Valentine’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays, as it was my mom’s. But now it’s just a sad reminder, as the day before Valentine’s Day, my sweet mom passed away unexpectedly.

My mom had a heart attack—the physicians all said she had recently been to the doctors and that all her tests had come back okay. This is going to be the second year of her passing.

To celebrate my mom, I always try to think about what I can learn from this, so I decided to reach out to the American Heart Association. I learned so many important things that I would like to share to hopefully raise awareness with everyone.

Heart disease is by far the number one killer in the world. As women, we tend to put others ahead of ourselves, but we need to take time to prioritize our own health as well.

Here are some of the most important things you can do to improve your health: One is to make a commitment to move more, second is to eat smart and watch your salt intake and your red meat—my doctor suggested the Mediterranean diet—and lastly is to know and understand your numbers, like your blood pressure, and monitor it to prevent heart disease and stroke.

As women, it is imperative to learn the signs and symptoms of heart disease. Learn your own family history, which is another huge indication of potential risk of heart disease. Don’t wait to go see a doctor; there are some very easy tests that should be done for those who have any family history of heart disease. One is the Calcification Test, and there’s also an Echocardiogram and a stress test.

I hope this helps you to be proactive so we can celebrate many more Valentine’s days together. Please share this information with as many people as you can this Valentine’s Day.

Kim Pagano is brought to you by the award-winning talk radio station AM 1590 KVTA. She brings you the Brighter Side of the 805, Saturdays from 7 to 8 a.m., reminding us how important it is to “Look Good, Feel Good, Do Good.” Listen to the Kim Pagano Show at your leisure by subscribing to her podcast: ITunes/The Kim Pagano Show.