Guilford County, NC - Most of us take better care of our cars than we do our own hearts. Given that one in three people have heart disease and don't even know it, we need to do a lot better.
Tracey McCain is working closely with the American Heart Association in Guilford County to help people live healthier lives. She shares the story of one woman's diagnosis and wake up call.
"About 5 or 6 years ago, I was diagnosed with tachycardia and atrial fibrillation. My heart would just start beating out of my chest," explained Al Heggins, an advocate for heart health.
One trip to the doctor is all it took. "It was very eye opening and it made me pay attention to me.
Heggins started eating right and exercising and soon the weight started coming off. "I've lost 49 pounds, so I'm real excited about that, but it's always a struggle."
Heggins lives by the American Heart Association's Life's Simple Seven Keys to Prevention: Get active, eat better, lose or maintain a healthy weight, control cholesterol and blood pressure; reduce blood sugar and stop smoking.
"On my plate, half of it is veggies, 1/4 is meet and 1/4 is grain," she explained.
With her heart health a priority, life is easier to take in and it shows.
"In order for me to take care of my family; in order to do an effective job at work, I've got to take care of myself."
You can take part in the Heart Healthy Challenge. It's an joint effort from the Bank of Oak Ridge and the American Heart Association's Guilford Heart Ball to encourage people to live healthy. Nominations for men and women who have made, or would like to challenge themselves to make lifestyle changes to prevent heart disease and stroke are being accepted until May 31, 2013.
Three winners will be announced at the Healthy Heart Challenge celebration in June 2013 at Bank of Oak Ridge's Corporate Center. Winners will receive great prizes and become the "Faces of Heart Health" in Guilford County for 2013.
To nominate yourself, click here for more information.