Read Psalm 51:10 in the New Living Translation and The Message.
No one can survive without a working heart, so taking care of it is essential. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death among women. Everyone is at risk, but everyone has the ability to prevent heart disease, which is also known as Coronary Heart Disease (CAD). Your coronary arteries take the blood flow to your heart. When there is a blockage or narrowing of the arteries with plaque buildup, it makes it difficult to get the blood flow to your heart.
True or False
- If I’m thin, I don’t need to worry about my heart. (False) There are many risk factors that cause heart disease. Weight is just one risk. There are many thin women who suffer from CAD.
- If you are having a heart attack, you will always have chest pain. (False) Women often don’t have chest pain symptoms. Some women have reported shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, jaw pain, back pain, arm pain, indigestion, heartburn, lightheadedness and breaking out in a cold sweat. Know your body and don’t ignore the signs.
- Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest are the same thing. (False) A heart attack is when there is a blockage in the arteries but the heart continues to beat. Cardiac arrest happens when there is an electrical malfunction in the rhythms of the heartbeat. This malfunction can make the heart beat too slowly, too fast or stop beating altogether.
- Heart disease can be reversed. (True) You cannot go back and change the damage already done, but in most cases, you can prevent any further damage by removing the risk factors from your life. While you cannot change your genetics or eliminate congenital heart defects, these factors may be treated so they do not progress any further.
- Children can be at risk for Heart Disease. (True) There are heart diseases that can affect a child such as: congenital heart disease, atherosclerosis, arrhythmias, Kawasaki disease, heart murmurs, pericarditis, rheumatic heart disease and viral infections.
Some Risk Factors for Heart Disease
- High Cholesterol
- High Blood Pressure
- Poor Diet
- Poor Hygiene
Take Control of Your Heart
- Talk with your physician first
- Meet with a dietitian
- Change to a heart healthy diet
- Start an exercise regimen
- Join a smoking cessation program
- Learn how to control diabetes
- Improve cholesterol levels
- Control high blood pressure
- Manage stress
Cover tables with white cloths. Add pink and red cut–out hearts. Hang various sized hearts around the room. Give each woman a stuffed heart as they enter. Heart decorations can be purchased at most dollar stores.
Invite the women to bring a heart healthy snack to share with the group. Some suggestions are:
- Watermelon—cut into heart shapes
- Heart yogurt bites—place yogurt in heart ice trays, add cut up strawberry pieces and freeze overnight
- Cheese and fruit platter—cut into heart shapes
- Cookie stick—make sugar free heart cookies. Insert a lollypop stick in the center while baking
My Heart Matters Craft
Supplies needed: small rocks, thin paintbrushes, metallic acrylic paint or sharpie markers, glue–gun, red card stock paper.
Invite the women to write the words of Psalm 51:10 on a red heart cut from cardstock. They can then glue their decorated rock in the middle of the heart. This is remind them that their heart, both physically and spiritually, matters to God.
- Local Dietitian
- Visiting nurse
- Healthcare motivational speaker
- Personal fitness trainer
- A survivor of heart surgery
- Ezekiel 36:26
- 2 Corinthians 4:6
- 1 John 5:21
- Jeremiah 4:14
- Mark 7:15
- Ephesians 3:17
Are You Making the Right Choice?
Re–read Psalm 51:10 in the New Living Translation and The Message.
The heart is an amazing organ. It keeps us alive physically and spiritually. In Psalms 51:10 the psalmist asks the Lord to create a pure heart in him and for it to remain clean. When I ask Him, God will give me a clean heart, but I choose how my heart will look at the end of the day.
About six months ago, I was diagnosed with uncontrolled diabetes. My doctor advised that the next step in treatment was insulin shots. As a nurse, I knew the right things to do and what not to do. How in the world did I find myself in this situation? I knew all the dangers surrounding diabetes and how it affects all organs, including my heart. I could understand if I didn’t have the education and resources. There was no excuse for my laxness other than that I became lazy, and ignored my health and the warning signs. I was living carelessly. I could see the numbers on my blood work creeping up, but I just went on as if I was okay. It didn’t all happen at once. First, I stopped watching what I ate, then I quit walking, and before I knew it, I was indulging in all the wrong things. I knew I needed to take control, so I went back to the basics. I started on a journey to good health again. The doctor was amazed at the changes in my blood work. I am not where I need to be, but I’m not where I was. Every day I wake up and make a choice about my health.
Our spiritual lives are much like this. When we choose to allow Him, God gives us a clean heart. The Message version of Psalm 51:10 says “Soak me in your laundry, scrub me, give me a clean bill of health, a fresh start.” I don’t know about you, but sometimes my heart gets judgmental, tainted, broken or hard. All the things I have done to dirty up my clean heart eventually comes into the light. I can’t hide them forever. I need to say, “Okay Lord I messed up, please help me try this over again.” I need my heart renewed and purified by the fire of His Spirit. He washes me with the blood of Jesus and I am forgiven. He cleans my heart, but that doesn’t mean I have permission to dirty it up again. Every day I need to make a choice to keep my heart clean.
Prayer: Father God, it amazes me how gracious and patient you are with us. Today Lord, we think about our heart and its condition. Beautiful things come from Your heart, and we desire these things. We know that our body is a temple and so we pray that our hearts physically and spiritually will be a reflection of who You are. May we wake up each day and make the right choices in our lives.