A Love Letter From Your Heart
We often overlook and mistreat our bodies, especially our hearts. It’s easy to forget how much they do for us. If our hearts could speak, here are a few things they would like us to know:
I know it’s not easy to choose between catching up with friends in different time zones and your determination to finish this week’s book late at night. But, it is an absolute treat when you decide to catch more Zzzs instead. Sleeping helps me slow down and recharge. In that way, I get to help your other systems function better.
Thank you for maintaining a smoke-free life, as that keeps me in top condition. At the same time, I honestly think it is smart of you to avoid places that risk secondhand smoke. That prevents me from experiencing heart attacks and strokes.
I love that you crack jokes with your friends and enjoy watching a good movie. It helps a lot that you laugh more, because it releases endorphins which I call “happy hormones,” relaxing the body. This eventually leads to reduced blood pressure, relieving me from tension. Your laughter keeps me at a steady pace. Want to know something cool? Laughing is a good workout for your lungs as well! When you try to catch your breath, more oxygen is allowed into the lungs, improving your vascular function and circulation.
I appreciate your regular visits to the doctor. I look forward to these "dates" because I get a chance to share how things are going on my end. If necessary, we can all discuss some new and better ways of doing things.
You also keep close tabs on your numbers and levels, which gives me peace every day. We get to do way more when I am in good condition and that’s because you stay on top of it all.
I know you feel that 24 hours a day is not enough time to get things done. Despite your hectic schedule, please know that your 30-minute walk around the neighborhood, a quick stretch from sitting all day, or a stroll in the park is something I truly love doing with you. When you forget or choose to rest instead, please know that you are doing a great job. I appreciate you trying your best to constantly move around — even when you take the stairs rather than the elevator or make time to walk your furry friend. And while your dog’s wagging tail is proof of its joy, I am grateful as well. Your consistency means the world to me.
You and I are not getting any younger. I hope you know that you did a good job looking out for me throughout the years. In your 20s and 30s, establishing a healthy lifestyle was a great way to start. No smoking, and you took it easy on the alcohol. Prevention is more important during pregnancy, where increased blood pressure and gestational diabetes can develop as warning signs for heart disease later in life. We kick it up a notch during your 40s, when regular visits to the doctor help you track your health metrics. When a shift in lifestyle is no longer enough, discussing other options like preventive medication should be considered. How about in your 50s (and up)? The loss of estrogen after menopause creates an even more increased risk for heart disease. The key is to keep up with an active and healthy lifestyle.
Remember: I communicate with you through your body. When you get a signal that something is not normal, I am trying to let you know that we need to talk to the doctor. This will help us find ways to control risk factors and live a long and healthy life.