Valentine's Day, observed Feb. 14, annually intersects with National Heart Month -- a month that highlights important facts involving cardiovascular health.

More than 67 million Americans have high blood pressure. Hispanic women are likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than non-Hispanic women. And Puerto Rican-Americans have the highest hypertension-related death rate among all Hispanic sub-populations. These three are just a few of the facts highlighted during the month.

In the same vein of educating oneself about cardiovascular health, one should understand that preexisting stress and Valentine's Day-related stressors can have a real bearing on an individual. Because love is a spellbinding interpersonal feeling that can sway emotional, physical and mental health, a day that exaggerates love and turns it into a product can be a point of tension for many in the Latino community.

In a conversation with psychology, sociology and cardiology experts on the subjects of love, relationships, sexual behavior and romance, Latin Post learned a great deal about the real bearing Valentine's Day has on an individual, be it physical, mental or emotional. Health experts offered facts and advice concerning matters of the heart (as well as the head and body), which can be beneficial to couples and single individuals.

Dr. Mona M. Shattell, the associate dean for Research and Faculty Development at the DePaul University College of Science and Health, spoke on the emotional or mental states of single or partnered adults as Valentine's Day nears. Shattell was quick to clarify that adults who are not depressed or in psychological distress, whether single or partnered, do not become so nearing Valentine's Day. However, people may experience some shifts in mood, either happier or sadder, though that is a normal emotional response.

Individuals who are single and happy, in general, will be single and happy on Valentine's Day, and the opposite is true. That said, many Latinos have unique stressors (immigration, acculturation and etc.), which might cause distress during Valentine's Days and other holidays.

"From my research on depression in Latino women, and this was in an emerging immigrant community, Latinas -- primarily Mexican women -- were depressed because they had something to be depressed about -- they were separated from their children, parents and extended family; there were financial stressors; fear of deportation for those who were undocumented, and male partners who were not helpful around the house," Dr. Shattell said. "Depression in Latina women affects the whole family, especially in families of women in childbearing years who have young children. Valentine's Day could be an additional stressor, which is layered on top of the other stressors."

Dr. Shattell also said people should think about Valentine's Day as a day to not only celebrate romantic love (if it exists for the person) but also the love of family, friends and life. While it may sound overly simplistic, focusing on what one does have, and celebrating that, is much healthier than being sad or blue about what one does not have.

In relation to sexual behavior, Dr. Pepper Schwartz, an expert sociologist and sexologist teaching at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, addressed expectations and sexual behaviors that tend to be linked to Valentine's Day. Acknowledging the day as one that pushes couples to be more romantic, it's also a day that can put pressure on couples to commit, and it can spur risky sexual behaviors.

"People come from different social classes and different circumstance ... in every community, which makes a huge difference, but the romanticism of the day could encourage risky sexual behavior, because there's already a sense of 'This is the day of love' and 'This is the day for letting go and experiencing,'" Dr. Schwartz said.

"This might lead to an increase in riskier sexual behaviors, particularly with young people. In past research, I've found that the Latino community tends to be somewhat more romantic, and they place more importance on sex than some other groups. So this could be a more intense day for them."

As Valentine's Day is a commercial holiday, she insisted people shouldn't get too excited. Instead of spending money on extravagant gestures or feeling pressured to have sexual intercourse, go out to dinner, do a project and see it as an opportunity to celebrate a relationship, not exaggerate a relationship or spend too much money.

"If you're single, don't let yourself get depressed because it's just one day. And they will be other days, and one day you will be in a relationship. And don't feel like you have to close the deal in a relationship where you aren't committed," Dr. Schwartz said. "It's a day to remember, pay attention to love if you're in love, or maybe think about someday being in love, but don't overdo the whole thing. "

Dr. Schwartz also said, "As much of an impulse as sexual arousal can be, you put your whole life on the line if you don't think about your sexual health, in every sex act. Anytime you aren't trying to get pregnant, you need contraception. And condoms are the only contraception that protects your sexual health. Sometimes, I think young people forget they have to keep going for the next eighty years, and they don't think about what their bodies have to endure, and [it has to] be healthy for all that time. What may seem ridiculous at 15 or 16, it won't when you're 50. If you're mature enough to love someone and have sex with them, you better be mature enough to protect your sexual health."

Karen Larimer, cardiovascular expert and assistant professor of nursing at DePaul University College of Science and Health discussed "broken heart syndrome" with Latin Post, describing the phenomenon whereby someone starts experiencing chest pains and becoming sick after their spouse enters the hospital or ER. When checking to see if the sufferer's arteries are blocked, it's discovered they aren't. The event occurred not because of coronary artery disease, heart disease or hormones secreting due to stress, but the seldom-occurring episode happens because of fear and love. Though "broken heart syndrome" has little to do with Valentine's Day, the syndrome stands as undeniable proof that heartbreak can be a real thing.

"Having a broken heart or feeling bad because you don't have any special love in your life probably isn't enough to bring broken heart syndrome on," Larimer said. "But, as far as heart health is concerned, when we think about Valentine's Day, we think about having someone in our lives that we love, that supports us, and we know that those with love and support in our lives do better from a health stand point.

"For a stress-free and more heart-healthy Valentine's Day, find someone who you care about, whether it's your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, best friend or your child or your sister or whoever. Get out for a walk, get your heart beating strong, get some good exercise, and have a nice piece of fruit instead of candy."

Instagram, Facebook and Twitter will likely be flaring up with romantic proclamations and declarations of love, but there are few things to consider this Valentine's Day. Dr. Shatall said she has no data to support her notions but added, "The obsequious nature of information, including advertising and marketing, on social media and in face-to-face life, has increased dramatically and persons who are prone to feeling sad or blue on this day will be faced with it with increasing intensity, since one cannot get away from it."

For that reason, she says, the public should focus on positives and take a social media vacation, if that's warranted.

And Dr. Schwartz said, "Social media and technology has had a huge impact on the sexual behaviors of young people, though it hasn't been measured entirely, it does encourage a lot of risky sexual behavior. People say things in texts messages that they wouldn't say face-to-face, they send pictures of themselves that wouldn't hand to someone in person. They get bravery and bravado from texting and Internet chatting that wouldn't happen face-to-face. So, people have to be careful. In fact, one of the rules of thumbs should be, if you wouldn't do it or say it face-to-face, don't do it on the Internet."