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February is Heart Month

I know that February is heart month. Given the business that I’m in I feel every month should be heart month. 

As one website stated, February is the month for the world to celebrate the heart. From what I could find, it was President Lyndon B. Johnson who established Heart Month in 1963 in the United States (apparently Heart Week was started in 1947 – I guess a week wasn’t long enough for the message to get out there). The intention was to bring attention to the problem of heart and circulatory diseases that was growing amongst Americans. It was also meant to bring support to programs that were created to provide solutions to the problem. I couldn’t find out when Heart Month was established in Canada but we do have our own version. 

A statement made by Health Canada from a couple of years ago says:

“Heart disease affects approximately 2.4 million Canadian adults, and is the second leading cause of death in Canada. We can all reduce our risk of heart disease by making healthy lifestyle choices, including quitting smoking, eating a healthy and balanced diet, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol levels.”

Any current information I could find says that there are still 2.4 million Canadian adults that are affected by heart disease. While I am sure that the awareness programs around lifestyle changes are making a difference my question is, how much of a different are they making? 

The human body is a system. The heart is a key component of that system but it does not need to be treated differently from any of the other components that we can supposedly live without. As an example, and this isn’t a scientific statement, but if poor lifestyle choices have messed up your gall bladder, it can be removed. You can live without it but not without consequences because the gall bladder has a role in a complex system that turns food into energy. That energy moves your body and allows your brain to think the thoughts it thinks. It’s all interconnected. If we mess with one part it affects the other. 

How about we make every moment of everyday a moment of awareness? We can do this by constantly checking in with ourselves. A simple question that works is “how am I feeling right now?”. If the answer is anything but “good” the next step is to think about what is lacking in the way of nutrition, rest/sleep and/or movement/exercise. That’s the magic pill to great health that everyone is looking for. It comes in 3 parts.

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