It’s February! …That special time of year dedicated to the heart —
The month known for being “American Heart Month” ever since 1964 —
And that has Valentine’s Day at it’s very center!
Our call to take time out this month for matters of the heart, and for seeing the big picture for us, as individuals, and for our country as a whole… A picture that initially gets painted by numbers:
Heart Disease Facts [according to American Heart Association’s 2013 Report and Center for Disease Control Stats]
►Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the USA: #1 = Heart disease; #2 = cancer; #3 = chronic lower respiratory diseases; #4 = Stroke; #5 = accidents… This would mean that cardiovascular diseases (CVD) claimed more lives than all forms of cancer combined in 2010; and about 1 out of every 3 deaths in U.S. was due to CVD. [Heart disease is also #1 cause of death in the world per report.]
►In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 43 seconds. Each minute, someone in the United States dies from a heart disease-related event.
►Stroke is a leading cause of disability; and considered the leading preventable cause of disability.
►About 83.6 million Americans are living with some form of cardiovascular disease or after-effects of stroke.
►Direct & indirect costs of cardiovascular diseases & stroke in USA = more than $315.4 billion .
►Heart disease is the #1 cause of death for women in the U.S. (as it is for men) which should have us all seeing RED… with the “Go Red” for women AHA campaign!
The AHA also tracks 7 Key Health Factors and behaviors that are known to increase the risk for heart disease & stroke:
2.) Physical Activity
4.) Body Weight (&/or Composition)
5.) Blood Cholesterol Profile
6.) Blood Pressure
7.) Blood Sugar
8.) Degree of Alcohol Use
9.) Chronic Stress
Still, the good news is that each & every one of these factors is capable of being changed and improved upon! …We can actually do something about them, which can lower our risks for such disease, and ultimately transform the picture that’s being painted!
KNOW THE SIGNS!
The National Heart Attack Alert Program notes the major signs of a heart attack as follows:
■ Chest pain or discomfort (such as an uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness) in the center or left side of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back.
■ Discomfort in other areas of the upper body (such as in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach).
■ Shortness of breath either before or often along with the chest discomfort.
■ Other symptoms including: cold sweats, nausea, &/or light-headedness.
It is important to recognize the signs of a heart attack and to act immediately by calling 911.
And speaking of numbers today, the word “heart” actually appears more than 500 times within the Bible [depending upon translation used, per online word-counts]… Where the Hebrew understanding of this word conveys vital meaning — to who we are and called to be…
And where the heart is CENTER – and central to the physical, intellectual & spiritual life, closely tied to our decisions – our acts of the will.
But this understanding can be easily lost these days which sadly has a way of making us ill – physically, intellectually, and spiritually.
Heart Of The Matter
In making the health of the heart central, how much more could be addressed and fall into place? How do we treat the heart? How do we nourish it? After all, this is not about going on a diet again. It’s about needing a new Way! …A way that is simple and honest – not complicated – not burdensome (not weighed down with unrealistic or unsound man-made notions). [For] they tie up heavy burdens (hard to carry) and lay them on people’s shoulders [Matthew 23:4]. However, the new way will require a decision of the heart – a commitment – to get back to what’s central… for the sake of your heart. Because the further we go from the center of it all (and that which is good for the heart), the more unstable and ill we become… physically, intellectually, and spiritually.
It all comes back to the heart…
as well as our need for the Sacred Heart for this picture to be made complete!
So naturally I love the “coincidence” of how the AHA’s “NATIONAL WEAR RED DAY” — to raise awareness in the fight for health [against heart disease; particularly for women] — falls on the First Friday of February (Feb. 5th this year). How perfect for us Catholics who have long been called to a FIRST FRIDAY DEVOTION To The HEART!
Consider, then, if you might be due for making a special “date” in honor of this month with your physician for a check-up, when appropriate / possible….
And with The Great Physician of all ASAP!
That we may become centered once again… for sake of body, mind, and soul.
What Am I?
I’ve been considered the center, while holding many seats.
In need of silence to hear.
I reveal your emotions & intellect, both the physical & the spiritual.
You might swear with me… Some will cross me.
I could melt… or become hardened. Sometimes real… or not.
Restless when wrong. Cured when open.
Could sing for you. Yet best at keeping beat.
Heavy or broken at times. Despised, pierced, forgotten…
Though without me, there is no life!
Still humble, I am.
What Am I… to you? “
©2014/2016.–The Way to Nourish for Life: Ideas expressed here within post are those of The Way to Nourish for Life RD. Note: Please refer to “About” for caveat.
Image Sources for: 1.) Basic red heart from “Corazon-” by Ilhh – own work, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons; 2.) Heart in stained glass from Wikimedia Commons.