THE MATTERS OF THE HEART
The month of February deals with the matters of the heart. The matters of the heart can be considered something fun or serious. So, when you think about what goes on in this month, there are many themes that come very close to our heart. First of all, there is Love and Black History Month. There is Love and Anniversaries. There is Love and Birthdays. There is Love and Valentine’s Day. And then there is more Love and Heart Disease. What, Love and Heart Disease? “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” Where’s the connection? Believe it or not, there is a connection. Let’s have a heart to heart talk. On every special occasion and moment we get, we want to express our love to each other. It’s what’s in the heart that matters.
Let’s talk about the serious matters of the heart. Now we are getting down to the heart of the matter. This is what I really what to talk about. Taking responsibility of your health also says, “I Love You”. Taking this action says to your loved ones that I care so much about you that I will take care of myself. It says I want to be around to take care of you as long as possible. This can be considered a new way to express love that can be added to your list. Is this not what God has in mind for you too? He has given you His life and now you can experience the abundant life in Him. Try Him and He will give you the desires of your heart.
TAKING RESPONSIBILITY OF YOUR HEALTH
A perfect Valentine’s Day present is the gift of heart health. Along with Valentine’s Day,
February is the month to increase awareness about heart disease. Iit is American Heart Month. African-American men, particularly those that live in the Southeast United States, are at the highest risk for heart disease. However, heart disease is no longer just a man’s disease. The truth is heart attacks are the No.1 killer of women in the United States and it is the No.1 killer of African-Americans. African-Americans have the highest rates of blood pressure, less likely to engage in physical activity, more likely to be overweight and obese and more likely to have diabetes. This February, commit to making one heart healthy lifestyle change. Love has everything to do with it. Love yourself, love your family, love your community. Make a change and be heart healthy!
Here are some lifestyle changes we can make:
- Have regular check-ups to evaluate your risk factors
- Reduce fat and cholesterol in your diet
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Choose high fiber foods
- Eat less red meats
- Stop smoking
- Control high blood pressure
- Know your family and personal health history
- Encourage family and friends to join you
- Make lifestyle changes slowly
If you want more ideas, check out the following resources:
#HeartMonth Facebook Challenge. Each week you will be challenged to complete one thing that can help you maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle. Click here to learn more Million Hearts® Facebook page.
Million Hearts® Healthy is Strong initiative. The goal of the initiative is to raise awareness about prevention, particularly among African-American men, as well as promote patient engagement with the healthcare system. The Healthy is Strong initiative provides African American men a suite of culturally-tailored materials to help them learn how to live heart healthy.
Just for the Heart of it!
By Alfredia Conner, RN, Congregational Nurse