Friday, February 1, 2013

National Go Red for Women Day

Today is national Go Red For Women Day to kick off heart healthy month.
 
Heart disease is the Number One killer of women and is more deadly than cancer. 

Over the past two years, heart disease has affected people I love.

* Almost two years ago, my sister experienced shortness of breath and chest discomfort. At first she thought she was coming down with a cold or maybe getting a sinus infection. She went to her doctor, and to be on the safe side her doctor ran some additional tests to make sure the problem wasn't her heart. While my sister was on the treadmill, the technician told her to get off immediately and called the cardiologist in, who told her she needed to get to the hospital right away. She had blockage in several valves, 98% blockage in one, and needed to have surgery. After her surgery and making lifestyle changes, she is doing fine.

* This past October, my sister-in-law, who has had two pacemaker surgeries, passed out during a wedding reception. Over the past few months she has been hospitalized for more than 10 weeks;  twice she was "coded" and had to be resuscitated. After being bedridden for so many months she is going through physical therapy while she gets healthy enough for a heart transplant. I saw her and my brother on Wednesday. While she needs help walking, her color is good, and she is grateful for every day.

* Sadly, this summer I lost one of my writing friends from complications after surgery. She had had several heart surgeries in the past but her body couldn't survive her last one.

The reason for this post isn't to make readers feel bad, but to encourage them to get educated and get healthy. Personally, I need to work on eating healthy, losing weight, and exercising more.

Here's what I am doing:

To get my weight under control and exercise more, I've been going to a Zumba Gold class at a local church. Classes meet on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. It's fun and an inexpensive and invigorating class, intended for older women. The pace is slower than normal Zumba classes, but the energy level is high. The leader is enthusiastic and encouraging and incorporates her faith with fitness.

If you see me today, I will be wearing red, including tonight at Bunco, where I will try to limit my portion sizes and calorie intake.

I hope to make it to Macy's to buy a Go Red pin. 

I've signed up to go to Her Heart: Every Beat Counts Event, a free health event hosted by the SSM Heart Institute later this month. There, I will have cholesterol/glucose screening (for a small fee), blood pressure screening, listen to speakers, be treated to a healthy lunch, and have the opportunity to win door prizes. My sister and I went to this standing-room only event last year. I came away educated and encouraged to make some changes in my lifestyle--which I'm still working on, but progress is slow.

How about you? Do you plan to do anything today or this month to educate yourself about heart disease?

16 comments:

  1. Donna - Thank you so much for using your blog to help educate and raise awareness about heart disease. So many women still believe heart disease is a man's illness but as we both know, that is far from the case. Sadly, 1 in 3 women will die from some form of heart disease. My heart disease limits the amount of strenuous activity I can do but I make sure to walk, walk, walk! Staying active is huge, no matter your age. Thank you again for supporting Go Red for Women and the American Heart Association. --Karen Guccione-Englert, 8 year survivor

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Karen,
      You are so welcome. I admire your bravery and commitment to educating women about heart disease.
      Donna

      Delete
  2. Hi Donna - I don't personally have heart problems, but both of my parents died at 67 from heart issues, so I'm conscious of diet and regular exercise. This is a good cause, and I'm glad you're taking steps to be healthy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lisa,
      So sad you lost your parents so young, but glad you're conscious of diet and exercise.
      Donna

      Delete
  3. I got the fun diagnosis of not one, but two leaky heart valves a few months ago. It has certainly made me much more aware of what I need to be doing.

    Pat
    Critter Alley

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pat,
      I hadn't heard about your problem. Hope everything turns out okay.
      Donna

      Delete
  4. Yes, I need to start exercising. I am working on the: what goes in my mouth. Any effort is better than none.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I need to exercise, too. I'm going on a hike with my dog rescue group on Sunday, but need to start working on developing a habit of walking/exercising. (And running back and forth between the refrigerator and the couch does not count. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The hike with the dog rescue group sounds like fun!

      Delete
  6. After a scare a couple years ago at the kitchen sink where my left arm went numb, severe headache and dizziness, hubby took me to the ER. They did all the panels, and scheduled a stress test for the next day. They said it was an anxiety attack, not a heart attack. Fast forward last summer on vacation. After paddling in a kayak in a storm to get back to shore. Same thing happened. This time, I didn't go to the hospital and felt horrible for 6 hours. Please let me know where the event is, I think I may want to go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sheree,

      Wow! I knew you had some healt issues, but I didn't know about that.

      Here's the number to call for registration information. 1-866-SSM-DOCS or visit ssmhealth.com/heart

      Delete
  7. As usual, thank you for passing along some great information, Donna. Prayers for your sister-in-law, and glad to hear your sister is doing well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tammy,
      Thanks. I really appreciate it!
      Donna

      Delete
  8. My mom has heart disease and lived through two open heart surgeries so I am very aware. I wore red this past week and through my husbands Wellness program at work we have both lost over 30 pounds since 2010 (and managing to keep the majority of it off!). Making lifestyle changes takes time and continuous effort. Good luck to us all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sally,
      That is great about you and your husband. The lifestyle changes do take time and continuous effort. I agree that awareness is the key.
      Every day is a new opportunity to do better.

      Delete

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