A month for celebration and recognition

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Love, heart health, black role models and freedom fighters are being recognized and celebrated during the month of February, which means that almost every American is being affected in some form or fashion.

Heart Health is being recognized to make people aware that maintaining a healthy heart is important in order to live long, productive lives.

This disease, once wrongfully known as a man’s disease, is now believed to be the number one killer of women.

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There is an excellent article on heart disease in the January issue of Woman’s World and I am just learning from that article that gum disease and pain in the legs can be a sign of heart disease. Gum disease can cause heart valve damage when bacteria from the disease releases plaque to the heart. Pain in the legs can mean damage to arteries in the heart.

There is another sign that can lead to heart disease-high blood pressure. I was one who was unaware that I had it. About two years before being diagnosed, I had gone through a pregnancy with good blood pressure only to be diagnosed at the age of 32. I felt very well until I opened the door of my car to go shopping and fell from being dizzy.

I have been working to control my blood pressure ever since. At that time I only weighed about 120 pounds which disproves the thought that only the obese can develop high blood pressure. Therefore, it is always important to stay educated on the disease since there are many other factors associated with it.

There is a broader publication of heart disease by a Dr. Isadore Rosenfield in Sunday’s edition of the Parade magazine that states, &uot;The one health report you can’t afford to miss.&uot;

After reading it, I agree. Included in that article are subjects like controlling risk factors, knowing what to do if vulnerable to heart disease, lowering cholesterol, controlling blood pressure, how the heart works and what can go wrong with it.

Obici Hospital is also offering classes on heart health this month and you can register for classes by calling 934-8572.

The heart is an amazing and powerful muscle and also the one that holds our emotions such as love.

Speaking of which, Valentine’s Day will be celebrated on Feb. 14 but most of us will be celebrating Sweetheart’s Day this weekend. Sponsors of these programs remember that Valentine’s Day is for singles too so please remember to include them in your program.

Mt. Ararat Christian Church did an excellent job of this in their program at Family Affair on Jackson Road last year. They selected categories and gave out prizes for each one.

A soloist dedicated a song to every female, married or single, and a gentleman from the church presented a long-stemmed rose in the same manner. At the end of the program everyone felt loved, appreciated and valued.

We lift up those who have made a tremendous impact on black history during February. During early years in school our teachers and other peers have always taught us that as blacks we sometimes have to do everything twice as hard as our white sisters and brothers to be successful.

This statement made me think of the first female Secretary of State, Condolleeza Rice and the Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player, Deion Branch. These role models seem to be giving their best to their careers.

Rice also represents two important models-being single and successful. We all make fun of her hairstyle but it is what’s under that style that put her at the top of her career.

Branch, a wide receiver with the New England Patriots tied Jerry Rice’s

record by making 11 catches during the game. He was interviewed on the Good Morning America Show Monday morning and was clean-cut in appearance displaying a humble attitude-the kind of role model young black men of today need.

He stated in his interview that he calls all of his Pee-Wee and college football coaches just before each game, proving that he has never forgotten those who have been responsible for his success.

Whoever said that the month of February was a dull one missed the mark completely.

Evelyn Wall is a regular columnist for the News- Herald.

Reach her at 934-9615.