Valentine’s Day, February 14th, brings flowers, candy and hearts as gifts. The American Heart Association has designated February as “Go for Red Women” or “Go Red Por Tu Corazion” to raise awareness to saving women’s lives and beating heart disease – the number one killer of women. Each year cardiovascular disease claims the lives of nearly a half million women – that is almost one per minute.

Simple changes can make a difference. This month Deaconess Faith Community Nurse Ministries recognizes all that matters to one’s heart by asking you to join in “Going Red” for heart disease by making some simple changes that can keep your heart healthy and prevent cardiovascular disease. These changes are easy to do and can be done by everyone.

First, by shedding just a few extra pounds in weight your heart can be stronger. Switching sugar and fat for vegetables and fruit can make a big difference in weight reduction over time. Healthy eating begins by making simple changes to eat less fat and salt, five vegetables and three fruits a day, and limiting red meat to only four times a week. Good nutrition is important to heart health!

Secondly, staying active by doing daily exercise for 30 minutes can improve heart health significantly. Moderate exercise can be as simple as walking with someone in your neighborhood. Find an exercise buddy in your church, mosque or synagogue and get moving. Together both your hearts will improve!

Thirdly, manage your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol by knowing your numbers and staying on your medication. Periodic screenings are valuable. Faith community nurses provide this service to communities.

Lastly, stopping smoking and limiting second hand smoke can make a tremendous difference. Smoking cessation materials are available through faith community nurses in the community.

Small Changes Matter! Wear a red ribbon this month in celebration of Heart Month! Contact Rev. Donna Pupillo, RN at for ways to make these simple heart healthy changes happen through a faith community nurse.