The heart gets a lot of attention this month, mentioned often in endearing expressions of love, familiar to us all. You can lose your heart to love. You can give your heart away. Your heart can burst with joy for someone and it can also skip a beat. It can ache, it can break, but it can also mend. Yes, the heart is a wonderful, precious thing, and like all precious things, it needs tender loving care.

Giving the heart the care it needs is not something that’s easy for women to do. Women are by nature caregivers. We tend to put everyone and everything in our lives ahead of ourselves. But do we ever stop to think what would happen to the people we love and the things we care about if suddenly we were not here? It’s a sobering question, but one that needs to be asked. Also sobering is the fact that more women will die this year from cardiovascular disease than from all other forms of cancer combined. It causes one in three women’s deaths each year, killing one woman approximately every minute! One way to prevent that from happening to you is by putting yourself first when it comes to your health and you can do that by taking care of that very precious heart of yours. With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, and February being American Heart Month, I can’t think of a better time to start taking better care of your heart. Here’s how: Know the signs and risks of cardiovascular disease. Know your numbers- cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar- and commit to a healthier lifestyle by eating right, exercising and managing stress. But first and foremost, become your own healthcare advocate. No one knows your body as well as you do. And if you think something just doesn’t feel right, act! Women’s heart attack symptoms are different and, unfortunately, not every doctor has caught up with that reality. As someone who has experienced two heart attacks, the first at age 55, I can tell you that had I not taken matters into my own hands, had I not pushed for the test that confirmed what I suspected was wrong, I would not be here today. I wouldn’t be here for the people I love, doing the things I love, and living the dream of owning my own boutique.

Since opening FLUTTER Boutique almost five years ago I have made it my mission to support the issues and causes that are important to women, and that includes health issues, such as cardiovascular disease, that have a profound impact on women. Getting the message out to women about the risk heart disease presents, and telling my own personal story, is part of that mission. I was given the opportunity to share my experience with heart disease in the latest issue of REAL WOMAN magazine. The article also includes life-saving information from Heart Care Specialists. You can read the article online at www.realwomanonline.com. I hope it motivates women to take the first step in keeping their hearts healthy and strong, beating for themselves and for those they love. After all, you only get one amazing heart. Handle it with care.

FLUTTER Boutique, located in the heart of Pennington, believes that fashion should be affordable, service should be warm and friendly and that beauty comes in every age, size and color. FLUTTER is a platform for giving back to the community, inspiring women to aspire and celebrating the women who inspire us.

FLUTTER Boutique, 20 South Main Street, Pennington. www.flutterstyle.com. 609-737-2236.

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