Valentine’s Day – The Gift of Health

Men, I am talking to you this Valentine’s Day.  I know you are thinking about how to show the ladies in your life how much you love them.  Reservations at her favorite restaurant, perhaps tickets to an upcoming  event, a Spa Day, a romantic getaway, a special outfit, flowers or chocolate.

I would like to propose something bigger and even better way to show how much you love them.  Ask them about their heart.

You read that right.  Ask them about their heart health.  How are they feeling?  When was the last time they had a complete physical?  With the pandemic dragging on for the past 2 years many appointments/procedures have been put off, cancelled, delayed or forgotten.  Because of the pandemic, many of us have developed habits, hang ups and behaviors that threaten a healthy heart.  And truth be known many of us women have added a few pounds during this time.  I know I have – you guys have probably done the same.

If appointments have been put off, let this Valentine’s Day be the reminder to step up and get a healthy heart checkup.  Make sure they are around to share that love personally.   And Ladies – You want to give your guys love?  Offer to do it together.  Go for a His & Hers Checkup and then go out for a nice dinner or a quick getaway.

February is Women’s Heart Awareness Month.  Let me share with you are some frightening stats:

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, killing 299,578 women in 2017—or about 1 in every 5 female deaths.2
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for African American and white women in the United States. Among American Indian and Alaska Native women, heart disease and cancer cause roughly the same number of deaths each year. For Hispanic and Asian or Pacific Islander women, heart disease is second only to cancer as a cause of death.3
  • About 1 in 16 women age 20 and older (6.2%) have coronary heart disease, the most common type of heart disease:4
    • About 1 in 16 white women (6.1%), black women (6.5%), and Hispanic women (6%)
    • About 1 in 30 Asian women (3.2%)

What are the symptoms of heart disease? Although some women have no symptoms, others may have:

  • Angina (dull and heavy or sharp chest pain or discomfort)
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, or throat
  • Pain in the upper abdomen or back

These symptoms may happen when you are resting or when you are doing regular daily activities. Women also may have other symptoms, including5

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue

Sometimes heart disease may be “silent” and not diagnosed until you have other symptoms or emergencies, including:

  • Heart attack: Chest pain or discomfort, upper back or neck pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea or vomiting, extreme fatigue, upper body discomfort, dizziness, and shortness of breath
  • Arrhythmia: Fluttering feelings in the chest (palpitations)
  • Heart failure: Shortness of breath, fatigue, or swelling of the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen, or neck veins

If you have any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 right away.

Here is what you can do to reduce the risk of heart disease:

  • Know your family history and heart disease as it is a leading risk factor.
  • Set up routine doctor’s appointments. Today’s world is filled with options from visiting doctors in their office to online zoom visits.
  • Know your numbers: What is your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar numbers (diabetes)? By routinely having bloodwork your physician can help you manage any numbers that are out of the normal range.
  • Seek to change bad habits and develop healthy ones.
  • Manage your stress levels. Exercise, yoga, meditations all help reduce stress.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink to one glass a day.
  • Quit Smoking. If you have never smoked – don’t start!
  • Get up and move! Whether it’s an exercise program, dancing to your favorite music, playing a sport, a hobby such as gardening, biking, tennis or even daily walking – Just do it!
  • Seek out and serve heart healthy recipes. Explore the plethora of recipes on line and get together in the kitchen to prepare them and then enjoy the fruits of you labor.

Understand your risk factors.  Be prepared to speak with your doctor by writing your questions down and bringing them with you to your appointment.  Use the list below as a guide.

  • What is my overall risk for heart disease?
  • What lifestyle changes can I start making to improve my heart health?
  • What tests should I have to monitor my risk factors for developing heart disease or other cardiovascular diseases? How often do I need these screenings?
  • What are my blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels? What do these test results mean?
  • How much exercise do I need to help protect my heart?
  • Should I take aspirin to help prevent a heart attack? If so, how much and how often?
  • Am I at high risk for heart-related complications if I take birth control pills?
  • I’ve heard the warning signs of a heart attack can be different in women. What should I look for?

Look, I know personally how hard this is.  I am a survivor of coronary heart disease and I had no symptoms other than extreme fatigue.  It was only shortly before my open heart surgery, for two blocked arteries often called the widow-maker that I experienced two episodes of shortness of breath.  Every day I must choose whether I am going to eat, move and be heart healthy or not.  And honestly, I don’t always succeed – I do love anything chocolate.  But every day is a new day, a gift from God.  I can choose how to honor that gift by honoring my body.

This Valentine’s Day give the ultimate gift – the gift of a healthy heart.  Wishing that you and those you love live in a wealth of health to have the joy of many tomorrows together.


Thank you for reading my post.  If you have found it encouraging please consider liking, commenting or sharing it.  Feel free to even re-blog – may these words take flight!

I have additional insights I’d love to share with you found in the pages of my debut book: Surviving Medical Mayhem – Laughing When It Hurts.  To order a copy or learn more go to my website at

Blessings for Health & Wellness.



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