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The 2014 Nevada Heart & Stroke Walk and Runs are Just Around the Corner

The Heart and Stroke Walk and 5K Run raises awareness and funds for the life-saving mission of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Join us as we celebrate healthy lifestyles and honor those who have fought heart disease and stroke. We’re celebrating in two locations in Nevada:

We need your help! Bring your energy, your passion and your stories. There are lots of ways to get involved:

While you’re there, please don’t forget to stop by the Advocacy booth to sign a postcard in support of life-saving legislation.

This year’s walk promises to be an inspiring and exciting event.  We hope you’ll join us!

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The Power of Your Story: You can make a Difference

written by Ben Schmauss, Government Relations Director, Nevada

I began my journey advocating for a healthier Nevada as the Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association about 9 months ago. During this relatively short time, I have worked on issues like CPR in schools, heart screenings for newborns, healthy vending, state wide wellness programs, smoke-free communities, and obesity to name a few.  I have realized the power of the voice of a dedicated individual with a story to tell.

So it got me to thinking that my experience is not limited to just the 9 months working at the AHA. My life is filled with personal and professional stories that have formed my passion for health and keeps me motivated to fight for heart healthy legislation on a daily basis.. For example, I am originally from Alaska (a state still working to pass CPR in schools legislation), I used to teach physical education so I know the importance of nutrition and staying physically fit, I recently lost a friend who was only 36 years old to a heart attack illustrating that heart disease can affect anyone at any time in their life, and my elementary school had a tradition of ending the school year with a 6 mile run that every student participated in which sparked my passion for running.

All of my life experiences can and have helped in my effort to advocate for a healthier tomorrow for my kids and my fellow Nevadans.  But I realize having a vehicle to achieve my goals of advocating for health is important. That is why I believe in being an engaged member of yourethecure.org (YTC). Personally I love the numerous fact sheets available in the Key Issues section of the website. In addition, I think the Action Center makes it easy to stay up-to-date on legislative updates and makes it extremely easy to communicate with key legislators to make a difference before critical votes. 

If you are reading this and want to increase your footprint on making Nevada a healthier place then get involved today. We are currently working on childhood obesity, clean indoor air, banning the use electronic cigarettes where smoking is already prohibited, CPR in schools, healthy vending, preventive benefits and much more. Call or e-mail me and let’s work together to make the healthy choice the easy choice.

~Ben Schmauss and his Brother Brad Schmauss pictured above

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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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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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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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Update on Efforts to Combat Childhood Obesity

Crafted by Ben Schmauss, Government Relations Director, Nevada

It has been an incredible last 6 months working as the Gov. Relations Director in Nevada for the American Heart Association. I have worked on issues related to CPR in Schools, heart screenings for newborns, healthy vending, smoke free communities, and obesity to name a few.

I have been in the public health and education field for the better part of my 10 year career and the last 5 years I have worked directly with K-12 schools addressing childhood obesity. Yet I never fully understood how everything affects the heart. Prevention is the key and children are the future.

The United States, including Nevada, is in the midst of a full-blown obesity epidemic and this public health crisis includes youngsters. Currently, one third of our youth are overweight or obese. The health consequences of obesity in children are stunning. Research shows that an obese child’s arteries resemble those of a middle-aged adult and overweight adolescents have an overwhelming chance of becoming obese adults. These children are being condemned to an early future of cardiovascular disease, disability, and possible death.

There has never been a more critical time to address and improve the environment where children spend the majority of their waking hours – school.  Schools need to be part of the solution by establishing an environment that fosters a foundation of healthy behaviors in the next generation of children. One way schools can do this is by providing nutrition education and ensuring that the school environment promotes healthy eating habits and physical activity.

In December 2010, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act became law, giving the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) the authority to update national nutrition standards for school meals and establish nutrition standards for other foods, called competitive foods, sold on school campuses throughout the school day. These provisions will help schools give children the jump start they need for long, healthy lives.

For the past 4 months I have been participating in the Nevada Statewide Wellness Policy Revision that aims to update our current policy to meet the new federal “Smart Snacks” guidelines established in the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010.  These revisions will help foster a healthy school environment in the following ways:

  • It will eliminate unhealthy fundraisers during school hours
  • It will ban carbonated beverages from being sold on school grounds
  • It requires that food sold on school properties meet nutritional standards established by the USDA
  • This policy defines physical activity and outlines guidelines for students having the opportunity to move daily.

This wellness policy revision is a good start to creating a healthier tomorrow but there is still room for state and local advocacy to bolster our laws and policies around the health and wellness of children.  To help, please contact our Grassroots Director – Josh Brown.

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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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My Efforts to Train the Next Generation of Life Savers in Nevada

Guest Blogger: Steve Schauer, CPR/AED Task Force Chair, Nevada

In 2011 I had a sudden cardiac arrest at my office and thanks to the quick actions of a coworker – I am alive and well today. Thankfully my coworker was CPR certified and was nearby to immediately assess the situation and act. He began chest compressions while directing others to simultaneously call 9-1-1 and bring the automated external defibrillator (AED) to the scene. The ambulance arrived fairly quickly, however I believe it was my coworker’s quick administration of CPR and AED that not only saved my life but also protected me from any permanent heart or brain damage.

Currently, 4 out of 5 sudden cardiac arrests occur outside of the hospital setting and less than 12 percent of victims survive the event. Effective bystander CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival, but only 41 percent of cardiac arrest victims get CPR from a bystander.

Since my cardiac arrest I am now actively volunteering for the American Heart Association and I am the CPR/AED taskforce chair in Nevada.  I have helped pass the CPR/AED bill (Nevada Assembly bill 414) that will require students in Nevada schools to learn CPR prior to graduation, as funding is available.  It’s exciting to see that this bill will allow schools to train thousands of students each year to save a life via Hands-Only CPR techniques and hopefully help save countless numbers of lives.  As CPR/AED Taskforce Chair, I hope to help guide the implementation of AB 414 to make sure schools, teachers, EMTs, and volunteers are properly prepared to train the next generation of lifesavers. 

Next legislative session we aim to secure statewide funding for AB 414 so that we can ensure that each student in Nevada will learn this life-saving skill prior to graduation.  If you are interested in volunteering to help with the implementation of AB 414 please contact Ben Schmauss.

In addition, my wife and children have volunteered with the American Heart Association and have all become certified in CPR.  Do you know Hands-Only CPR? If not, please take 1 minute to see how simple saving a life can be.  For more information, please visit here

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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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When My Mother Had A Stroke

Guest Blogger: Namya Malik; 15 year old daughter of a stroke survivor

Two years ago, I woke up in the morning to my dad yelling at my brother and me that there was something wrong with my mother. When I rushed out of bed, I found my dad trying to help my mother walk down the stairs. My mom’s face was droopy, her speech was slurred, and her movements were uncoordinated – all the warning signs of a stroke that no one in my family recognized at the time. My dad took her to the hospital, and my brother and I waited at home. A few hours later, my dad called and told us that she had suffered a stroke. The doctors discovered that she had a congenital heart defect called atrial septal defect. This defect enabled direct blood flow between two compartments of her heart which caused a blood clot and prompted the stroke.

My mother spent three weeks in rehabilitation and has had several surgeries to repair her heart defect, but her stroke has had a lasting impact on her life. She lives with a condition called atrial fibrillation which puts her at great risk for another stroke. Her right hand is still weak, and she writes very slowly. Her speech is impaired also, and she often slurs and mispronounces words. Yet, she has shown remarkable courage, made significant progress, and can perform daily activities without help.

When my mother suffered the stroke, I barely knew what a stroke was, and I was oblivious to its severity and consequences. Seeing my mother live with her disabilities has motivated me to raise awareness about stroke. By educating other people about heart health and stroke, I hope to prepare them to recognize the symptoms of a stroke so that they can help in an emergency. For certain types of strokes, doctors can minimize damage to the brain tissue if a patient reaches the medical facility within four hours, so recognizing the symptoms of stroke is crucial. I have recently started working with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association to help raise awareness about heart disease and strokes in my community. I plan to start a club in my school that promotes heart health and encourages students to lead healthy lives, and I intend to talk about and demonstrate CPR in classrooms.

I would like to invite everyone reading this to get involved and help raise awareness about stroke. Research shows that stroke is the number one preventable cause of disability in the United States, so increasing awareness is pivotal if we want to avoid the debilitating consequences of strokes. Whether you want to organize a large fundraising event to support stroke research or simply discuss ways to lead healthy lives with your friends, your actions can help reduce the prevalence of strokes. Your efforts could save a life or prevent a person from living with a disability.

Think F.A.S.T. and get to know the warning signs of stroke: StrokeAssociation.org/warningsigns.

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