As Valentines Day approaches we at Harsch Associates Berkshire Real Estate think of candy, roses, hearts, and the color red. February is the month we celebrate love and pay homage to Cupid. It is also American Heart Health month. Most people are aware that heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, yet we still seem to believe that heart disease is something that happens to someone else. Stress, environment and genetics all contribute to heart disease.
This week we are sharing some tips and info about health, heart and home. On the positive side, a happy home situation can contribute greatly to a healthy heart.
Happiness at home translates to less stress which translates to a healthier heart. On the negative side your home environment can cause disease.Your home environment, particularly indoors, is of considerable health interest because we spend so much of our lives in this setting. The home can be a place where the risk for children is greatly increased simply because children spend so much time at home. The most vulnerable groups of the population spend more of time in the home environment. These groups include infants and children, the elderly, and those with disabilities and chronic illnesses such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). COPD is a disease closely associated with heart health.
Winters in New England are notoriously cold but also great for the winter sports activities that draw thousands to Berkshire County for vacations and often second homes. However, cold damp housing can be associated with poor health outcomes, and conversely, improving such conditions with home insulation results in significant health improvements. Environments where mold and dust abound can contribute to increased incidences of asthma and can aggravate COPD. Getting your home checked for mold, mildew and other indoor air hazards can be the best investment you make in February for your heart and health. Investing in a dehumdifier if your home is damp can relieve some symptoms. On the other hand if your home is cold and dry that calls for a good humidifier to keep the air moist.
Most people are unaware that stress can be a risk factor for heart disease but simple changes to lower the amount of stress in your life can make a difference. It is also important to think about how you can improve your diet and exercise routines at home to reduce your risk for heart disease.
Here are just a few things you can do to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke...
1. Know the signs of a Heart Attack. Many people have the misconception that a heart attack comes on suddenly and intensely, but many come on gradually with mild pain or discomfort.
2. Learn CPR. In just a few short hours you can learn CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) - two skills that can help save the lives of victims of sudden cardiac arrest. Take action for the ones you love and find a CPR class in your area.
3. Take control of your Heart Health. Be sure to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Research and read about preventative steps that you can make to reduce your chances of heart disease. Use your local library or the internet to inform and teach yourself the facts.
4. Get Involved. Join in the fight against cardiovascular diseases and stroke! Visit the American Heart Associations website to review the events available, locally and nationally, to see how you can participate and help us achieve the mission to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
As we learn more about heart diseases, we also learn about the steps we can take to help keep our hearts healthy. We already know that the leading cause of heart disease is obesity, high blood pressure (hypertension), and that smokers double their risk. But are you doing anything to quit smoking or to lose the excess weight and be more active?
Home is where the heart is.
Many artists, writers, and performers use the theme of heart and home. Thousands of quotes and poems have been written with heart and home as the theme. The famous published artist Thomas Kinkade even named two of his paintings "Home is where the heart is", the first being in 1992.
Home and Heart themes thread through music and lyrics. There is the song "Nobody Home" by Heart, a hard rock group formed in 1963 that found success in the mid 1970's. Several well known groups and singers have had chart toppers that incorporated heart and home into the lyrics of their music. These include...
- Elvis Presley's recording of "Home is where the heart is" in 1961 for the movie Kid Galahad.
- Boys II Men performed "Your home is in my heart" for the 1998 soundtrack of the movie Stella Got Her Groove Back.
- Watermark performed the song "My heart, your home" on their acoustic-based album All Things New in the year 2000.
- Lady Antebellum released a more recent well known hit titled "Home is where the heart is" in 2008.
The theme of Heart and Home often guarantees success because it touches our soul and all we hold close to us. Countless novelists and poets have made an even bigger contribution to history with poems, stories, and quotes using this common theme. A few of my favorite's quotes are...
Every house where love abides And friendship is a guest, Is surely home, and home sweet home For there the heart can rest. ~Henry Van Dyke
It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home. ~Author Unknown
Where we love is home, Home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Homesick in Heaven
A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others. ~Wizard of Oz (1939)
This Valentine's day may your home and heart be blessed with happiness. Keep in mind that living a balanced lifestyle, paired with adequate exercise and good nutritional choices are the best weapons you have to fight heart diseases. Challenge yourself to do the research and participate in one or more activity in your community with The American Heart Association or groups with a similar cause. On Valentine's Day this year while you celebrate with your sweetheart or some of your close friends encourage them to do the same. It can be fun to educate yourself and others on the subject while also setting a great example in your community! Join in and participate by creating your own activity to benefit Heart Health Month and most importantly help spread awareness!
Happy Valentine's Day from the team at Harsch Associates Berkshire Real Estate.