Heart health should be priority all year through

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By The Staff

To the editor,

The short month of February in the words of President Bill Clinton “is held in the depth of winter. But, by the words we speak and the faces we show, we force the spring.” A spring of rebirth, renewal and revitalization. In this short month we watch the groundhog predict the weather, observe the history of our African American brothers and sisters, honor great men like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson, and celebrate the feast day of Saint Valentine.

February is also when the issue of women’s heart disease is called to our attention. Heart disease is the number one killer of woman and they should be aware of it not just one month out of the year, but all 12 months of the year.

Heart disease affects over 400,000 women in the United States every year. It affects women of all ages, races and socioeconomic backgrounds. More women die from heart disease than cancer, diabetes and respiratory illness. What is more, our African American sisters are at greater risk for this disease.

Forty percent of all women over the age of 40 suffer from some form of heart disease. This percentage doubles for women over the age of 80. Heart disease has been labeled as the “silent killer” because many women have few warning signs that they have a problem. Many women, like my own grandmother Nellie Turner, suffer debilitating strokes and massive heart attacks before they discover that there is anything wrong.

They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So I say to the women of Harrison County: Do your part to prevent cardiac related fatalities. Exercise, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, avoid saturated and trans fats, limit your caffeine and sodium intake and reduce stress in your life. If you are a diabetic then keep it under control and if you smoke then quit.

Ladies of Harrison County, let us make heart health a priority not just during this month but from March until January as well.

Matt Kendall