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NEWS // January 13, 2015

Catching a Silent Killer by Loving Your Heart

As the Strategy Director for the County's Health and Human Services Agency, I was an active participant in the planning and promotion of last year's Love Your Heart campaign.  My Live Well San Diego communications team designed and secured colorful posters advertising the event and worked with the County's Communications Office to blog during "Love Your Heart Day" from various screening locations throughout the region. My Group Communications Officer arranged for a visually spectacular press conference to launch the campaign and worked with our Live Well San Diego partner, KGTV Channel 10/Azteca America TV, to create public service announcements.

It was a busy, hectic but rewarding day. So I knew better than to check my numbers until the end of the day, when all of the stressful busy work was done, and I was wrapping up and preparing to go home.

At 4:00 pm, I stopped by one of the screening stations set up by our recognized Live Well San Diego partners, Kaiser Permanente and Anthem Blue Cross, to receive my screening. Two attempts later, I got the news that, while I wasn't in an emergency state, I should go see my doctor for further evaluation as soon as possible. And this was at the end of the day, when I was winding down. I didn't feel any different, but, in fact, my levels were significantly high.

High blood pressure…they don't call it the "silent killer" for nothing. I'd felt better than I had all day, yet my blood pressure was high enough for concern. This condition could have been going on for days or months and I wouldn't have known it.

That day I ended up in urgent care, was admitted, received care for most of the evening, and released with medication and a follow up appointment the next day, where I was advised that I would need medication to regulate my blood pressure.

And this is one of the many (and definitely the most personal) reason why I'm a big fan of the Love Your Heart Campaign. The best thing I can do for myself, my family and loved ones is to know my numbers, love my heart and love myself.

This year, the Love Your Heart event will take place on Friday, February 13th . I challenge everyone who reads this blog to take charge and change your luck on Friday the 13th - know your numbers and love your heart. It's the best early valentine you could ever send to those who care about you.

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Written by Dale Fleming, Office of Strategy and Innovation, Health and Human Services Agency, County of San Diego