Can we have a heart to heart?

So, February is a lot of things – including being a short month which is a good thing if you live in the Northeast, like I do.

In February, we also focus on numerous holidays such as – my birthday month and I know I’m biased, but some of my favorite people are fellow Aquarians – just something about us . . . ya know what I mean?

It’s also Valentine’s Day and who isn’t in the mood for red wine, dark chocolate (both believed to be “heart healthy” perhaps) and flowers – absolutely safe for the heart . . . we hope. Ok, maybe some of us aren’t in the mood, but it’s always nice to have red roses in the house – even if you buy them for yourself! Finally, Chinese New Year is in February . . . at least this year it is and – it’s the year of the DOG! Dogs have to be good for your heart as well. Just look at mine on a recent visit to the New England Aquarium with my daughter Chloe.

It’s also Heart Failure Awareness Week that was created to increase awareness of the severity of heart disease.

I don’t need to tell you that heart disease is the leading cause of death amongst African American and White women in the US. It’s also true among men.

Recently, I had a dear friend who suffered a stroke. The amazing thing is that he ignored the “signs” of a stroke and in the end, had several “small” strokes that caused – in the end – only the loss of his peripheral vision, much of which he’s regained. He was lucky. He might never gotten to the hospital except that he spoke to his sister and shared his experience of not being in control of his hands and movement and having difficulty seeing. She suggested he check it out immediately and he was lucky he did.

From the little I know about the disease – I have heard the symptoms of strokes is different in men than in women. I’m wondering what PCP’s could communicate with their patient’s ways to deter heart disease and indications that you may be experiencing a stroke.

Spending a week bringing awareness to a serious killer disease is a good thing. I’m wondering what more could be done that would take little time – like writing out ways to avoid, control and recognize an illness before it becomes a life or death issue? Creating pro-active protocols that can be used over and over again might help bring more attention and awareness to people on an individual basis by writing something that could apply to the majority.

I would love to know what you and your hospital or healthcare system are doing to help people be more aware of the signs of heart disease and stroke.

Heart-fully yours, Nancy

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