SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -You’re probably been seeing a lot of red this month. February is American Heart Month, a month set aside to raise awareness of heart disease and people are wearing red to keep it front of mind.
More than 660,000 Americans a year die from heart disease, making it the leading killer in this country. In fact, heart disease will be responsible for one in every three deaths that will occur this year.
Heart disease hits home with me literally. I watched my father struggle with it for years, before it eventually took his life. And about three years ago, I got my own personal wake up call. As you can tell, I’ve struggled with weight all of my life and was on the verge of being morbidly obese until I lost 120 pounds 20 years ago. I was a lifelong smoker until I quit 10 years ago. And I led a very sedentary lifestyle until I began running 6 years ago.
Despite all of those lifestyle changes, my past, as well as my family history of heart disease, caught up with me three years ago. Without warning, and with very muted, disguised symptoms, I suffered a heart attack. Thanks to my decision to adopt a healthier lifestyle, to go to the hospital immediately and the very quick actions of some very fine medical professionals, I was not one of the one in three that year. But, like 90 million other Americans, I now live with some form of cardiovascular disease.
Consider This: while heart disease is our most prevalent and deadly disease, it is also one of the most preventable.
Eat healthy. Quit smoking. And live an active lifestyle. And most importantly, don’t ignore warning symptoms. It can save your life. I know it did mine.