The (Not Always) Happy Homemaker Diary

A Stay-At-Home-Mom living the dream.. Sort of.

Being Heart Smart Starts With YOU!

Heart attacks and strokes have steadily climbed the ladder over the last decade or so in mortality rate. We have become a junk food, fast-food nation here in North America. Add in Southern Style home cooking with fats by frying, and it’s no wonder that along with greater risk of heart disease, we have the over abundance of obesity. The national statistics in my country are FRIGHTENING.

Via The American Heart Association, the statistics regarding heart attacks and strokes is truly astonishing, and sadly, yes, to me, even appalling. How did WE let ourselves come to this? And it’s not just adults that are being affected. But children, as well. That is indeed a scary thought. To view the national statistics regarding strokes, heart attacks, heart disease and obesity, click HERE.

Unfortunately, BOTH of my parents are in the statistics for two of the groups. One for heart attack. The other for stroke. The two combined where genetic probability is concerned, has me with a greater CHANCE of having one or the other. Or even both. Let us all hope for my children’s sake, neither.

In the world of fast food, convenience foods and fried (seemingly) everything, it’s no wonder we are killing ourselves and even our kids. Add in the number per capita of smokers in the USA, and we have sent ourselves down the proverbial crapper. And no, I am no saint. Never did claim to be, and never will make it like I am. I eat fast food. I USED TO smoke. But I have been smoke-free for almost four years now. And when I get fast food, I do my best to order sensibly.

As of right now, after smoking for going on 60 years of his life (starting at the age of eight), my father is FINALLY quitting his cigarettes. When I was seven months pregnant with my son (in 2001), I had gotten the call NO child (grown or not) wants to get. Especially when almost 3,000 miles apart. On his way out the door (to go to an appointment with his doctor of all things!), my dad collapsed right at the front door by what a Home Health Nurse (who took care of Grandma at the time) as he clutched his chest. He had a heart attack. After a stent surgery to open his arteries and almost a week in the hospital, he came home and changed his diet. Now, finally quitting the cigs.

But, before that, in 1989, when I was about to turn the big 1-3, on the morning that forever changed my life, my mother became a statistic, first. True, she had a thyroid problem. Yes, she was “obese”. And she had high blood pressure. And NO, she did not eat right (though she made sure that Dad and I did), nor did she see her doctor as she was supposed to. Or follow her diet plan.

Instead, on October 1st, 1989, she suffered a massive stroke. It happened in the (very) early hours of the morning. Twenty-nine days later, due to complications of the stroke, she was dead.

Between the two, they had some pretty big faults. And those faults befell on to me. But I’ll be DAMNED if I want to take their roads. As a parent to three kids of my own, I want to, and am doing my best to have my kids take the HEALTHIER path.

Eating right. NOT picking up the NASTY habit of smoking (or chewing tabacco). Excising daily.

I’m not saying we all must become bunny rabbits and eat nothing but salads and go all perfectly healthy. But use COMMON SENSE. Eat in moderation. Put MORE fruits and vegetables in your diet.

And if you smoke (or chew)…. S-T-O-P! You *can* do it. You have to WANT TO quit. And not just for yourself. But for your kids, or siblings, or your parents. Us kids would love to have our parents here for a good, long while. No child deserves to lose a parent over something that is SO very avoidable.

What are the SIGNS of a heart attack?

CHEST DISCOMFORT

Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

DISCOMFORT IN OTHER AREAS OF THE UPPER BODY

Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

SHORTNESS OF BREATH

with or without chest discomfort.

OTHER SIGNS

may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

As for signs of a STROKE… They are as follows.

If one or more of these signs is present, don’t delay:

– SUDDEN NUMBNESS OR WEAKNESS OF THE FACE, ARM OR LEG, ESPECIALLY ON ONE SIDE OF THE BODY

– SUDDEN CONFUSION, TROUBLE SPEAKING OR UNDERSTANDING

– SUDDEN TROUBLE SEEING IN ONE OR BOTH EYES

– SUDDEN TROUBLE WALKING, DIZZINESS, LOSS OF BALANCE OR COORDINATION

– SUDDEN SEVERE HEADACHE WITH NO KNOWN CAUSE

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