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October is Sudden Cardiac Awareness Month - Is Your Family Prepared for an Emergency?

Guest Blogger: Nicole Olmstead, Government Relations Director, Arizona

Did you know that October is Sudden Cardiac Awareness Month? Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) occurs when the heart’s electrical system abruptly malfunctions and the heart suddenly stops beating. The only thing standing between life and death is immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) until emergency personnel arrive. For every minute without life-saving CPR, chances of survival decrease by 7-10% and less than 10% of SCA victims survive the event.

Imagine you are one of the 5,000 people in Maricopa County who will suffer a SCA this year.  In our imaginary scenario, you are at home after a long day at work preparing dinner and you suddenly collapse.  Would your family know what to do? Unfortunately, roughly 70% of Americans feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they either do not know how to administer CPR or they are simply afraid to act.  In our scenario, your family may know to call 9-1-1, but without the CPR training, this may be the last time they see you alive.

However, your eight grader, who received CPR training in class during the school year, suddenly springs into action.  He or she begins Hands Only CPR on you to the beat of Stayin’ Alive, and continues until emergency personnel get there.  The only reason that you survive is because someone around you knew how to respond.  Now, instead of planning a funeral, you and your family can continue to experience life’s precious moments like graduations, weddings, and grandchildren.

Take time this month to learn Hands Only CPR.  It takes less than 2 minutes and you never know when you might need it or who you may need to save.  The life you save could be the life of someone you love. 

If you are interested in seeing how you can help our efforts, please contact Nicole Olmstead at nicole.olmstead@heart.org or contact your Grassroots Director Josh Brown.

~Pictured Above: Flat Mollie (a poster) laid lifeless on the Mississippi Capitol lobby floor while passersby paused a minute to reflect on the nearby sign, "If this was your loved one, would you know what to do?"

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Simple Cooking with Heart - Tailgate Chili

Guest Blogger: Erica Phung, Senior Government Relations Director, Southern California

The leaves are changing colors, and your favorite team is on the field. Fall is officially here!  When the weather turns cool, there’s nothing better than a warm, hearty bowl of comforting soup or chili to keep you going.  At Simple Cooking with Heart, we’ve got some great recipes that will keep you satisfied and heart-healthy! Here’s a fun one to try at your next tailgate or game-day party.

Click here to watch the how-to video!

4 Servings; about $3.44 per serving

Ingredients:

1 pound 95% lean ground beef (or ground white meat chicken or turkey for a healthier option) 
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium jalapeno, chopped (optional, only if you like spicy chili)
2 teaspoons minced garlic from the jar or 4 cloves minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 
1 (15.5 oz) can no-salt-added or low-sodium pinto or kidney beans, undrained 
1 (14.5 oz) can  no-salt-added or low-sodium diced tomatoes, undrained 
3/4 cup jarred salsa (lowest sodium available)

Directions:

  1. Spray large saucepan with cooking spray. Cook beef and onion over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly to break up beef. Transfer to colander and rinse with water to drain excess fat. Return beef to pan.
  2. Stir in bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, and cumin, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  4. Optional – serve topped with low-fat grated cheese, a dollop of fat-free sour cream, sliced avocado, snipped cilantro or chopped green onions.

TIP: if you want 5-alarm chili, add 1 teaspoon Cheyenne pepper

Per serving:

Calories

297

Total Fat 

6.0 g

Saturated Fat 

2.5 g

Trans Fat

0.5 g

Polyunsaturated Fat

0.5 g

Monounsaturated Fat 

2.5 g

Cholesterol

62 mg

Sodium 

288 mg

Carbohydrates

29 g

Fiber

7 g

Sugars

8 g

Protein

31 g

Dietary Exchanges:  1 starch, 3 vegetable, 3.5 lean meat

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Vance Lobe - What the Affordable Care Act means for me

Vance Lobe

It’s been almost one year now since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges were implemented and I thought it was time to reflect on how this has affected my life. 

I am a two time heart attack survivor, starting with the first one about five and a half years ago.  I was gainfully employed at the time and had, what I thought, was good insurance through my employer.  I only learned after the attack that it wasn’t as good as I thought, as a lot of things slipped through the cracks.

I lost my job through layoffs just prior to the second attack and was fortunate to at least have the COBRA insurance, even though, it caused serious financial hardship, as I was unemployed and had a large financial obligations for this care. 

For a year and a half I was unemployed without any healthcare insurance, as I was “uninsurable” due to my pre-existing heart condition.

During this time, every time I felt a little pain or just not feeling right, I would think about what would happen to me if I had another heart attack without any insurance.  I couldn’t  even afford "well care" as I was still unemployed and I made too much on unemployment to take advantage of any subsidies for any of the medicines that I needed or any other assistance.

That all changed this past January when I was finally able to get insurance through ACA.  I am able to receive “well care” for almost nothing, receive my life prolonging medicines for free and I no longer stress about my health as I know the insurance will cover the balance of my care in case something else happens.  While I am once again employed, I have chosen to continue to stay in the program, as it’s a good plan for me.

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August Recess - Supporting the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act

written by Nicole Olmstead, Government Relations Director, Arizona

This fall students are heading back to healthier school lunches.  As a result of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, schools are now required to provide meals with more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.  They must limit the amount of sodium, fats and calories.  And for the first time, this year, snacks and fund raisers are included in the standards. 

However, there are groups out there that are working to weaken the standards.  86% of the schools in the United States are complying with these standards.  We are finally making strides in offering better breakfasts and lunches to our children.  Let your legislators know that you support full implementation of the rules by taking action in the Action Center here.  Let’s ensure our school children have the best meals they can while at school. 

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What is Pediatric Cardiomyopathy?

Did you know that one in every 100,000 children in the U.S. under the age of 18 is diagnosed with a diseased state of the heart known as cardiomyopathy?  While it is a relatively rare condition in kids, it poses serious health risks, making early diagnosis important.  As the heart weakens due to abnormities of the muscle fibers, it loses the ability to pump blood effectively and heart failure or irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias or dysrhythmia) may occur.

That’s why we’re proud to team up with the Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation this month- Pediatric Cardiomyopathy Awareness Month- to make more parents aware of this condition (signs and symptoms) and to spread the word about the policy changes we can all support to protect our youngest hearts.
 
As a You’re the Cure advocate, you know how important medical research is to improving the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart disease.  And pediatric cardiomyopathy is no exception.  However, a serious lack of research on this condition leaves many unanswered questions about its causes.  On behalf of all young pediatric cardiomyopathy patients, join us in calling on Congress to prioritize our nation’s investment in medical research.
  
Additionally, we must speak-up to better equip schools to respond quickly to medical emergencies, such as cardiac arrest caused by pediatric cardiomyopathy.  State laws, like the one passed in Massachusetts, require schools to develop emergency medical response plans that can include:

  • A method to establish a rapid communication system linking all parts of the school campus with Emergency Medical Services
  • Protocols for activating EMS and additional emergency personnel in the event of a medical emergency
  • A determination of EMS response time to any location on campus
  • A method for providing training in CPR and First Aid to teachers, athletic coaches, trainers and others – which may include High School students
  • A listing of the location of AEDs and the school personnel trained to use the AED

CPR high school graduation requirements are another important measure to ensure bystanders, particularly in the school setting, are prepared to respond to a cardiac emergency.  19 states have already passed these life-saving laws and we’re on a mission to ensure every student in every state graduates ‘CPR Smart’.
   
With increased awareness and research of pediatric cardiomyopathy and policy changes to ensure communities and schools are able to respond to cardiac emergencies, we can protect more young hearts.

Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy?  Join our new Support Network today to connect with others who share the heart condition.   

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Knowing CPR Saved My Son

A lifesaving event retold by Kristy Stoner, UT

In June 2014, my friend Erin and I planned a pool day together as we decided we would spend the afternoon together at her private community pool, where we could eat lunch and chat while the kids could swim. We both have 4 kids all under the age of 8. The day went pretty much as expected, perfect weather, kids got along and we were having a great time.

Towards the end of the day, I had a distinct thought “It’s quiet…” and in a home of 4 boys, quiet is NEVER a good thing, unless they are sleeping. I looked over and noticed only 3 boys, off to the side of the pool. And, after a quick scan of the pool I said “Where’s Max?” Almost immediately Erin yelled, “Kristy! He’s in the water!” I had noticed in the middle of the deep end a small, slightly darker area, all the way at the bottom. My heart dropped when I realized that tiny, hard to see figure was in fact my little boy’s body. What else could it be?!

I knew I had to get him out and I had to do it fast! All in a matter of seconds Erin had taken my 8 month old baby, Harry, from my arms and I jumped in the pool.  Mid jump I remember noticing how calm the water was. There were no signs of struggle on the water. Then I noticed his body-hunched over in an upside down U position, with his arms hanging down and his back at the highest point just like in the movies.

Once I grabbed him and made my way to the side of the pool, Erin called 911. When I got to the side, I tried to throw his body out, but again, I was brutally disappointed when I realized how heavy his lifeless body was.

Once I got him out of the water, I rolled him onto his back, I then realized the color, or lack thereof, of his face. His face, lips, and eyelids were completely bluish grey. All I remember thinking was, "Time to make him breathe.” So I took a large settling breath and proceeded with CPR techniques I learned 10 years ago!

I'm not sure how long I was working on him, we guess it was about 2 minutes, but I remember noticing when I would breathe for him, the color would come back to his face a little at a time.  At one point, Max's eyes flickered a little and I remember the sense of gratitude that rushed over me at that moment. Then all at once, his eyes opened as wide as they could possibly go. He tried to breathe, but he still couldn't, so I breathed for him a couple more times and then set him up to try and get him to breathe on his own!!

I could hear the water inside of his breath so Erin handed me the phone to talk to the 911 dispatcher. The dispatcher wanted me to calm him down, so his body would be able to throw up the remaining water in his lungs. Eventually, he threw up. It was 99% water.

The EMT's arrived a few moments later and started checking him. I'm so glad they brought a fire truck too, because that made Max happy and helped to cheer him up. He talks about it now when he tells the story. How he got to see a fire truck up close and ride in an ambulance!

In the ambulance, Max didn't want to talk much, but he did provide his explanation of events:  "I was swimming on the red floaty, my arms slipped off. I tried doing my scoops (swim strokes), got tired and then I sinked!” Once they knew he was stable they let him go to sleep.

At the hospital, I answered a lot of questions, but am still surprised how many people wanted to know "What did you do?" "How did you do it?" "How long did you do it?" Everyone was so encouraging, so positive, and so sweet to me. I consistently heard "Good job mom! You saved his life!"

Eventually, I was able to talk to the RN watching over Max. He told me "how lucky we were," and I asked him with a drowning like ours, what were the chances of full recovery. He replied with "It is a miracle he is alive." Alive?! A miracle that maybe he didn't have water in his lungs or any noticeable long-term damage, yes, but, a miracle he was alive? Really? Why wouldn't he be? I sat and thought about that for quite a while. Maybe I did do something right. Maybe, just maybe I did save his life! I had no idea! We later asked the doctor why people don't do CPR and the doctor said "either fear, panic, fear of doing something wrong and causing more problems, or the fact that it's gross." We were shocked! But, more importantly, I was so happy that the idea of not doing CPR had never even crossed my mind.

Truth is that 80% of sudden cardiac arrests (when the heart suddenly stops) happen out of a hospital setting, while only 40% of those victims receive CPR on the spot before EMT's arrive and only about 10% of sudden cardiac arrest victims survive the event.

Since the incident Max has made a full recovery; he even persuaded me to let him swim the NEXT DAY!! My lasting thoughts are that we cannot watch our kids 100% of the time. We can’t. We need to teach them to be smart and how to protect themselves. As parents, we also need to be prepared. Be prepared on how to respond in an emergency situation, learn CPR and first aid training that could save the life of a loved one!

If you want to refresh your knowledge of CPR techniques, please visit here.

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My Children are Why

By Nicole Olmstead, Gov. Relations Director, Arizona

The AHA/ASA recently launched a new campaign, “Life is Why.”  When you think about that phrase, “Life is Why” it brings to mind so many things.  For me, I think about my kids—Emily, William and Katherine. 

I work for the AHA/ASA because I want Emily and Katherine to know the importance of being physically active.  My hope is that they grow up into strong women who understand their risk of heart disease and stroke and the importance of living a heart healthy lifestyle.  Additionally, I work here because of the numerous medical advances that the American Heart Association has directly contributed to by funding research, especially in regards to cardiac care. Medical advances like pulse oximetry screening on newborns gives me hope that groundbreaking medical advances are on the way.  This really hits home as my son William is a critical congenital heart defect survivor who may have to have heart surgery again at some point in his life.  If that day comes, I hope that surgical procedures will have advanced to the point that they may be able to operate without stopping his heart to perform the surgery.  So for me: “Life is Why… my children are why.” 

I want to urge you to visit the You’re the Cure website and share your personal why with us.  Tell everyone you know that at the American Heart Association – “Life is Why.”

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Have a Heart Healthy Summer

Guest Blogger: Kami Sutton, Grassroots Advocacy Coordinator

Happy Summer, You’re the Cure Advocates! As the temperatures are rising and we are all preparing for the fun activities of summertime, I thought I would share with you my favorite low sodium summertime recipe! As a congenital heart defect survivor and someone who is in a constant battle against Congestive Heart Failure, I have learned how to eat a healthy low sodium diet.

Even for healthy hearts it is important to eat a well-balanced diet to prevent heart disease and that includes a diet low in sodium and processed foods. Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt. To lower blood pressure, aim to eat no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day. Reducing daily intake to 1,500 mg is desirable because it can lower blood pressure even further.

With that in mind I present to you a delicious low sodium recipe to take to your next summer picnic or BBQ!

Black Bean Salad (or Salsa)

6 servings

 

About $0.84 per serving

 

1 15.5-ounce can no-salt-added or low-sodium black beans, drained

1 15-ounce can no-salt added or low-sodium kernel corn, drained or ¾ cup frozen corn, thawed

1 medium red bell pepper or 1 tomato diced

1/2 cup red onion, diced

1 teaspoon minced garlic from jar

2 tablespoon chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lime

 

Toss all together, chill at least one hour.

TIP: Serve this as a side salad to a meal or warm in microwave and use as a filling for tacos!

For nutrition facts and links to more healthy recipes, visit: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyCooking/Black-Bean-Salad-or-Salsa_UCM_429539_Article.jsp

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Spot a Stroke FAST

What do you do when you are sitting around the table at dinner, or standing at the kitchen counter and the person across from you suddenly starts slurring their words or does not make sense?  What if that person’s face suddenly droops on one side?  Can you recognize the signs that someone is having a stroke?  It’s as easy as remembering the word FAST. 

F stands for Face – if someone’s face suddenly starts drooping on one side, or they can’t smile symmetrically, they may be having a stroke. 

A stands for Arms.  Everyone should be able to raise their arms to the same level.  If someone can’t do that, they may be having a stroke. 

S stands for Speech.  If someone is speaking in a way that makes no sense, or they are suddenly slurring their words, they may be having a stroke. 

T stands for Time.  If you see the symptoms mentioned in this post, it is TIME TO CALL 9-1-1. Remember, time lost is brain lost.

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What are you actually drinking?

We all know that certain drinks have sugar in them but do you really know how much? Sometimes drinks that we think are healthy for us have sugar added and we don't realize it unless we read the label. This graphic from the Center for Science in the Public Interest illustrates how much sugar is in some of the most commonly consumed beverages. Make sure you know what you are drinking during these hot summer months. And remember a glass of cold water is not only refreshing but it is sugar free!

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