With Valentine’s Day just passed, a plethora of paper hearts and chocolates undoubtedly litters your kitchen island while sweet little notes of heart-felt sentiment adorn your refrigerator. You feel the love you’ve poured into others all year; on February 15th, and beyond, why not show yourself some love with a little bit of self-care? I am not talking about a bubble bath, a nap, or even a spa treatment…although, a needle may be involved. I am talking about getting that blood work done that your doctor probably asked you to do at your last well-woman check that you’ve been putting off, or simply making that appointment with your doctor. February is heart health month, and we are looking at you, Mama.
RELATED READING :: Black Maternal Health: Become an Advocate for Yourself
Did you know that women are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than all forms of cancer COMBINED? Just think of the stress that is placed on our bodies when we carry and give birth to our babies, then the sleep deprivation and stress of providing milk and caring for newborns round the clock. We are capable of amazing things, but it does in fact take a toll on our bodies. More people complain about losing their pre-Mama figure, than actually thinking about how pregnancy and childbirth impact the body internally.
The Good News
It is not just mothers who are more at risk; it is ALL women. Our signs and symptoms of cardiac events are different than men’s, and women in general are less likely to monitor their heart health. The good news is, most cardiac events can be prevented with early education and intervention. That’s right. Simply getting checked out, making a few lifestyle changes here and there if necessary, and heart attack and stroke can be kept at bay. It sounds so simple, but I know women don’t always put themselves first. A few years ago, I had a bit of scare, and I am glad I got it checked out.
Women’s Heart Health Specialist
I made an appointment with my primary care doctor because I was having big heart palpitations for over 24 hours. I had an EKG, labs drawn, and wore a heart monitor overnight to see how often and intense the palpitations were. I then visited Dr. Caitlin Giesler, a Women’s Heart Health Specialist in Austin and found the palpitations were benign, but to keep an eye on it with regular well-woman checks and especially, labs. A few tips she gave me were, get enough sleep, eat regular meals and drink enough water, exercise, avoid sugar, alcohol and caffeine, take a daily multi-vitamin. In other words, live like a normal person! Hahaha! How many of us just overlook basic human needs on the daily to get work done or to be there for our kids or others?
This is Your Reminder
This February, make a pledge to yourself to book that appointment and get those labs drawn (it is so easy now with online booking) and make those little changes that will make a big difference in your heart health and overall health. Make a specific plan, write it down, follow-through, reward yourself with something you like to do after your appointment like a mani-pedi, a nap, or a bubble bath. Do it for your family if not for yourself. My appointment is on the 22nd…
When is yours?