Heart Truth focuses on healthful habits

Published 7:23 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2017

People have the power to take care of their heart health.

That was the message at Tuesday’s annual Heart Health luncheon at First United Methodist Church, sponsored by Vidant Beaufort Hospital and catered by The Meeting Place.

Guests welcomed keynote speaker Zonya Foco, dubbed “America’s nutrition leader,” for a presentation on eating well and taking care of the body. Foco focuses on changing one’s eating habits over a lifetime, rather than short-term dieting.

Guests were also given information on the cardiology resources available in the Washington area.

“Zonya’s passion for healthy eating and physical fitness was inspired by her own struggle with weight. A trim kid, she had always kept up with her two active brothers and her physically fit mom until suddenly, the summer before her junior year in high school, she gained 20 pounds,” Foco’s website states. “Through her own struggles and successes, and those of her clients, the pieces of the ‘permanent’ weight-loss puzzle began to reveal themselves.”

Foco’s DIET FREE wellness program includes eight factors: drink water; include breakfast; eat often; tame your sweet tooth; find the fat; replace processed food with wholesome; eat until no longer hungry; every day exercise, according to information provided at the luncheon.

HEART DÉCOR: Departments at Vidant Beaufort Hospital created heart-shaped collages in honor of American Heart Month.

HEART DÉCOR: Departments at Vidant Beaufort Hospital created heart-shaped collages in honor of American Heart Month.

Guests also heard the story of Joanie Hardison’s recent heart attack experience. Hardison is a patient access representative at Vidant Beaufort.

What started out as minor shoulder pain soon spread into Hardison’s arm, jaw and chest on July 29, 2016. Lucky for Hardison, her husband was there.

“I felt like I knew what was going on, but we continued walking on to our car. My husband kept asking me if I was OK. I just kept shaking my head and telling him, ‘Not sure,’” Hardison recalled.

Both knew she needed to get to the emergency room. Hardison’s blood pressure was later recorded as 80/50. Medical personnel quickly gave her clot-busting medication.

“One of (the nurses) went, ‘Hmm,’ and I said, ‘Well, that doesn’t sound very good,’” Hardison said. “It was very scary, and so they called EastCare, and they came and I was taken to Vidant Medical Center to the cath lab.”

Other tests revealed a 95-percent blockage. Hardison was lucky to get the help she needed right away, and in the same vein as Foco’s DIET FREE plan, she and her husband now incorporate exercise and healthful eating into their lives.

“My best advice to anybody, also, is that you know what your body is telling you better than anybody else, and if you have something that feels out of the ordinary to you, something that is persistent, have it checked out. Don’t wait. It could be the one thing that saves your life,” Hardison said.

For more information, visit www.zonya.com, or www.vidanthealth.com/loveyourheart.