“I am Proof LOVE YOUR HEART Can Change a Life”

Dale Fleming is the Strategy Director for the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. The following is her personal account of learning her own health was at risk when she got her blood pressure checked during the annual Love Your Heart screenings.

As the Strategy Director for the County Health and Human Services Agency, it’s safe to say I am a strong supporter of Love Your Heart.

But I am also a believer in Love Your Heart for personal reasons as well. That’s because I am proof that Love Your Heart can change a life.

At last year’s Love Your Heart event, I had my blood pressure checked just as I did every year since the event started.

The results stunned me! I wasn’t in an emergency state, but the nurse told me I should go see my doctor for further evaluation as soon as possible.

I felt fine so I waited for my work day to end before I headed to urgent care. There they told me my blood pressure was really high.

They don’t call high blood pressure the “silent killer” for nothing. I felt just fine, but my blood pressure was high enough for concern.

They could not tell me when my high blood pressure started. The condition could have been going on for days or months and I did not know it.

For me, last year’s Love Your Heart Day ended at urgent care.  I was admitted and received care for most of the evening. I was finally released with medication. At a follow-up appointment the next day, my doctor told me I would need to take medication to regulate my blood pressure.

This is one of the many, and definitely the most personal, reasons why I’m a big fan of Love Your Heart. The best thing I can do for myself, my family and loved ones is to know my numbers, love my heart and love myself.

I am now on regular medication and have my blood pressure checked on a regular basis to make sure my numbers are under control.

Love Your Heart takes place this Friday, Feb. 13. I challenge everyone 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.

RELATED: County Announces Free Blood Pressure Screenings

José A. Álvarez is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact