February 2010 - Getting to the Heart of the Matter in 2010

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I’m getting to that “certain age” when I receive more phone calls regarding friends who have serious illness and/or have died than invitations to parties. I almost hate to answer the phone for fear of more bad news. Amazingly, many of these phone calls are related to the heart:  heart failure, heart attack, blocked arteries, stroke, and high blood pressure.

I could spend my time telling you that heart disease is the number one killer of African-Americans.  But I think you already know that.  I could tell you that you’ve got to keep your weight under control through diet and exercise and to take your medicine as prescribed by your doctor to control your high blood pressure. But you already know that too. I could also tell you to contact your doctor immediately if you have the symptoms of a heart attack and that those symptoms for men are different from those of women.  But you already know that too—and if you don’t know these things, you can find that information in the links at the end of this article.

What I will spend my time telling you is that aside from your genetic factors and your age, YOU have a lot to do with whether or not you develop heart disease.  Think about it, you’re partially responsible for increasing or decreasing your risk for having a heart problem.  Look at it this way, YOU are responsible for the type of food you eat and how much you eat.  YOU get to decide whether or not you’re going to exercise.  YOU decide whether or not to take your high blood pressure medication.  YOU decide to learn the warning signs of a heart attack.  YOU get to make these decisions.  This gift of “personal decision” is a wonderful gift, but it is not enough to decide to do the right things.  You actually have to do those things that you know will make you healthy.

For us at Journey To Wellness, 2010 is the year of personal responsibility. No more excuses, no more pointing the finger to something else or someone else.  When it comes to heart health, the biggest choice YOU have to make is whether or not YOU want to take the opportunity to make good health decisions and take the responsibility to do the right thing.  In essence, YOU are at the heart of the matter!

With you on your journey to wellness…
Dr. Mary S. Harris

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