CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A month full of resolutions has ended, and we enter a month that for many conjures up images of Valentine's Day cards, romantic getaways and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates.
For me, it's all these things. But February also has a way of directing my attention back to health -- yes, you guessed it -- heart health. After all, it's National Heart Month and only fair and fitting that we show ourselves a little love while we are showering others with affection.
Love? Well, yes. We need to take care of our own hearts to be around for those we love.
Do you know your numbers?
If you have three or more of the following risk factors, you are more likely to have a heart attack and/or stroke.
It is imperative you know your blood pressure and your cholesterol levels. Surveys show most people aren't eager to find out if their hearts are at risk. Ignorance may be bliss, but it renders you powerless in this aggressive disease. So identify your modifiable risks and take action to control them.
Outsmart your heart
These are the modifiable factors that increase our chances for cardiovascular disease and stroke. Don't wait until you come face to face with a cardiac incident. Practice these three powerful words: stop, change or control.
Smoking: If you smoke, stop. Your risk is cut in half if you do.
High blood pressure: Control through exercise and/or medication.
High cholesterol: Control through diet, exercise and/or medication.