Journey to Healthy Hearts: Inspiration from Mom

Major shoutout to my mom, for a whole lot of things, but one of the things she’s the most passionate about is heart health. Especially in women.

My mother is a Registered Nurse. She’s also a Clinical Nurse Specialist. She’s also a survivor. In short, she’s a badass.

When my mom was a little girl, she got rheumatic fever. Now, I’m not a doctor so I won’t speak to what that disease can do in general. But, the disease’s result on my mom was a weakening of her mitral valve (read some more here: long story short it’s the valve that sits between the left atrium and left ventricle of the heart and helps to control the flow of blood). Because this valve was weakened, it created a murmur (think of a swooshing sound during her heart beat).

Now, the issue that my mom’s childhood illness caused is not genetic, and I’ve never had rheumatic fever. I won’t go into detail — her health is her story, not mine; maybe I’ll have her share that someday, or if she says okay, I’ll share it myself. However, her heart health and my father’s health have long since had an impact on me.

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the NUMBER ONE killer of American women. That’s 1 in 4. That’s like 1 within your squad. That’s bananas.

Of course, there are things that you can do to promote health and wellness. And yeah, it’s all the things you’ve heard before: eat healthy, be active, find balance in your life, go see your doctor regularly. Told you, you’ve heard it before.

While I’ve always had a built-in heart health advocate within my own family (again, shout out to Mom!), that doesn’t mean I’m very good about listening. But recently, mom and I were talking, and she told me she is afraid I have something called metabolic syndrome. Which is basically a cluster of issues: high cholesterol, blood pressure issues, pre-diabetic, and some other stuff that makes you an excellent candidate for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

I don’t want to deal with these things. I don’t want to have the same health issues that my mother and father faced. In the last few months, since this conversation with my mom, I’ve been much more intentional about fighting off these cluster of issues. I’ve been eating better, I’ve been going to the YMCA (it’s literally next to my apartment complex), I’ve been doing yoga, I’ve been actively working towards a balanced life. It’s definitely not easy, and at times it’s not fun. But I’m working to find both the ease and fun in the betterment of my life. I’m working to find out what works best for me, and I want to share that with you.

Going forward, I plan to do this even more, and I hope you’ll be along for the ride. What do you do in a regular day to maintain healthy habits?

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