The Heart of Valentines - Get Yours Checked!

The Heart of Valentines - Get Yours Checked!

02.14.13 | By Kaelan Hollon

The original Saint Valentine was supposedly a thoughtful chap; rumor has it he was imprisoned for performing marriages for soldiers otherwise forbidden to marry. The holiday rose to romantic popularity during Chaucer's high Middle Ages, and the heart image became the symbol du jour of a holiday now better known for being a financial boon to the flower and candy industry.

But the heart remains more than a symbol of romantic love or another holiday icon. Make it a reminder to get yours checked regularly -- heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., but thanks to medical innovation, the death rate for heart attack and stroke dropped nearly 28 percent between 1997 and 2007. Although there are currently 299 medicines in the pipeline to help fight the disease, we can all do more. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest following these five steps to help protect your heart and prevent heart disease:

  1. Eat a healthy diet
  2. Maintain a healthy weight
  3. Exercise regularly
  4. Don't smoke
  5. Limit alcohol use

It's also important to make sure you know the common signs of heart disease that could lead to a heart attack. Symptoms include chest pain, discomfort in the jaw, neck or back and feeling light-headed. To learn more about the disease and the most common symptoms, watch this short video.

Understanding heart disease and taking the necessary steps to prevent its onset can also prevent other related diseases, such as diabetes. One in 10 American adults has diabetes and as many as one in three could be affected by the disease in 2050 if current trends continue. Fortunately, diabetes can be controlled and prevented thanks to medical advances and living a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Have a great Valentines Day and remember - pay more attention to your heart!

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