Thanks for the Heart-to-Heart

Jan Fowler

is author of the best-selling book, “Hot Chocolate for Seniors”(winner of   national & international awards); winner of Gold Halo Award from the So. California Motion Picture Council for Outstanding Literary Achievement; winner of First Place Excellence in Journalism Award (SPJ –Southern CA); Town & Gown “Phenomenal Woman” Award; former television host & KSPA radio host of “Senior Living at its Best with Jan Fowler”; speaker, contributing author for “Savvy Women Revving Up for Success”;  founder of Starburst Inspirations, Inc. 501(c) (3) nonprofit which supports Redlands Drug Court.  Jan welcomes feedback and comments about her columns and invites you to leave her a message on her website.

“Thanks for the Heart-to-Heart”

by Jan Fowler

Hi, this is your happy healthy heart talking and I do believe I’ve never properly thanked you for taking such wonderful care of me all these years. We’ve been together for decades now—longer than most lifetimes actually–because I first began beating for you before you were even born. Yes, since three weeks after you were first conceived, to be exact. Now that is amazing!   And if I do say so myself, it’s been rather like a miracle marathon because compared to other hearts my age, I’m still in tip-top shape and have never missed a single day of pumping blood throughout your body so that every cell within you could be properly nourished with oxygen.But then again, I give you the credit for my good health (And, Baby, you’re the best!) I know of countless other hearts who can’t say as much for their host bodies. Let’s just say they’re heartless and let it go at that because they fail to exercise, puff on cigarettes, eat high cholesterol fried foods, and lead frenzied high stress lives. In fact, some hearts are forced to work three times as hard as they should, all because they’re trapped in a body with too many extra pounds to carry. Frequently, their chambers need major overhauling. (You should hear some hosts pant while climbing stairs due to years of abuse and overuse.)But you, well, you’vebeen just wonderful to me. As an example, I notice how you always take charge when ordering food in a restaurant. You make it a point to request fat-free or 1% milk instead of simply accepting whatever you’re served. You also order the dish of gravy on the side rather than mixed in with the food, choose steamed or broiled over fried foods, and request that there be no salt or MSG added. So go ahead, gloat a little. You deserve it. In fact, I feel we both belong on the cover of Time–you for being a model host body and me for being a model organ. I doubt I’ll ever need trouble you with a visit to the cardiologist.

Of course, I realize that not everyone has been as lucky as I (I’m envied by many, you know).   Some host bodies are true heartbreakers who completely disregard the rules and show no respect at all. Whereas other hearts have tried to capture their host’s attention for years, I’m grateful you never made me work that hard. Whenever I’ve signaled or warned you to slow down, either by racing, pounding, or thumping erratically, you paid careful attention and took notice. And goodness knows, it’s certainly happened more than once. Yet, again and again, you heeded my warning. Like the time you finally quit smoking after a seven-month struggle (oh how I cheered you on), when you dropped unneeded (and unflattering) weight, reduced your salt intake (I recall how you fussed), monitored your cholesterol, and began walking daily and working out at the gym. But one of the biggest gifts you ever gave me was the time when you came to grips with some of the noxious weirdo stress inyour life. Remember how it made you anxious and was upsetting me? First it was the commute and oh, I don’t have to bring up the rest. By now, it’s history anyways because you dealt with it and eliminated it. So thank you, thank you, and yes, I want to finally go on record as having expressed my heartfelt thanks. If I could, I’d present you a “Best-heart-in-the-world! bumper sticker.


Pardon if I take the time to briefly describe myself. Basically,I’m a powerful muscle—the strongest in your body—about the size of a fist. I am divided into four compartments, generally referred to as chambers. Each of my upper chambers is called an atrium, each lower one a ventricle. Forgive me for sounding boastful, but did you know I can pump two gallons of blood through one complete cycle of an adults’ body (through arteries, capillaries, veins and back again) in approximately 60 seconds? It’s record time, don’t you think? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has studied me and thinks I’m just amazing.


“Live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.”



Did I mention that heart disease is the number one killer among women? Those at greatest risk are the ones who smoke, are diabetic, and are overweight. Statistics show that heart attacks kill six times as many women as breast cancer.


Warning Signs of Heart Attack:  

Although some heart attacks occur suddenly, the American Heart Association advises that most begin slowly. Symptoms may be mild or intense and may include shortness of breath, upper body discomfort, a squeezing, pressure or crushing-type chest pain, back pain, nausea, lightheadedness, and possibly a cold sweat. If you experience one or more of these heart attack symptoms, it’s a signal to either get to a hospital immediately or call 9-1-1.


First Aid for a Heart Attack:

If the person is unresponsive, call 911 and start CPR. If they are conscious, do not allow them to talk you out of calling for emergency help! Have them sit calmly, loosen tight clothing, and ask them if they take any heart medication. If so, administer their medication, but do not give them anything else by mouth until help arrives.


No Need for a Broken Heart

The sooner a heart attack is treated, the less damage to the heart and the better one’s chance of survival. Unfortunately, the average heart attack victim generally waits approximately three hours before getting help. Consequently, many die needlessly.


Heart-Smart Tips for Healthy Living:

Commit to a healthy lifestyle which prevents extra strain on your heart. The “heart of the matter”is to maintain good exercise, low stress, a sensible diet (low in sodium,calories, trans fat, saturated fats, and cholesterol), no smoking, and no unhealthy weight gain (yo-yo-ing is not allowed). In other words, don’t eat your heart out!


To learn more about heart attack protection, call the American Heart Association at 1-800-242-8721 or go online to visit  


So thanks for the heart-to-heart. Please keep paying attention, dont ignore heartaches, and I guarantee you won’t be sorry. The next time you’re on a strenuous hike or tearing up the dance floor, I’ll come to your rescue and you won’t get winded like all the rest!


“Sometimes I wish I were a little kid again, skinned knees are easier to fix than broken hearts.”

Author Unknown

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