Have a Heart...

Valentines day is only a week away and some are anxiously awaiting a gift from a loved one, or waiting to give a gift to someone we love and for others it's just a fabricated holiday that should be overlooked. But regardless of what you think of valentines day, I hope you will help my kids make this one special.

Just in case you've never heard of it Jump Rope For Heart is a program ran by the American Heart Association to not only raise money but also inform kids about the dangers of Heart Disease and Stroke. The kids do different heart related activities at school, raise funds and then on Feb. 14th they spend the entire class "jump roping for hearts" :-) I know that since Alex began this program back in Kindergarten 4 years ago I have become more informed and found out things I never knew. Such as:

Isn't heart disease just heart disease, whether it's in a man or a woman?

Not necessarily. We have gaps in our knowledge about the prevention and treatment of heart disease in women. For one thing, women historically haven't been included in scientific research studies to the extent men have.

For example, we now know that just because a woman's arteries appear clear on an angiogram (a picture of the heart), it doesn't mean she's not at risk of heart disease. A study by the National Institutes of Health indicated as many as 3 million women previously diagnosed with healthy arteries could actually have an increased risk of heart attack after all.

This study, called the Women's Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE), found among other things that the gold standard test for assessing coronary artery disease — the coronary angiogram — may not spot the more diffuse buildup of plaques that often forms in the smaller coronary arteries of women's hearts.

Is heart disease something only older women should worry about?

No. While heart disease is the leading cause of death for women 65 and older, it's the third-leading cause of death for women 25 to 44 and second-leading cause of death for women 45 to 64. All women, of all ages, should take heart disease seriously.

I've heard something about the connection between depression and heart disease in women. What's that about?

Depression is twice as common in women as in men, and it increases the risk of heart disease by two to three times compared with those who aren't depressed. It's estimated that about one in five women who has a heart attack or is hospitalized with heart failure has evidence of depression. We need to better diagnose and address depression because depression makes it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow recommended treatment.

Read more at Mayo Clincic..

I am at high risk, and honestly, if it wasn't for this program I never would have realized that at the age of (almost) 30, I am a candidate for heart disease or stroke!

Heart Disease not only affects women (and men) there are are also children who suffer from congenital and acquired heart diseases. In fact one of my favorite bloggers, has a son who suffers from Kawasaki Disease

Last year Alex raised $500 for Jump Rope for Heart, but this year the added competition of Liberty now being in school made him set his goal to $1000. And of course, in the spirit of good sibling rivalry Liberty has also made her goal $1000. I would love nothing more than to be able to help them reach their goals, and so I am asking for your help.

HERE is Alex's Page and HERE is Liberty's page. All of us would appreciate any help you can offer: reposting, passing on of this message or donations of any amount!

Thank you a million kisses and hugs as Alex and Liberty say!

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