Friday, February 04, 2011

Confession and a cause

First, the confession: This past Wednesday was the first day I'd hit the gym in nearly 3 weeks. I have had some serious changes to my schedule over the last couple of weeks, and now I am trying to decide my options. I am meeting with my trainer anyway next week to change my weights routine, and I am going to talk to him about some other changes.

I need to work on my cardio, and I've let it go at the expense of the resistance training. As much as I really do enjoy the elliptical, if I do only that for cardio, I am going to be bored and disappointed. So I am considering Tae Kwon Do or one of those new kickbox/cardio studios that have opened up around here. My other idea is to find a Zumba class -- I have the DVD and I'd like to get in on a class just to see if it's more fun that way. I'm not usually the class type.... There are some exercisers who have to have the social interaction; to me, it's a distraction. I'm not there to make friends and influence people .... I'm there to change my body, get rid of stress, keep my weight down and tone my body up. I figure one class or two wouldn't hurt .... just to see.

I'll keep you posted on how it's going....

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Now, for the cause:

Today (Friday) is National Wear Red for Heart Day. As some of you know, this cause took on new and greater importance in my life this past year. And so I am asking for your support as I take part in the American Heart Association's Start! Upstate Heart Walk on April 2.

Both sets of grandparents died of complications from cardiovascular disease. Mom's parents both died of massive heart attacks, Dad's from strokes. One of Dad's siblings has already had a mild stroke, and another just lost her husband to one. My mom's family reunions would be a cardiac researcher's fantasy come true. It's like a medical convention: "Well, my triglycerides on my last appointment were about 165, so they've put me on (newest wonder drug), and my blood pressure was elevated so they added (another wonder drug)." And then the next relative shares his or her tale.....

My mother has been hypertensive since I can remember. I think she was in her late 30s when she started in on Dyazide, then Cardizem, and then.... oh good Lord, who knows which of her many meds these days is the HBP drug? My brother -- diagnosed as hypertensive in his early 30s. He's not quite as diligent as my mom about his meds, because he's too proud to go to the doctor and say, "Listen, I have no health insurance and I sure as hell can't afford the medicine. Can we talk generic or does the pharmaceutical firm have an assistance program?" I am actually quite surprised that I'm not hypertensive. Because I'm surely stressed as hell.... and I know that this has got to stop somehow. But otherwise, my heart is in good condition.

Given all that, Mom's mild "silent" heart attack last year should not have been a surprise. But it was. I'm not sure what's more surprising: the fact that we didn't even consider heart trouble in all this, or that her doctor missed it (and then didn't seem very proactive about it). I'm so glad that I forced her hand to get a second opinion back when we knew that it was fluid around the heart. To be honest, I'm not sure Mom would still be with us.

Here are some alarming facts I've learned just this week about cardiovascular disease:
  • 90% of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
  • More than 82 million Americans have one or more types of cardiovascular disease -- that's one in three people.
  • On average, 2200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day; that's an average of one death every 39 seconds.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women 20 and older, killing one woman every minute.
  • More women die of heart disease than the next four causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer.
You don't even want to read about congenital heart defects in children -- there's more information out there than I can even begin to condense to post here (but I do encourage you to visit the AHA Website and learn more).

And I ask for your help -- if you're local and would like to walk with me, then click here and choose "Join My Team." Or if you can't walk but would like to help with a donation of any amount, you may donate via this link.

Thanks for your time, and for the PSA. It's not my normal MO, but it is very important!

1 comment:

Talmadge Gleck said...

Tae Kwon Do .... ahhh, fun memories of 1983-84, when I was involved in that "sport." Made it to Green belt before going away to college, where at the time there was no TKD program.

I miss both that and the Nautilus program, which they also had. Did TKD, then next door to the Nautilus room for a workout.

Takes me back to central Arkansas, where this Tae Kwon Do/Nautilus chain were a frequent TV/radio advertiser, with the unforgettable tag line: "for a Nauti body!"