February 14, 2007


An Arrangement for Cindy ( left ) a painting I did for my niece, born two days before Valentine's Day.



February has two heart-related dates - Valentine's Day and National Heart Month . There's a campaign to bring to the attention of American women that heart disease, not cancer, is now our biggest health threat.

Women's symptoms are often missed or dismissed, especially in the case of young women. Not only are warning signs not as pronounced as men's, but who would think a young woman could have a heart attack ? Many hospitals and doctors have often missed or dismissed the symptoms and sometimes even a routine stress test doesn't detect the problem.

A girlfriend of mine, in her 40's, was a non-smoker weighing 99 lbs. soaking wet. One morning she was getting dressed for work and felt a little "pulling " sensation in the center of her chest that lasted a few minutes. She sat down until it went away.

The next day she felt the same thing, only this time she was short of breath , broke out in a cold sweat, and felt dizzy . She rushed to the emergency room and was told that she had a heart attack. She could not believe it. She'd always been a very healthy eater and couldn't understand why she of all people had an attack. The cardiologist explained to her that she had a gradual narrowing of the arteries caused by high cholesterol , and that three were blocked. Even skinny people can have high cholesterol which can be genetic, or produced by their body.

So , ladies, let's be good to our hearts. Add some Olive oil , almonds, baked or broiled fish, fruits and veggies to your diet. And, saving the best for last ; my fave : Chocolate. Yep, according to a new study a little dark chocolate every day reduces clotting and heart-attack risks by almost half . I buy dark chocolate chips ( 60 -70 % cocoa ) and mix them with natural almonds for a yummy and healthy snack.

And, we need to move it or lose it - walk or exercise more. Do you drive everywhere you go ? Make it a habit to walk as much as you can. All it takes is 30 minutes three times a week. Get yourself a good pair of walking shoes and explore your neighborhood or community on foot. Chicago is fortunate to have a magnificent lake front with bike and walking path which our citizens use with gusto .

Take a free test to see if you are at risk. You can visit Harvard University's website at : http://www.yourdiseaserisk.harvard.edu and click on "heart disease. "

I took the test and the results were good with one exception : If I'm gonna be a " good-hearted " woman I gotta cut back on my consumption of red wine. Dag nab it ! That was my favorite part of the heart healthy diet. Oh well, all things in moderation, as they say.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent Feb. article! I will pass along to others also. Thank you for dropping by and I HEART your blog!


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