The annual ritual of the boys sitting at the table with a stack of cartoonish Valentine cards and a class list happened early this year. With a school break the week before Valentine’s Day, we got ahead of things and had our kids write out notes to all of the kids in their class, just as we do every year.
I used to think Valentines for schoolmates were silly, then I realized what a great way it was for my kids to practice printing and how it got them thinking about the good in everyone. I came around to the idea quickly and so, from kindergarten on, we’ve had the boys do them up for their friends every year.
This year I learned another Valentine’s Day lesson: they’re only good until about grade 5 or 6. As Zacharie chatted up his grade 6 pals on the playground at recess and asked if they were working on their cards, he quickly realized that was something tween kids weren’t interested in doing anymore.
Much as with the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus, it would appear Valentine’s Day has a shelf life. Unlike the others, however, I’m expecting a raging return of Cupid into our lives right around this time next year, but with a decidedly more teen-centric approach to the season.
So for this year, Zacharie’s Valentine roster has been trimmed to just the close friends who share his still childlike appreciation for the season.
FEBRUARY IS HEART MONTH
As hearts are everywhere this season, and love is being shared, it’s the perfect time to think about your own heart, and have a heart-to-heart with someone else you love about theirs. Although this is something we should really be doing all year round.
This is even more important if the person you love is living with type 2 diabetes. February is Heart Month and a good reminder that those living with type 2 diabetes are more at risk of heart disease.
Studies show that people with diabetes may develop heart disease 10 to 15 years earlier than people without diabetes. So February is a good time to evaluate type 2 diabetes management and assess risks with the free risk assessment tool at www.myheartmatters.ca.
Most Canadians with type 2 diabetes (93 per cent) feel they are knowledgeable about their disease management, but one in two don’t know diabetes significantly increases the risk of heart attack, heart failure and stroke.
While controlling blood sugar is important in managing diabetes, it may not be enough to lower the threat of heart disease. Taking an active role in protecting your heart health can mean choosing medications
that – along with diet and exercise – have been proven to lower the risk of dying from heart disease.
KNOW YOUR ABCDEs
Just as I love Valentine’s season as a way for my kids to practice their ABCs, it’s also a time for those with type 2 diabetes to refresh their memory on the ABCDEs of diabetes and how it relates to heart health.
▪ A – A1C – Control blood glucose levels and keep A1C around 7 per cent or less. A1C is a blood test that is an index of the average blood glucose level over the last 120 days
▪ B – Blood pressure – Keep blood pressure to less than 130/80 mmHg
▪ C – Cholesterol – Aim for your LDL cholesterol to be less than 2.0 mmol/L
▪ D – Drugs to protect your heart – Speak with your doctor about medication options to help reduce the risk of heart disease
▪ E – Exercise – Regular physical activity, which includes healthy diet, achievement and maintenance of a healthy body weight
▪ S – Screening for complications – Ensure you’re tested regularly for possible complications with your heart, feet, and kidneys
▪ S – Smoking cessation – Look into ways to reduce or stop smoking
▪ S – Self-management – Manage stress effectively
Knowledge of the connection between diabetes and heart disease can be life-saving. If you have type 2 diabetes, speak with your doctor about steps you can take to prevent an early death.
Visit myheartmatters.ca to learn more.
This content is sponsored by the Boehringer Ingelheim-Lilly Canada Diabetes Alliance, but opinions are my own.