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Trick or Treat?

Candy Corn, Gummy Bears, Peanut Butter Cups, Swedish Fish, Candy Bar, Bubblegum and Cotton Candy… These may sound like treats the neighborhood kids are hoping to pick up when they go trick-or-treating later this month, but they’re actually the tricks used by companies to hook our kids on nicotine. These are flavors of e-cigarette liquid available for purchase today.

With alluring flavors like those and a dramatic increase in youth exposure to e-cigarette advertising, the rising popularity of e-cigarettes among youth shouldn’t come as a surprise. Still, it raises concerns. Strong regulations are needed to keep these tobacco products out of the hands of children. We’ve asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prohibit the marketing and sale of e-cigarettes to minors, and we’re still waiting for them to act.

Meanwhile, CDC launched this week their #20Million Memorial. 20 million people have died from smoking-related illnesses since the 1964 Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health. Has smoking affected you and your family? Check out this moving online memorial, then share your story or honor loved ones lost too soon with the hashtag #20Million.  

AHA staff and volunteers across the country are preparing to fight the tobacco epidemic in upcoming state legislative sessions. They’ll ask for state funding for tobacco prevention programs and for increased tobacco taxes, a proven deterrent for youth smoking.

This Halloween, don’t let our kids continue to get tricked by the tobacco companies. Help end the tobacco epidemic for good. To amplify our message with lawmakers, ask friends and family members to join us, then watch your inbox for opportunities to act!  

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October is Sudden Cardiac Awareness Month

Do you know the difference between a heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest?  People often use these terms interchangeably, but they are not synonyms. A heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked, and sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly. A heart attack is a “circulation” problem and sudden cardiac arrest is an “electrical” problem.  Click here to learn more about the differences!

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Share your Story: Carl and Clint Cottrell

Carl and Clint Cottrell Terre Haute, IN

Carl was such an energetic burst of life, his final days were so heartbreaking. He still never gave up on life. The list of his heart related issues were within a 10 year period beginning with his massive heart attack…

We as a family are still devasted over his loss. That same year we began walking the Indy Heart-walk. Doing this in his memory, helped us live thru our loss and strengthen our family bond. We knew more research could maybe save more lives. Maybe others would be able to have their dads and grandpas longer. All of our children and grandchildren are involved. Clint, however, took a major part in collecting donations and setting up our family AHA webpage. He is a real go-getter with great enthusiasm and family loyalty.

Just two years after we lost Carl, right before Christmas Eve, Clint suffered a Stroke.  We would never have imagined.  We were in shock as he was life-lined to Indianapolis and we did not know if he would survive.  With great faith, strength and doctors, as we entered the New Year, Clint improved and finally survived his stroke. We were blessed.  I feel that the time we have spent gearing our direction to the AHA Heart-walk, has helped encourage further research and education about heart health.

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Heave you heard: new law requires CPR training in schools

A new law passed this year in Indiana means high schools are now required to teach CPR. 

HEA 1290 requires school corporations and accredited nonpublic schools “include in the high school health education curriculum, instruction in CPR and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED.)”

According to the American Heart Association, about 20 states now require the training for high school curriculum.  Read the story here.

 

 

 

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Share Your Story: Dan & Andrea Solero

Dan & Andrea Solero Mooresville, IN

19 years ago my dad, a physician, said my boyfriend would have a heart attack by the time he was 40.  Why would he scare me like this at 22 years old? Why would I care that was a life time away.  I’ve been married to that man for 13 years now. When he turned 40, my dad’s prediction came back to me. Would this really happen? He does have high cholesterol, but he is so active. We’re runners, we eat healthy. We’re already doing everything “right”.

Dan knew he was at risk, he even did a heart scan and met with a cardiologist when the scan showed some build up. The cardiologist ran some tests. Before we could even get the results on July 18, 2012, Dan came to me saying, "my jaw hurts will you take me to prompt med?" Tell me more about the pain I said. He snapped it just hurts, are you going to take me?  Dan is never sick and never agitated. Instantly in my head I hear my dads words and then I think oh my God, he’s having a heart attack.  Now I should have called 911, but I didn’t. We’re in between county lines and we don’t always get a quick response. I knew I could have him to the hospital, safely, in less that 15 minutes. It might take that long just to get a dispatch.  I drove him to St. Francis Mooresville.  On the way he said his back was hurting.  I said, babe, you’re having a heart attack, when did you last take an aspirin? "I am not, just drive!" he replied. (looking back I think he knew he was!) Pulling into the ER I said the words heart attack and he was instantly swarmed by a team of doctors and nurses. The monitors confirmed he was in the beginning stages of what would be a massive attack that didn’t fully hit him until he was in an ambulance to the Heart Hospital at St Francis Indianapolis.  The surgeon told me Dan had 100% blockage of his main artery and a 90% blockage of the secondary. “The Widow Maker” as it’s called.  He said I saved his life.   I saved his life. How did I come so close to being a widow at 39 years old? I called my dad hysterically thanking him for warning me so many years ago.   I can’t take all the credit. Dan knew he was at a high risk because he and nearly everyone in his family has high cholesterol.  He was on the right track, taking nearly every statin that’s been available for the last 15 years, he was doing the right things.  Everyone said, but Dan runs, he eats right, he’s young.   There isn’t a “look” you do not have to be an aging, over weight, sedentary person to have a heart attack.  We want people to know that. We want people to research their family history, to get heart scans, to have their cholesterol checked and to have their children’s checked as well.  We found out Dan has Familial Hypercholesterolemia , our son does too.  We recently celebrated his 2 year anniversary. It’s an anniversary I look forward to celebrating every year. Easily, the best and worst day of my life.  We are proud to be a part of the heart walk again this year.  Dan was one of the recipients for the Lifestyle Change award in 2013.  We are recruiting our friends and family to join our group, Jonnie’s Goodguys, which is a heart health focus running club we formed after losing a friend to an aortic dissection.  We are surrounded by people that are affected by heart issues way too young. We are trying to do our small part to give them the warning signs they need to take care of themselves!

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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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Judge upholds Indianapolis smoke-free air law

The smoke-free air law in Indianapolis was upheld in court recently.

On July 28th, a Marion County Superior Court judge upheld the smoke-free ordinance, that went into effect in 2012. It was passed by the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council. 

Click here to read the rest of the story and to see a statement from Katy Ellis Hilts, chair of Smoke Free Indy.

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Mark Your Calendar for the EmpowerMEnt Challenge!

We’re gearing up for National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and we want you to be in on all of the action!  Throughout September, we’re encouraging families across the country to take control of their healthy by participating in the EmpowerMEnt Challenge.  Each week, families and kids will pursue a different goal, including eating more fruits and veggies, limiting sugary drinks, reducing sodium intake, and increasing physical activity.  Each goal is fun, simple, won’t break the bank and can be done as a family.  And by the end of the month, families will be a step ahead on the road to a heart-healthy life. 

So mark your calendar for the challenge kick-off on September 1st!  Complimentary templates and activities, broken down into the themed weeks, are now available on www.heart.org/healthierkids.  In addition, you're invited to join our EmpowerMEnt Challenge Facebook group, where you can make the commitment to take the challenge and share your progress with others.  

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E-cigarette market rises, health experts warn users

Check out this recent news report about electronic cigarettes from WISH-TV in Indiana, featuring quotes from Danielle Patterson, Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association.  

“There’s no sense in trading in one tobacco product from an industry that’s been deceiving us for years for another product from that industry,” Danielle Patterson said.

Patterson is with the American Heart Association and says e-cigarettes should not be considered an alternative to smoking tobacco.

“You’re still taking in carcinogens. You may be off traditional cigarettes, you may feel like you don’t smell like cigarette smoke, but you’re still taking in harmful products into your body,” Patterson said.

Click here to  Read the rest of the story.

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Teaching Gardens = Learning Laboratories for Kids

Studies show that when kids grow their own fruits and vegetables, they’re more likely to eat them. That’s the idea behind the American Heart Association Teaching Gardens.  While 1/3 of American children are classified as overweight or obese, AHA Teaching Gardens is fighting this unhealthy trend by giving children access to healthy fruits and vegetables and instilling a life time appreciation for healthy foods.

Aimed at first through fifth graders, we teach children how to plant seeds, nurture growing plants, harvest produce and ultimately understand the value of good eating habits. Garden-themed lessons teach nutrition, math, science and other subjects all while having fun in the fresh air and working with your hands.

Over 270 gardens are currently in use nationwide reaching and teaching thousands of students, with more gardens being added every day.  You can find an American Heart Association Teaching Garden in your area here or email teachinggardens@heart.org to find how you can get involved.

               

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