Who was St. Valentine?
The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men were better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself, after he fell in love with a young girl-possibly his jailer's daughter who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and most importantly romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become on of the most popular saints in England and France.
February is also American Heart Month.
According to the MMWR, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, and someone in the United States has a heart attack every 40 seconds.
February is American Heart Month, an ideal time to remind all adults to focus on their heart and encourage them, their families, friends and communities to learn the important signs and symptoms of a heart attack and how to respond. Recognizing that someone might be having a heart attack is crucial for optimizing access to lifesaving emergency cardiac care.
Five common symptoms of a heart attack are:
- Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck or back
- Feeling weak, lightheaded or faint
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Pain or discomfort in the arms or shoulder
- Shortness of breath
If someone is suspected to be having a heart attack 9-1-1 should be called immediately.
MMWR reports the percentage of persons who are aware of all five heart attack symptoms increased from 39.6% in 2008 to 50.2% in 2017.
I’m sure you all do an excellent job instructing your patients on the importance of good oral hygiene but don’t forget to mention how that plaque and calculus can be detrimental to their heart.