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Like any good “will-they-or-won’t-they” romance novel, there are conflicting theories as to the origin of St. Valentine and how Valentine’s Day became the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas. One legend tells of an imprisoned man, Valentine, who sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after falling in love with a young girl — possibly his jailor’s daughter — who visited him during his confinement. According to the History Channel: “Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed ‘From your Valentine,’ an expression that is still in use today.”

Years of gender-based cardiovascular research have found plenty of differences in men and women’s health. One out of two women will be diagnosed with heart disease in her lifetime. It’s the number one killer of women.

Fifty percent of the time, the first symptom of heart disease in women is sudden cardiac death.

brokenheartWhen Your Heart Breaks … (Literally).

You can die of a broken heart — it's scientific fact — and my heart has been breaking since that very first day we met. I can feel it now, aching deep behind my rib cage the way it does every time we're together, beating a desperate rhythm: Love me. Love me. Love me.” ? Abby McDonald, Getting Over Garrett Delaney

When you think of a broken heart, you may picture a cartoon drawing with a jagged line through it. But a real-life broken heart can actually lead to cardiac consequences. There are established ties between depression, mental health and heart disease. Read on for more information about how an extremely stressful event can have an impact on your heart.

As many as half of all heart attacks may be "silent" -- without the typical crushing chest pain, shortness of breath and cold sweat. Silent heart attacks are almost as common as heart attacks with symptoms and just as bad. Heart attacks reduce or stop blood flow to the heart muscle. Because silent heart attacks often go undiagnosed, people don't get the medical care needed to prevent another heart attack, or even death.

When each new year dawns on Jan. 1, so does another chance to stick to your New Year’s resolutions. The easy part is making the promises to change your life to yourself; the hard part is actually doing it.

Circling that magical date on your calendar is about as useful as going out to a karaoke bar with some friends and expecting to sound like Adele the first time you grip the microphone.

Hippocrates, considered one of the most influential physicians in the history of medicine, once said: “All disease begins in the gut.” Current research and modern medicine continue to support this statement. Digestion, mood, autoimmune disorders, arthritis, dementia, infertility, heart disease, cancer and even the way people think are being linked to the human microbiome, or a community of microbes that reside in the digestive system.

Sheila StrandMemory Matters’ new executive director is ready to spread the word about staying mentally fit.

“I would like to see Memory Matters be on the front end of hope in helping people think about what can we do to maintain brain health,” says Sheila Strand, who started the job this month after moving to Hilton Head Island from Kansas City, Missouri. Strand was principal of Strand Communication Strategies and will replace outgoing Memory Matters executive director Edwina Hoyle, who is retiring Feb. 28.

Mentioning Alzheimer’s disease or dementia conjures images of vacant stares, confused expressions and heartbroken family and friends. But that’s only if you haven’t spent some time at Memory Matters.

The Hilton Head Island-based nonprofit organization has been bringing smiles to frustrated caregivers and dementia sufferers for two decades. By tackling one of the most feared illnesses facing the elderly, the agency has also helped change public perceptions of memory loss.

If ’tis the season for you is more like ’tis the stressing, you’re not alone. According to Prevention Magazine, up to 90 percent of the population feels some degree of stress during the holidays. And here’s why: On average, we spend approximately $1,000 — which means many people might be working longer hours to afford gifts, or people who work in retail might be facing longer hours and bigger crowds — and drive 275 miles. Plus, 37 percent of the population worries about gaining weight. It’s hard to feel festive when you’re overwhelmed with worry.

Oysters have long been a staple of Hilton Head’s rich culture, back to the days when Native Americans thrived off of the Lowcountry’s bounty. An equally delectable fact, according to Andrew Carmines, owner of Shell Ring Oyster Company and general manager of Hudson’s Seafood On the Docks, these briny bivalves also provide benefits to our ecosystem at every growth stage.