Are You Doing Your Part for Your Heart?

February is winding down. The groundhog saw his shadow, so winter will be hanging around a little longer than we all hoped. Valentine’s Day has come and gone (perhaps a relief for some?). Not much else happens in February…with the exception of American Heart Month.

In 1963, Congress required the president to designate February as American Heart Month. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in this country, followed by cancer and stroke[1]. Heart disease can lead to a heart attack, angina[2], heart failure, and heart arrhythmia. Other conditions can stem from having heart disease, such as high blood pressure and peripheral vascular disease[3]. And we’ve discussed in previous posts how people with diabetes are already at higher risk for heart disease.


Now, this isn’t about doom and gloom. Instead, in the remaining days of February, maybe this is the time to focus on your heart (and blood vessels) and ask yourself if you’re doing what you can to keep this vital organ as healthy as possible. You could liken it to getting an inspection sticker for your car, or getting your oil burner cleaned. OK, that may sound silly, but when you have diabetes, you focus so much on your daily self-care activities (checking blood glucose, taking your pills or insulin[4], counting carbs[5]…) that it’s easy to overlook other things.

Checklist for Heart Health
Get your blood pressure at target. Here’s how:

Get your lipid profile[6] at target. Here’s how:

Know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack:

Better to be safe than sorry: Call 911 or have someone call for you if you think you might be having a heart attack.

  1. stroke:
  2. angina:
  3. peripheral vascular disease:
  4. insulin:
  5. counting carbs:
  6. lipid profile:
  7. cholesterol:
  8. triglyceride:
  9. trans fats:
  10. omega-3 fatty acid:
  11. krill oil:
  12. fiber:
  13. glycemic index:
  14. slow cooker:
  15. statin:

Source URL:

Amy Campbell: Amy Campbell is the author of Staying Healthy with Diabetes: Nutrition and Meal Planning and a frequent contributor to Diabetes Self-Management and Diabetes & You. She has co-authored several books, including the The Joslin Guide to Diabetes and the American Diabetes Association’s 16 Myths of a “Diabetic Diet,” for which she received a Will Solimene Award of Excellence in Medical Communication and a National Health Information Award in 2000. Amy also developed menus for Fit Not Fat at Forty Plus and co-authored Eat Carbs, Lose Weight with fitness expert Denise Austin. Amy earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Simmons College and a master’s degree in nutrition education from Boston University. In addition to being a Registered Dietitian, she is a Certified Diabetes Educator and a member of the American Dietetic Association, the American Diabetes Association, and the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Amy was formerly a Diabetes and Nutrition Educator at Joslin Diabetes Center, where she was responsible for the development, implementation, and evaluation of disease management programs, including clinical guideline and educational material development, and the development, testing, and implementation of disease management applications. She is currently the Director of Clinical Education Content Development and Training at Good Measures. Amy has developed and conducted training sessions for various disease and case management programs and is a frequent presenter at disease management events.

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