Editorial: Be kind to your heart

Looking for a special gift for your sweetie for Valentine’s Day?

The best gift could be your own good health.

It’s no coincidence February, the month when we all declare our affection for those special someones, is also a month dedicated to heart health.

Here in Wilton we have two good opportunities to take stock of how well we take care of our own hearts.

The Wilton YMCA will welcome all members of the community tomorrow to an information session on a new program called the Healthy Heart Initiative. It is aimed at those who suffer from high blood pressure, also called hypertension. This condition is often called a “silent killer” because it manifests few outward symptoms. The end result of high blood pressure can be anything but silent, often leading to heart attack, congestive heart failure, stroke, kidney damage, angina, and many other devastating illnesses.

Fortunately, high blood pressure can be controlled, but the first step is to be aware. It won’t go away by itself. The program at the Y meets this problem head-on by focusing on self-monitoring of one’s blood pressure. Through this initiative, the Y is asking that you check your pressure at least two times a month, although you may do it as often as you like. Participants enter their readings into a secure website, which will offer suggestions on moving toward a healthier lifestyle.

While this does not replace a doctor’s care, it does give individuals more control by letting them see their readings on a regular basis, and perhaps results in their making some changes.

Please stop by the Y on Danbury Road Friday, from 8 to 3, to see if this program could help you.

A big thank-you is also due the Y for offering this program. It is only the latest in a long list of efforts the organization makes to promote wellness among all members of our community.

Our second opportunity to protect our hearts comes in the form of a reminder from the Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps exposing the hokum surrounding “cough CPR” advice making its way through social media sites online.

Nothing — repeat, nothing — replaces CPR, calling 911, and defibrillation when an AED is available in the case of someone suffering a heart attack or cardiac arrest. Nancy Capelle’s column on page 5A clearly defines what happens when a person suffers a cardiac event.

It also makes clear that the more members of a community who know CPR, and the more automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) are available, the better chance someone has of surviving a heart attack or cardiac arrest.

And that someone could be the sweetie you are buying a valentine for today.