Wear Red for heart health

In Migdalia Rivera’s family, 10 people had open heart surgery – taking care of her own heart, was not one of her priorities.
On February 4, Rivera will share her story along with other helpful tips at the National Wear Red event at Macy’s Herald Square.
When her mother had a stroke, Rivera visited the doctor for a routine checkup and something clicked in her mind.
“The doctor said I had high cholesterol, but worse than that he said my 15-year-old son had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and if he didn’t change his eating and exercise habits, he would be forced to go on medication,” said Rivera, 39. “It never really hit home until that moment.”
Rivera realized she had to make changes in her everyday life.
“As Latina mothers, we have the ability to change our families’ lifestyles,” Rivera said. “It’s a cycle that is handed down from generation to generation, and I knew I had to break it.”
Rivera’s mindset changed immediately. Rivera started taking walks, taught her sons to be more active, bought a dog and learned different styles of cooking.
“As a Puerto Rican, I love pernil, I love arroz con gandules,” Rivera said. “I had to make changes, for example, getting used to cooking these dishes with long grain brown rice.”
Rivera also traded bagels for yogurt, started eating oatmeal and making egg white omelets for breakfast.
As a result of Rivera’s efforts, in three months, both she and her son were able to lose weight and lower their cholesterol levels.
“Through this experience, I learned that to show my kids that I love them, I have to show them that I love myself, and to do that I need to take care of my health and my heart,” Rivera said.
“Going Red” means choosing to live a healthy lifestyle and taking care of your heart.
“I think everyone should attend this event,” Rivera said. “Support is so important and together we can help each other make small changes to improve our lives.”
The event, organized by the American Heart Association, will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is free to the public.
For more information on the event, you can become a fan of the “Go Red Por Tu Corazon” Facebook page or visit GoRedCorazon.org or you can read Rivera’s blog at www.latinaonamission.com.

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