University of Pittsburgh where he played defensive tackle. In his senior year, he tore his left anterior cruciate ligament, and the resultant surgery made him miss the entire 1988 season. The injury cost him a likely first-round National Football League draft pick.

After being an undrafted free agent in 1990, he was signed by the Indianapolis Colts as a defensive tackle. Every year his football prowess improved and he helped his team almost win the 1995 American Football Conference Championship Game. In 1997, he signed with the Baltimore Ravens and was a major force in the 2000 Baltimore Ravens defense that allowed the fewest total points in NFL history for a 16-game season. In 2000, he helped lead the Ravens to their Super Bowl XXXV Championship. He retired after the 2001 season. He became an NFL games analyst for Fox News, appeared in the TV series “The Sopranos,” and opened a restaurant chain called Tiff’s.

Health Problems and Death
On June 22, 2022, Siragusa died in his sleep at his home in Ortley Beach, New Jersey, apparently of a heart attack. He was 55 years old. He had many heart attack risk factors:
• Family history: his father died at age 48
• Losing and re-gaining weight repeatedly during his lifetime
• Possibly sleep apnea, which is associated with both obesity and heart attacks
I have not seen his medical records, but the odds are strong that he had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar. He was probably diabetic.

He was a famous spokesman about prostate cancer, and just about every lifestyle factor that increases risk for prostate cancer also increases risk for a heart attack. Both heart attacks and prostate cancer are environmental diseases caused mostly by an unhealthy lifestyle:
• smoking
• not exercising
• not eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and other seeds
• eating a lot of sugar-added foods and drinks, mammal meat, processed meats and fried foods
• taking more than two alcoholic drinks a day
• storing extra fat in the belly
• having systolic blood pressure >120 at bedtime
• having bad LDL cholesterol >100
• being diabetic.

The 10-year risk for people developing cancer or heart attacks with an unhealthful lifestyle was 40 percent for men and 25 percent for women, compared to 30 percent for the men and 18 percent for the women with healthful lifestyles (BMC Medicine, Jan 15, 2020;18(5)). See Heart Attacks and Cancers Share the Same Risk Factors

Reduce Inflammation to Help Prevent Heart Attacks and Prostate Cancer
The most effective and safe treatments to reduce inflammation to help prevent heart attacks and prostate cancer include an anti-inflammatory lifestyle that includes:
• trying to exercise every day
• avoiding red meat, processed meat, sugar-added foods, sugared drinks including fruit juices, and fried foods
• eating large amounts of fruits, vegetables and seeds
• losing excess body fat, particularly in the belly
• keeping blood levels of hydroxy vitamin D above 30 ng/dL
• restricting or avoiding alcohol
• avoiding smoking and second-hand smoke

Anthony Siragusa
May 14, 1967 – June 22, 2022