February is a short but love-filled month. It’s a month when we think of others for various reasons, be it the Random Acts of Kindness week or Valentine’s Day. It also needs to be a month that we think about our own hearts. As the proverb goes, “guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Selfish, you might say, but important and not just in a spiritual way. According to the Centers for Disease Control, cardiovascular disease—including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure—is the number 1 killer of women and men in the United States. It is a leading cause of disability, preventing Americans from working and enjoying family activities according to the American Heart Association.
Million Hearts® is a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. If you’re not sure of the state of your heart, there are some ways to find out. Million Hearts® has a Heart Attack Risk Calculator, A My Life Check and Heart 360 which helps you track and manage your heart health.
OK, I have recently gained some weight and when I did a couple of these heart tests, I found out that it’s a major risk factor for heart attacks. I also have cholesterol that is 203 and anything over 200 is not good.
On the good side, I do exercise at least 150 minutes a week. But the reason I’ve gained the weight is another factor against me. I’m not eating enough vegetables and fruits, at least 5 a day is what they recommend. I’ve never smoked or had high blood pressure, so I’m good there.
I found an article that tells the history of the symbolic meanings for the heart, from the Egyptians who portrayed the heart with a dung beetle, to Aristotle who said it was the seat of reason, to the pagan tribes of Europe who associated it with courage.
The heart is an organ we now know distributes blood throughout the body, taking away waste and bringing oxygen. Is that what love does? Take away the bad and replace it with good? Maybe our hearts are linked to love in more ways than we know. Spend some time on the health of your heart for everything you do flows from it. If it's sick, you can't help yourself or others very well. God bless your heart.