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?