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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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Thank You for a Great Year!

Guest Blogger: Rick Lieberman, Advocacy Committee Chair

As the AHA comes to the end of our fiscal year, I want to take the opportunity to thank all of the amazing Arizona Advocates for all you do.  Thanks to your dedication, actions, and support, we were able to pass two heart healthy pieces of legislation: House Bill 2491 and Senate Bill 1336. HB 2491 will ensure Arizona newborns are screened for critical congenital heart defects using pulse oximetry, an inexpensive, non-invasive screening tool.  

SB 1336 aims to increase physical activity in our community by limiting schools’ liability when they open their grounds for recreational community use after hours.  Please take a moment to thank Governor Brewer for signing both of these bills into law!

As the legislative session has wrapped up, I would like to take this opportunity to thank some of my fellow advocates for their amazing work and effort this year. I especially want to thank Demaree Wilson, Molly Wright and William Mueller for their participation and testimonies in legislative hearings on why passing HB 2491 this year was so important. Additionally, I would also like to thank Jane Powers and Shellie Wenhold for their commitment and passion on the CPR bill.  Finally, I would like to thank the Arizona Government Relations Director, Nicole Olmstead, for her dedication, passion, and fearless leadership. 

Without the dedication of all our advocates and the leadership from Nicole, the American Heart Association would not be able to accomplish as much as we do.  Thank you very much for all of your support and I look forward to another great year!

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One Million Milestone

Did you hear the big news?  We’ve reached an amazing milestone in our campaign to teach all students to be ‘CPR Smart’!  17 states now require CPR training as a graduation requirement, which adds up to over one million annual graduates who are prepared to save a life.  Congratulations to all of the You’re the Cure advocates and community partners who have spoken-up for training our next generation of life-savers.   

But with every advocacy celebration comes a new call to action.  33 states still need to pass legislation to make CPR a graduation requirement and you can help us get there!  Here are a couple simple things you can do right now to get the word out:

1) Watch Miss Teen International Haley Pontius share how a bad day can be turned into a day to remember when students know CPR.  And don’t forget to share this PSA on social media with the hashtag #CPRinSchools!

(Please visit the site to view this video)

2) Do you live in one of the 33 states that have not made CPR a graduation requirement yet?  Take our Be CPR Smart pledge to show your support and join the movement.  We’ll keep you updated on the progress being made in your state. 


 

 

We hope you’ll help keep the momentum going as we support many states working to pass this legislation into 2015.  Several states have already had success in securing funding for CPR training in schools, but now need to push for the legislature to pass the graduation requirement and in Illinois, the Governor recently signed legislation that requires schools to offer CPR & AED training to students. 

Bystander CPR can double or triple survival rates when given right away and with 424,000 people suffering out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) each year, this law is critical to helping save lives.  Thank you for being part of our movement to train the next generation of life-savers!


PS- Inspired to be CPR smart too?  Take 60 seconds to learn how to save a life with Hands-Only CPR.

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Advocate Spotlight: Janice Edwards-Jackson

crafted by Janice Edwards-Jackson, Arizona

I am 34 years old and a stay-at-home mom of 3 children, ages 8, 6, and 3.  On September 21, 2013, I had just returned home after taking my 2 older children to piano lessons.  We were eating lunch when I stood up to warm up my food in the microwave.  The room started spinning.  I thought I was about to have a migraine, since I get them every so often, so I grabbed the counter and made my way back to my seat.  I became sleepy and the spinning would not stop. I told my husband that something was wrong and that I wanted to go to sleep so he helped walk me to the couch and gave me 2 aspirin.  I slept for 3 hours.

2 days later, I went to the doctor and was told it was vertigo/inner ear, but the next day something still didn’t feel right, so I went to the ER at a hospital near my house.  They did a CT scan and MRI and told me I had a brain tumor.  I was terrified.  I was transferred to Barrows Neurological Institute, to confirm the test results, but I was then told that I had a small thalamic stroke.  Learn to spot a stroke FAST by clicking here.

It turns out that my stroke was caused by a congenital heart defect known as PFO (atrial septic defect/hole in the heart). Until this incident, I never knew I had a congenital heart defect (CHD) and a bi-cusped aortic valve.  I went to both physical and cognitive therapy and I currently take 325 mg of aspirin daily. 

Additionally, I had all of my children checked and I found out that my youngest daughter has a PFO as well and that one of her coronary arteries is not completely on the correct side.  The doctor hopes that as her heart grows, that the PFO will close and that the coronary artery will completely move to the correct side.  We are hoping that this will happen by the time she is 5.  If not, she will have to have surgery.

Unfortunately, congenital heart defects are the number one birth defect in newborns.  There are an estimated 500 babies born in Arizona each year with congenital heart defects and of those 125 babies will have a critical congenital heart defect.  Critical congenital heart defects are heart defects that often require major corrective procedures in the first year of an infant’s life.  Thankfully, House Bill 2491 was signed into law by Governor Brewer and now all newborns in Arizona will be screened for CHDs via pulse oximetry screening prior to leaving the hospital.  HB 2491 will save many lives in the future by catching heart defects at the earliest point in life allowing for early detection and treatment.  Visit here for more information.

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Thank You for Your Support: Governor Brewer Signs TWO Heart Healthy Bills into Law

Thanks to your consistent support, dedication, and messaging, Governor Brewer recently signed TWO heart healthy bills—House Bill 2491 (pulse oximetry screening) and Senate Bill 1336 (shared use for recreational spaces)—into law!  Without your actions over the last few months, this would not have been possible. 

HB 2491 will make pulse oximetry, a non-invasive test that measures blood oxygen levels, a screening requirement for Arizona newborns prior to leaving the hospital. There are an estimated 500 babies born in Arizona each year with congenital heart defects and of those 125 babies will have a critical congenital heart defect, but early detection via pulse oximetry screening and treatment can make all the difference. This test can be completed in as little as 45 seconds and studies show that there is less than 1% chance of giving a false positive result. Without pulse oximetry screening, roughly 30% of CCHD cases may not be identified using conventional screening methods until it is too late. 

SB 1336 aims to increase physical activity in our community by limiting schools’ liability if they open their grounds for recreational community use. Passing SB 1336 this year is important because nearly one in three children and teens are overweight or obese and many are inactive. When it comes to improving community health and helping kids learn, the research is clear on physical activity... kids, teens, and adults need to move more! Shared use agreements allow school districts, local governments, and community based organizations to overcome common district concerns and share costs and responsibilities of opening school property to the public after school hours.

Click here to visit our Action Center.

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Take Control of Your Health

Did you know high blood pressure has also been called the “silent killer”? That’s because its symptoms are not always obvious, making the need for regular check-ups important.  As we recognize High Blood Pressure Awareness Month, here are the facts:

• High blood pressure (aka: hypertension) is one of the major risk factors for heart disease.

• It’s the leading risk factor of women’s deaths in the U.S., and the second leading risk factor for death for men.

• One-third of American adults have high blood pressure. And 90 percent of American adults are expected to develop high blood pressure over their lifetimes.

• More than 40 percent of non-Hispanic black adults have high blood pressure. Not only is high blood pressure more prevalent in blacks than whites, but it also develops earlier in life.
 
• Despite popular belief, teens, children and even babies can have high blood pressure. As with adults, early diagnosis and treatment can reduce or prevent the harmful consequences of this disease.

Now that you know the facts, what can you do to take control? The answer is a “lifestyle prescription” that can prevent and manage high blood pressure. A healthy lifestyle includes exercise, stress management, and eating a healthy diet, especially by reducing the sodium you eat. To learn more about taking control of you blood pressure, be sure to visit our online toolkit!

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Legislative Spotlight: House Bill 2491

Guest blogger: Nicole Olmstead, Arizona Government Relations Director

Being a Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, I have the opportunity to work on very important pieces of legislation every day.  From increasing access recreational facilities to improving systems of care, the work we do truly helps improve the health of my community.  Every once in a while, I get the chance to work on our most vulnerable population, babies. 

During this legislative session, we have had the opportunity to work on House Bill 2491 which will require that all newborns are screened for congenital heart defects using a simple, inexpensive, non-invasive test known as pulse oximetry. 

At this point in the legislative session, we have had a few volunteers testify on this issue at the Arizona capitol, including one of our youngest volunteers, William Mueller.  William, a 9 year old born with 5 congenital heart defects, has spoken in both the Senate and House Health committees asking the Legislature to protect Arizona newborns by voting yes for this legislation.  We think he might have a future as a lobbyist for the AHA.  Please see his interview here. Go William! 

Currently, House Bill 2491 is in the final stages of becoming a law.  Please visit here to support requiring pulse oximetry as a screening requirement to ensure its passage.  Your legislators want to hear from advocates like you!

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Start Walking Today!

Guest blogger: Nicole Olmstead, Arizona Government Relations Director

In most parts of the US, the weather is starting to warm up and thaw, but lucky for us Arizonans, we have absolutely wonderful weather conditions on most days.  Seize the day and get out and enjoy our gorgeous weather!

In case you missed it, National Walking Day was April 2, 2014. On this day, we encouraged all Arizonans to lace up their sneakers and take at least 30 minutes out of their day to get up and walk.  This was a great way to raise awareness of the importance of physical activity and also a wonderful way to get family, friends and co-workers started on the way to a healthier life.

Even though National Walking Day has passed by, we still encourage you to take some time out of every day to walk and be physically active. Lack of physical activity is one of the major risk factors for heart disease and stroke.  The America Heart Association has even developed a website and an app that can help you find walking paths near wherever you are.  Check it out here.

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Big Changes in Store for Food Labels

After more than two decades, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is proposing sweeping changes to the nutrition labels on packaged foods.

The proposals would require food manufacturers to list added sugars, nutrition counts for more-realistic portion sizes and total nutrition information for multiple servings of food within a single package.  The government also wants to require potassium and vitamin D to be listed.

The changes are being released on Thursday during a critical time in the U.S. A third of all adults in the nation are obese, increasing the risk for high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Another third of Americans are overweight.

“Eating healthy is a habit all Americans need to have and the FDA’s new nutrition labels will help put that goal within reach,” American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown said. “By arming consumers with more knowledge about nutritional content, calories and serving sizes, the new labeling information proposed by the FDA takes an important step toward improving the health of all Americans.”

Despite the recent news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that obesity has declined by 43 percent for children ages 2 to 5, it has not changed significantly for adults or the larger pool of kids ages 2 to 19.

Children who are overweight or obese are more likely to be overweight or obese as adults. And obesity in children is causing a health problems that used to be seen only in adults, like high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.

Changes to nutrition labels will take time. The FDA will collect comments for 90 days on its proposed new rules from food manufacturers, the general public and nutrition and health advocates. It will consider clarifications or changes based on the comments, then give food manufacturers time to reprint their labels and replace existing inventory.

“These new labels will empower consumers with a valuable source of nutrition information, and the American Heart Association commends the FDA for proposing these changes,” Brown said.

Proposed changes include:

Added sugars: for the first time, added sugars will be on the nutrition facts panel. Previously, naturally-occurring and added sugars were combined into a single listing of “total sugars.” This will allow consumers to know how much sugar has been added by the manufacturer. The AHA recommends that women consume a maximum of 100 calories a day from added sugars, or 25 grams, and men consume 150 calories a day, or 37.5 grams.

“The addition of added sugars to the Nutrition Facts Panel is a giant step forward,” said Rachel K. Johnson, Ph.D., R.D., chair of the AHA’s nutrition committee and professor of nutrition and medicine at the University of Vermont in Burlington. “High intakes of added sugars are associated with many risk factors for heart disease including obesity, high blood pressure, inflammation and elevated triglyceride levels. A recent study demonstrated an association between high intakes of added sugars and death from cardiovascular disease. Consumers want to know how much sugar has been added during the processing or preparation of foods so they can make wise decisions about the foods they eat.”

Serving sizes: Adjusted for 17 categories of foods to better reflect what people are actually consuming. For example, ice cream will go from ½ cup to 1 cup; muffins and bagels will go from ½ to 1; and beverages will go from 8 ounces to 12 oz. This gives people a more realistic idea of what they’re actually consuming in a single sitting, so they can better monitor what they’re eating and make healthier choices.

Sodium: This will be adjusted slightly to reflect a 2,300 milligram daily value, which is the maximum amount per day recommended in the dietary guidelines for someone consuming a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet. The American Heart Association recommends that the ideal sodium consumption, especially for people trying to lower their blood pressure, is 1,500 mg. per day.  “There is strong scientific evidence that indicates lowering sodium reduction can result in significant reductions in blood pressure,” Brown said. ”Therefore, the association will continue to recommend sodium intake to be limited to 1,500 milligrams a day. We intend to work with the FDA, during this 90-day comment period and beyond if need be, to highlight the increased benefits from further sodium reductions and to advocate for stronger action.”

Package size: Like serving sizes, package sizes will be labeled more accurately. So a large muffin or bottle of soda will have nutrition information for the entire package.

Per serving and per package: If a package has 2-4 servings in it, the label will be required to show nutrition information per serving and per package. This helps make it clear when the package has multiple servings inside.

Calories bigger and bolder: Although the format of the label won’t change dramatically, calories and serving sizes will be emphasized with a bigger and bolder font. This may help people make healthier choices by knowing what they’re consuming.

Nutrient listings: The amount of potassium and vitamin D will now be required, calcium and iron will remain and vitamins A and C will be optional. When the nutrition label was last updated 20 years ago, health officials were more concerned about people getting enough of vitamins A and C, but attention now is on potassium and D.

Want to help inform friends & family about these changes?  Share this graphic on Facebook.





















For more information:

FDA announcement

AHA CEO Nancy Brown's Statement

Understanding food nutrition labels

American Heart Association Nutrition Center 

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