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Have a heart, save a heart

Melissa Vondriska | Tuesday, February 9, 2010

 Everybody knows that Feb. 14 is Valentine’s Day, a time to shower your loved ones with flowers and candy in order to show that your heart is in the right place. (Boys with girlfriends — don’t forget!) But what a lot of people don’t know is that the month of February also raises awareness about another type of heart — your actual heart. February is officially American Heart Month. It’s the month where the American Heart Association raises awareness about heart disease and tries to share tips on how to stay heart healthy because, unfortunately, Coronary Heart Disease is the No. 1 killer in America. Think about that.

The sad thing is that a lot of heart disease is preventable. People who know me might not know this but I am a survivor of heart disease. When I was 11-years-old, I was diagnosed with sick sinus syndrome, a congenital heart defect that requires an implanted pacemaker to help my heart maintain proper functioning. To me, proper heart health is important. My heart disease reminds me daily that I can do things daily to strengthen my heart and prevent further heart disease down the road. I can ride my bike to class, I can go for a run around the lakes, I could eat Cheerios instead of Lucky Charms, I could have chicken pizza instead of pepperoni and ham, I can climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Heart disease is incredibly preventable by watching your weight, being physically active, eating healthy foods and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption. So for Valentine’s Day this weekend, treat both your hearts right.
Celebrate American Heart Month and keep heart disease away!
Melissa Vondriska
Lewis Hall
Feb. 7