February is American Hearth month and that means it’s a good moment to think about a disease that kills more than 600,000 Americans each year. Heart disease is the leading killer among both men and women.  My personal story of how heart disease affected my Valentine is below.  First, here are suggestions from the Centers for Disease Control regarding lifestyle choices that can help us stays heart healthy:

  • Choose lean meats and poultry without skin and prepare them without added saturated and trans fat.
  • Select fat-free, one per cent fat, and low-fat dairy products.
  • Cut back on foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet.
  • Cut back on foods high in dietary cholesterol. Aim to eat less than 300 mg of cholesterol each day.
  • Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars.
  • Select and purchase foods lower in salt/sodium.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. That means no more than one drink per day if you’re a woman and two drinks per day if you’re a man.
  • Keep an eye on your portion sizes.

It’s also important to know the signs of an impending heart attack, because they can start slowly and symptoms may seem mild. According to the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute, these are the signs that may mean a heart attack is in progress.

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath. May occur with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.

Two years ago, my husband was experiencing some of these symptoms, but was hesitant to go to the emergency room.  Not feeling well, he had seen a physician the day before;  the doctor did not run tests but instead gave him something for indigestion!  The next morning, the symptoms became more profound and we hurried to the emergency room.  Following routine tests, he was taken by ambulance to a hospital about 100 miles from home to be tested by cardiologists.  They found he had blockage in four arteries. He had successful quadruple bypass surgery and after several weeks of recovery and cardiac therapy, was back playing golf and working in his garden.  We know we are very blessed that he got the proper medical care before he had a heart attack.  We live in an age where miracles happen every day, and heart surgeons can mend our hearts, giving us another chance. 

I shared this story with you because you must not ignore the signs of heart disease or heart disease when it is affecting someone you love, or someone you know. Insist that they be checked out, and don’t let them delay.  It could save their life, or help them avoid the need for surgery.  Both my parents died as a result of strokes, so I know that my children and I must be aware of ways to keep our hearts healthy and strong.  Everyone should discuss their family history with their physicians.

We need to love the hearts of our sweethearts, children, grandchildren and friends by teaching them to make better choices in the foods they eat, lifestyles they live, and also encouraging them to make exercise a regular part of their daily routine.  It’s not only American Heart Month in our country, but every month is heart month all over the world!  This is a great time to tell your Valentines how special they are.  You can have a dazzling, romantic dinner, go to a movie, exchange gifts, or have a family Valentines celebration.  A promise to join a fitness center and exercise together might be the best gift you ever give!  Regardless of how you observe Valentines Day, spend the rest of your life showing those that you love – family, friends, and acquaintances – that you plan to take care of yourself by loving your heart, as well as theirs! 


Source of report: CBS News