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Matters of the Heart: February 14, 2011

As we focus on our loved ones and those near and dear to our heart, take a moment and think about your own heart. Have you been good to it? “One aspect of heart disease, which is somewhat difficult to stomach, is that once the heart is damaged, there is nothing we can do that can fix that,” warns Lee Memorial Health System cardiologist, Dr. Erick Burton.

Which is why it’s important to never neglect your heart. Chest pain, discomfort in the upper body including your chest and back, and sudden numbness or weakness are all signs of heart trouble. Call 9-1-1 immediately. Don’t wait. “It is far, FAR, away better for us to identify a problem and treat that problem before it has caused some type of permanent event.”

Despite all of the new technology available to help the heart, Dr. Burton says maintaining a healthy heart is ideal. “All of the intervention that occurs is damage control in an effort to try to make that part of the heart that is still functioning, compensate for whatever has happened.”

One way to keep that heart beating naturally is to be proactive about your health. “Modification lifestyle. Stopping smoking. Exercise on a regular basis. Proper diet. Cholesterol under control. High blood pressure under control. All of these are things that can occur that can prevent somebody from ever having a heart problem.” Simple adjustments that can be the perfect gift for your heart on this Valentine’s Day.