Raising Awareness About Heart Health

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: February 11, 2020

“Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired”
– Robert Frost

Dear Red Hot Mamas,

Another Groundhog Day has come and gone. And, according to groundhog Punxsutawney Phil, we will have an earlier spring since this little fellow did not see his shadow on February 2nd.

The weather in NJ is usually cold and snowy, but not this year. The temperatures in New Jersey stayed well above average. So, thankfully, I did not have to burrow in my home this winter as I have done in the past.

However, I honestly can say that I do look forward for Spring to arrive. I very much enjoy longer days of sunshine. Spring gets me out of a state of lethargy and awakens me. It puts me in gear to shed those extra holiday pounds and start working on my figure again!

Now, it’s time for me to take control of my health and change my relationship with the foods I ate during the holiday months. Shame on me for overindulging!

It’s time to really get back into shape.   I’ll do this by exercising most days of the week and eating better. Hope we can all do this together.

And, yes, once again we are celebrating Valentine’s Day which is considered the most romantic day of the year. We all know the adage “Love makes the world go round”. But I am convinced, this day, should not only be celebrated by couples, but it also should be a day to celebrate the love for yourself. So, this Valentine’s day, take inventory of all you have and shift your imagination to becoming receptive to all the positive happenings in your life. I hope that you do something that truly make you happy – take a long walk, enjoy a fun movie, go to the gym to relieve stress, just relax. Life is a banquet, so enjoy it.


February is also American Heart Month. It’s important to open that line of communication with your healthcare provider to discuss ways to improve your heart health. Educate yourself about risk factors. Many risk factors for heart disease and stroke are preventable by making healthy choices and simple changes to your lives.

The term heart disease refers to several types of heart conditions, including coronary artery disease and heart attack.

Despite increases in awareness over the past decades, only about half (56%) of women recognize that heart disease is their number 1 killer.

Learn more facts about women and heart disease:

  • 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.
  • 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.

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, including:

  • 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.

What are the risk factors for heart disease?

High blood pressure, high LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. About half of all people in the United States (47%) have at least one of these three risk factors.

Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease, including

  • Diabetes
  • Having overweight or obesity
  • Eating an unhealthy diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Drinking too much alcohol

How can I reduce my risk of heart disease?

To lower your chances of getting heart disease, it’s important to do the following:

  • Know your blood pressure. Having uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to heart disease. High blood pressure has no symptoms, so it’s important to have your blood pressure checked regularly. Take your medication if your doctors prescribes it for high blood pressure.
  • Talk to your doctor or health care team about whether you should be tested for diabetes. Having uncontrolled diabetes raises your risk of heart disease.
  • Quit smoking.If you don’t smoke, don’t start.
  • Watch your weightbeing overweight or obese can increase risk for heart disease
  • Get moving- Before beginning an exercise program speak to your healthcare provider. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day of the week.
  • Discuss checking your blood cholesterol and triglycerides with your doctor.
  • Make healthy food choices. Eat a healthy diet to include plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol and minimize red meat consumption. Limit salt or sodium in your diet which can lower blood pressure.
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink to one drink a day.
  • Manage stress levels by finding healthy ways to cope with stress. Take time to relax and learn ways to cope with stressful situations.

For more information on women and heart disease, visit the following website:

In closing, I wish I could send each of you a Valentine’s Day card each day of the week for the gift of your friendship.

Remember those who give love, gather love. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Good Health to You All,

Karen Giblin