12 Ways To Protect Your Heart { & my personal experience with heart disease}


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Heart Truth® for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Wear Red for Heart Disease awareness, but also be sure you're protecting your heart. Get tips on preventing heart disease here- 12 Ways To Protect Your Heart { & my personal experience with heart disease}

12 Ways To Protect Your Heart { & my personal experience with heart disease}

We’ve heard it all before; Heart Disease is the #1 killer of women.

I’ve been listening to this same song and dance my whole life:

  • “You know high blood pressure runs in the family.”
  • “You know your Aunt on your Momma’s side twice removed died of a heart attack.”
  • “You need to lose weight, not only to be healthy but to avoid Diabetes and High Blood Cholesterol issues.”
  • “You need to stop eating junk food.”

You need to, you need to do this, you need to do that.

I got tired of hearing about all of the things I needed to do and not do. I just wanted to live my life, my way.

However, that changed when my Grandma just dropped dead.

“How could this be?” She was healthy, active her whole life. She was a beautiful person, slim, non-smoker and always took care of herself.

Twenty years later, my Aunt dropped dead. Again, she was active, healthy, and always took care of herself.

Fast forward to almost three years ago, my Mom dropped dead at the age of 62.

Heart Disease Awareness Month

All three died from the same illness, Heart Disease.

I guess it is the #1 Killer, especially in my family.

When my Grandma died, I learned how important it was to take care of myself. How important it was to check my blood pressure regularly, changed my eating routine and diet, and start exercising.

My Grandma took her blood pressure and heart medicine daily. She was active, actually dropping dead on the steps of a hotel while traveling with my Uncle to an event.

Heart Disease Awareness Month

My Aunt was coming from the grocery store and had a heart attack in her car.

My Mom went down a little slower. Two years before she passed she had several mini strokes and slowly went down. But, just like her Mom and Aunt, she just dropped dead on the floor one morning while we were helping her to a chair.

Heart Disease Awareness Month

All three had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and were over the age of 55. My Grandma and Aunt regularly took medicine, my Mom did not.

Even with the medication, being active, watching what they ate, they still just dropped dead.

The common denominator for all three women is this: we have a family history of early heart disease.

Heart Disease Awareness Month

It scares me. Considering all the women on my Mom’s side dropped dead from heart attacks, more than likely means my sisters and I will also go out that way.

Both of my sisters have high blood pressure and have been hospitalized with similar symptoms. So far, I have been blessed with not having any high blood pressure or high cholesterol issues.

But I know it’s coming. Eighty percent of women ages 40 to 60 have one or more risk factors for heart disease.

Risk factors are conditions or habits that make a person more likely to develop a disease. The risk factors for heart disease are:

  • High blood pressure {runs in our family!}
  • High blood cholesterol {runs in our family!}
  • Diabetes and prediabetes {runs in our family!}
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese (BMI of 25 or greater) {my personal issue!}
  • Being physically inactive (less than 2.5 hours of physical activity per week)  {my personal issue!}
  • Having a family history of early heart disease {runs in our family!}
  • Having a history of preeclampsia during pregnancy
  • Unhealthy eating {my personal issue!}
  • Age (55 or older for women)

According to the latest data available (2013), one in four women in the United States died of heart disease.

Wow! Chilling, right?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking, “Ok, Tat, what are YOU doing to avoid dropping dead?”

Well, to be honest, I still struggle with this particular issue. I feel I am going to drop dead anyway, regardless of what I do since it runs in our family.

But, considering I am almost 35 and don’t have high blood pressure or high cholesterol issues (yet), there is something I can do to help prolong my life.

I am considered overweight (even at 5’11), so I do have that strike against me. Over the past year, I’ve been working on changing habits in my life. I’m eating more greens, (I love kale, especially in smoothies), checking my blood pressure regularly, using different essential oils, and exercising.

symptoms of heart disease

So, here’s my #FromTheHeart advice on how to protect your heart health!

  1. Find out if heart disease runs in your family. If so, your stake on this issue just went up.
  2. If you’re not eating healthier, it’s time to change. I have some great smoothie ideas you can check out, including a green smoothie.
  3. Eat tons of fruits & veggies!
  4. Start exercising, even if this means only a few times per week. Also, work at maintaining a healthy weight.
  5. What’s your blood pressure level? If it’s high, or tend to lean on the high side, see your doctor on what you can do to bring it back down.
  6. Stop using salt or use it sparingly.
  7. Don’t smoke.
  8. Portion control. You can eat well, but just watch what and how much you are eating.
  9. Check to see if you have diabetes. And if you do have it, work at keeping it under control!
  10. When’s the last time you checked your cholesterol level? If it’s higher, work at keeping it under control. (same with your triglyceride levels)
  11. Work at ways to reduce your stress levels (this will contribute to reducing or keep your blood level, diabetes, etc. in control as well!)
  12. Be responsible and do your research. The biggest thing you can do for yourself is to educate yourself about the causes and symptoms of heart disease.

You can help raise awareness about American Heart Month by going to The Heart Truth for additional information and tips.

Do you know someone who has been affected by Heart Disease? Feel free to share your thoughts below in the comments, I would love to hear from you!

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18 Comments

  1. February 23, 2016
    Reply

    You’ve convinced me to exercise more! I watch my salt intake and try to eat mostly veggies and fruit, but it seems that during the winter I cut back on exercise. We need to do everything we possibly can to live a healthy lifestyle.

  2. February 23, 2016
    Reply

    Heart disease is such a scary thing to deal with. As an ex-cardiac nurse, I only know how much pain this awful disease can bring. Thank you for the reminder about how serious it is, and how I need to be more proactive.

  3. This post is so important. Many women do not realize that they are at risk of heart disease. It’s hard to watch what we eat and exercise regularly, but we must do it if we want to live a long and healthy life.

  4. I can relate….most of the men on my father’s side have died from unregulated hear disease. It seems my dad is the first one to take notice and work on his high blood pressure/cholesterol with medicine. (His is kidney-related and will never go away no matter how much weight he loses.) I am an amateur genealogist, and from my findings, at 61, he is the longest living male in his line in a long time. I already have hive blood pressure, but mine seems to be weight related, since its gone down significantly as I’ve lost weight.

  5. February 23, 2016
    Reply

    I’m so sorry to read about all the losses in your family 🙁
    It made me happy to see that you’re trying to change your habits though! I have heart problems that run in the family, too and get checked yearly (ultrasound), so I can really relate to your situation!

  6. February 23, 2016
    Reply

    Gosh, I guess I didn’t realize how serious of a risk heart disease was for women. The men in my family have died of heart problems, but as far as I know I don’t have that strike against me (yet) as far as the women go. I’m so sorry to hear about your losses and I wish you only the best to beat this disease!

  7. February 23, 2016
    Reply

    Heart disease can be frightening. I can’t imagine having this kind of disease. We sure need to take care.

  8. February 23, 2016
    Reply

    I am right there with you. My blood pressure has been teetering on hypertension but Dr’s seemed to think it was due to pain. But I think there is more to it since I’m obese too. I just started my own journey to a healthier lifestyle.

  9. February 24, 2016
    Reply

    My dad also died from a heart disease. We really should be aware of ourselves, consult with doctors and learn to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

  10. Michele D
    February 24, 2016
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing this story. I am so sorry for your loss. I agree, heart disease can come at any age. Preventive care is a must.

  11. Chris Hoov
    February 24, 2016
    Reply

    My Grandma also died but she died because of Diabetes, it’s important to take care ourselves especially our health, our heart.

  12. February 24, 2016
    Reply

    Wow, yeah I better get on the ball!!! I’ve started to drink more water and take more vitamins too. I know you should watch your salt intake. One step at a time. Thanks for posting all your tips. I have to do better!!

  13. February 24, 2016
    Reply

    This is so close to home. I have a fib and know I have to keep working out and working on eating better. My bmi is to high as well. Ugh.

  14. February 24, 2016
    Reply

    As I find myself getting older, I’m realizing more and more how important it is to take good care of my heart! Especially with heart failure in my family. Thank you for sharing these fantastic tips! 🙂

  15. February 26, 2016
    Reply

    I take my health for granted for sure, I don’t have anyone in my family who has suffered from heart disease, but I do have family members who have had cancer. I do my best to get my yearly checkups done but of course since I’m young I still keep up with old bad habits. I think if you start out early it will make a big difference later on in life. I like how you have taken those steps early on to ensure a longer healthier life.

  16. Anosa
    February 26, 2016
    Reply

    Oh my god it must be a scary thing having heart disease run in the family like that. I think it is important to change eating habits and exercising and since you’re on your way doing that already I pray heart disease skips you luv

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