Every week, I spend at least a few minutes getting to 2nd base and feeling myself up, completely FREAKED out by the chance that I might feel ‘something” that could mean breast cancer. I do it in the shower, in bed, when I’m changing clothes…as a cancer survivor, by God, I’m gonna PAY ATTENTION to my body. And I also check out freckles and moles and bumps in case of God Forbid, skin cancer.
But I missed something super important. How about my heart health? The CDC says :In 2008, over 616,000 people died of heart disease. Heart disease caused almost 25% of deaths—almost one in every four—in the United States. And Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. BUT MORE SO FOR WOMEN. TWO to ONE, in fact.
A few years ago I complained of slight chest pain, and I had a wonderful female doctor who sent me for a cardiac workup. (Women are much more likely to be misdiagnosed or taken less seriously for heart ailments) Part of the test came back funny, so I ended up having a 64-Slice CT Coronary Artery Scan which showed clean veins and arteries. After having that I felt pretty sure my heart health was fine. My cholesterol was ok, I had quit smoking YEARS ago, and the only real “bad” think I had going on was my weight. (the chest pain was caused by Acid reflux and GERD). I have to share here that my husband has a cardiac condition called “Hypertrophic Cardiomyophathy” so heart health, for him, is always on my mind. A few years ago he had a cardiac incident that ended up with the placing of 2 stents. He has raised awareness of cardiac health for our family. Since HCM is a genetic disease, I have my kids screen every two years as well. But I’ve dropped the ball on screening myself.
My last physical showed a marked improvement of both blood sugar (I was previously in the pre-diabetic range) and cholesterol levels, as well as weight and general health. I’ve ben eating much more healthfully, and as a result, so has my family. We have pretty much eliminated fried foods from our diets, as well as soda. My goal has been to eat as cleanly as possible, eliminating as many processed foods as possible.
What food do you think is good for your heart?
Health.com wrote a list of the top 10 heart healthy foods, and I try to get in as many as possible:
- Olive Oil
- Flax Seed
We get plenty of all of them, except for soy, and maybe avocado.
I spend a lot of time taking care of everyone else’s health, but neglect my own. (hello, sound familiar Moms??) It’s time for me to set up a few tests to ensure my own health. I need to book a checkup with a Gynecological Oncologist here in Connecticut, rather than traveling to Sloan Kettering, and to book both a cardiac check up and a colonoscopy. Oh, and I can’t forget a mammogram- even though I haven’t felt anything in my self checks.
What are YOU doing to pay attention to heart health this month?