Love Your Heart

By Amanda Starr, Founder and Owner, Arise Safety and CPR | | 1.22.24

February is all about matters of the heart including love, relationships and, of course, heart health. Which is why back in the 1960s the American Heart Association (AHA) named February to be American Heart Month. This was created to bring awareness, mostly to women, about the deadly effects of Heart Disease and the rapid, but silent, rising death rates among women.

A few years ago, my mother was found unconscious on the bathroom floor due to a stroke, which is a symptom of heart disease. That very same week my best friend had a heart attack and went into cardiac arrest at work. She was 32 years old. Thankfully her coworkers were trained in CPR and saved her life. Statistics say that 1 in 4 women will die of heart disease. More women will die of heart disease than all the cancers combined. Thankfully, both women are alive today to tell their stories. Today they are both living a very drastic lifestyle. You don’t have to learn the hard way to start making changes in your life.

Heart disease is actually a generic term that covers a wide range of conditions relating to the heart. Some of the more common heart diseases include heart failure, coronary artery disease, arrhythmia and so many more. In the past, heart disease has been seen as more of a problem for men. This myth has unfortunately cost lives because heart disease is tragically the number 1 killer in the US for both men and women. The signs and symptoms are oftentimes different in women than they are in men, making it harder for women to recognize it early.

Every 33 seconds in America one person dies of heart disease. The best way to prevent heart disease is lifestyle choices.

How to Love Your Heart…

  • Exercise: Start out small; 20 minutes once a week and slowly build yourself up to more. The recommended amount of exercise is 150 minutes per week, but don’t convince yourself that that's where you start. Think about what's sustainable for you.
  • Eat Healthy: Think “add 1”. Add 1 healthy option to your diet each day. Such as Add Oats to your breakfast. Your diet also affects your blood pressure, weight, and cholesterol. Finding a diet that you love and is balanced, along with exercise, will start to dramatically decrease your chance of heart disease.
  • Quit smoking/vaping: This is a major factor in heart disease. There are several programs to help in the process of quitting.
  • Relax: This is so important! Take a few minutes a day to just breathe, try out a guided meditation, or just sit in a quiet room for a few minutes. Stress is a silent killer to the heart and we never truly know the damage it’s doing until it’s too late. A little bit of mindfulness not only helps the heart, but it’s great for our mental health as well.
  • Sleep: I’m sure you have heard this your whole life, 7-8 hours of sleep is a must. This is also your sign to give yourself permission to take that nap.
  • Learn CPR and First Aid: Not only will you get a little bit of exercise during the training but you will learn the basics of what signs and symptoms to look for when someone is suffering a stroke, heart attack and other heart related conditions.
  • Give your doctor a visit: Your doctor will be able to check to see where your health risks are and help you come up with a plan and resources to get back on track.

This February as you and your sweetheart celebrate your love for each other, consider how you can also Love Your Heart.

About the Author

Amanda Starr is the Founder and Owner of Arise Safety and CPR based out of Greenwood, In