February is Heart Health Awareness Month, a perfect time to spread awareness and
take action to improve heart health. Caring for your heart should be a top priority; it's
central to your overall health and directly impacts longevity and quality of life. I want to
provide you with the critical information you need to understand heart disease risk
factors, prevention methods, lifestyle changes, and screening tests to consider. My goal
is to equip you with actionable tips to start actively taking better care of your heart.
What does it mean to love your heart? It means showing your heart affection and
gratitude—appreciating all it allows your body to do daily. It means listening to your
heart by paying attention to both the physical and emotional signals it gives you, from
flutterings to anxiety. It means caring for your heart tenderly by managing stress, getting
adequate rest, maintaining healthy relationships, and seeing your physician regularly.
Fundamentally, loving your heart is about connecting to your heart rather than just
analyzing it. Research shows that emotions and self-perceptions influence heart health.
So, this Heart Health Month, examine your numbers, blood pressure, cholesterol, and
blood sugar, but also think about sitting quietly and consciously sending your heart love
and positivity. Tune into this incredible organ that has been beating steadily inside you
since birth. When we love our hearts, they will, in turn, love us back through each life-
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in America, taking over 670,000 lives
each year. The good news is that it's largely preventable through lifestyle changes and adequately managing risk factors. The most critical number to know is your blood
pressure reading, as hypertension is a primary driver of heart attacks and strokes. Diet
and exercise also play central roles in keeping arteries clear and your heart muscle
The significant risk factors for heart disease include:
High blood pressure
The more risk factors you have and the higher the levels, the greater your chance of
developing blocked arteries, heart attack, stroke, and heart damage. Monitor your blood
pressure, get annual screening tests with your doctor, and be aware of warning signs
like chest pain, an irregular heartbeat, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
Prevention Is Key
While some risk factors, like family history and age, are out of your control, many are
within your power to change. Preventive steps are critical because heart disease
develops slowly, with few noticeable symptoms, until damage occurs. Helping your heart
now prevents problems down the road.
Top prevention methods include:
Exercising 30+ minutes per day
Eating a heart-healthy diet high in veggies, fiber and lean protein
Maintaining a healthy weight
Managing conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes
Small, consistent lifestyle changes make the most significant impact over time. Prioritize
exercise you enjoy, learn healthy versions of your favorite recipes, and work on one
change at a time instead of doing too much too fast. I encourage tracking your progress,
which helps you stay motivated.
I challenge you to take at least one step this Heart Health Month to improve your heart
health. This could include:
Getting your blood pressure checked
Scheduling an annual physical
Going for a walk three times per week
Reducing sodium and processed foods
Signing up for a CPR course
Monitoring your numbers with a fitness tracker
Every action, large and small, is necessary for prevention. Use February as the
launching point to make heart health the priority it deserves to be year-round. Let today
be the day you start, and know that I am here to support your journey toward a more
robust, healthier heart. Let the focus on love this month expand beyond romance and
shine that caring light on your heart and overall well-being.
With love, to your health,