To the Editor,
In September 2007, I had a wake-up call - literally. I woke up one night with heart palpitations. I was scared to death to go back to sleep for fear I wouldn't wake up in the morning.
At 193 lbs., I weighed more than I ever had. I went to the doctor and found out my blood pressure was through the roof. I was put on a low-sodium diet and medication to control my blood pressure. After watching my father go through a quadruple bypass in 2006, I didn't want to go that route.
I started watching my diet - looking at sodium, fibre, sugar and fat levels. I ate 1,000 mg of sodium per day, walked three to five kilometres everyday, and lost 20 pounds in four months. To date, I have lost 40 pounds and I feel great.
Not only did my blood pressure come back down but the swelling in my legs, knees, hands, and lower back have subsided, along with the headaches I used to get on a regular basis.
The information I have gotten from the Heart and Stroke Foundation website has also helped me in many ways to start looking after my health. I realized that if I didn't do it, no one was going to do it for me.
Like so many other Nova Scotians, I have a history of heart disease on both sides of my family. People think that it will never happen to them, however, the reality is that one in three Canadians die of heart disease and stroke each year. The benefits of following a healthy lifestyle certainly outweigh the reality of what can happen if you don't take care of yourself. It is a life-long process that is well worth the effort.
I have canvassed for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia for 12 years. For the past three years, my 16-year old son has also canvassed. February is Heart Month and I know times are tough, but even a loonie from every household adds up to so much. I encourage people to donate to this wonderful cause and start paying attention to their health before it's too late.