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Can You Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T.?

 

Tick-tock, tick-tock.  Every minute counts.  Every 40 seconds someone in the US has a stroke. Timely response save lives and is critical to help those affected not only survive but thrive as well.

Approximately 700,000 Americans have a new or recurrent stroke each year, and stroke remains the third leading cause of death in the United States. Stroke also remains a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States.  

With a possible stroke it is imperative that action is taken FAST.  If you notice Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, it’s Time to call 911, F.A.S.T.

You’re the Cure advocates have worked hard to put policies in place to help people survive a stroke, like designation of qualified hospitals as Primary Stroke Centers (PSC).

Receiving treatment at a certified PSC can save lives.  At the PSC, CT scans of the brain, EKGs, (heart), chest X-rays and lab tests should be completed and results reviewed within 45 minutes of being ordered. Time is of the essence.  TPA, a drug that breaks up clots that interrupt blood flow to the brain is the first line of defense.  PSC’s are required to keep this drug on site. It can be safely administered with positive results up to 4.5 hours after someone first notices stroke symptoms.  That makes it critical to note the time of onset of symptoms, if possible.

Being proactive in regards to your health can start by taking a few minutes to call your local hospitals to see if they are on the list of PSC’s.  

You can help be the cure:  Learn about heart-health issues. Meet other like-minded advocates. Take action and be heard.  You have the power.  Spread the news with your family and friends. Utilize all your social medias accounts. Network for stroke health! 

To find all this and more CLICK the PIC:

 

 

 

 

 

Blog post by You’re The Cure Advocate Karen Wiggins, LPN, CHWC

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Look At All We've Done

In the hustle and bustle of life, it seems there is always something that needs our attention.  Maybe it’s a lunch appointment, a meeting after work – did you remember to call your mom to wish her a happy birthday?

With so many things monopolizing our time, it begs the question: “Why do we do what we do?”  How do we choose to prioritize what gets our few free moments?  As a You’re The Cure Advocate, why do you choose to align yourself with our mission?  Do you know all that we have accomplished?

Today, we are bragging on you. Each action you have taken: every email you’ve sent to your lawmakers, every meeting you’ve attended has helped propel forward many vital pieces of legislation.  We want to tell how you’ve shaped our Mid-Atlantic Affiliate over the past few years.

Maryland:
2012 Legislative Session: tax on small cigars and all smokeless products was raised. Legislation was also passed to require insurance carriers to cover and reimburse healthcare providers for services delivered through telemedicine.
2013 Legislative Session: hospitals in MD are required to test newborns for critical congenital heart defects with pulse oximetry before they are discharged from the hospital. 
Thank you.

North Carolina:
2012 Legislative Session: required all high school seniors to be proficient in CPR in order to graduate high school.  In addition, a total of $2.7 million in non-recurring funding was secured for tobacco cessation and prevention programs. 
2013 Legislative Session: hospitals in NC are required to test newborns for critical congenital heart defects with pulse oximetry before they are discharged from the hospital.   Also signed into law was a policy that ensures designation of Primary Stroke Centers - ensuring stroke patients receive appropriate & timely care. 
Thank you.

South Carolina:
2012 Legislative Session: advocates were able to preserve $5 million for the Smoking Prevention and Cessation Trust Fund. 
2013 Legislative Session: hospitals in SC are required to test newborns for critical congenital heart defects with pulse oximetry before they are discharged from the hospital. Additionally, the Senate passed legislation requiring all high school seniors to be proficient in CPR in order to graduate high school.  This legislation is headed to the House of Representatives, and our SC advocates will be vital in ensuring this becomes law.
Thank you.

Virginia:
2012 Legislative Session: Governor McDonnell issued Executive Directive 4, developing an implementation plan for pulse oximetry tests in hospitals. The House also required the Board of Education to develop PE guidelines for public elementary and middle schools.
2013 Legislative Session: Gwyneth’s Law was signed into law.  All high school students will be required to achieve proficiency in CPR for graduation – and all teachers must be proficient in order to achieve their licensure.  The state budget allocated $400,000 for 12-lead ECG’s for EMS, which helps to diagnose the most severe type of heart attack.
Thank you.

Washington, DC:
2012 Legislative Session: the DC City Council allocated $495,000 for tobacco control programs within the Department of Health.
2013 Legislative Session: the DC Telehealth Reimbursement Act of 2013 requires all payers to reimburse services rendered by telemedicine.
Thank you.

Advocates are driving more policies in the 2014 sessions!  Some say “It takes a village to raise a child.”  With You’re The Cure, it “takes a network to make a difference.” Each and every one of you has made a difference.

Thank you for giving your heart.

 

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Kick Butts Day!

Today is Kick Butts Day, an annual day hosted by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids to celebrate youth leadership and activism in the fight against big tobacco. Kick Butts Day is particularly relevant this year as we mark the anniversary of the first Surgeon General's report on smoking. A new report was released this year that found that smoking is even more dangerous than previously thought. The report concluded that cigarette smoking has many adverse effects on the body not known until now, such as causing inflammation and impairing immune function. Additionally, exposure to secondhand smoke has been “causally linked to cancer, respiratory, and cardiovascular disease, and to adverse effects on the health of infants and children.”

Given the enormous public health tragedy caused by tobacco and cigarette smoking, it’s more important than ever before that North Carolina invest in tobacco prevention and cessation programs. This new report concluded that the “tobacco industry deliberately misled the public on the risks of smoking cigarettes,” and it’s important that we fund public health efforts to counter the advertising might of the industry. North Carolina will receive over $150 million from the Master Settlement Agreement this year, yet our state is barely spending $1.2 million on efforts to help smokers quit, and we are not spending a dime to prevent kids from starting to smoke in the first place. On Kick Butts Day, I hope our legislative leaders will seriously consider investing in tobacco prevention and cessation programs in 2014.

 

Many thanks to Lee Storrow, Managing Director of the North Carolina Alliance for Health, and You’re the Cure advocate for writing today’s post.

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How to Love Yourself for National Nutrition Month

If a full commitment to healthy eating seems too tough to swallow, then start with a taste test.  March is National Nutrition Month, a great time to love yourself a little more by trying some new habits that just may stick. 

Little by little, you’ll start to see a difference in how you feel and look.  And those small steps can lead to bigger payoffs.

“We know from research that being exposed to healthy food means you will develop a preference for that food over time. For example, once you become accustomed to eating lower-sodium foods, you will find that foods you used to eat taste very salty,” said Rachel K. Johnson, Ph.D., MPH, RD, chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee and professor of nutrition and medicine at the University of Vermont in Burlington. “By adopting a healthier diet you will not only add years to your life but you’ll improve the quality of the years you have.”

Here are some tips to try this month, and any other time of the year:

  • Slow down on the sodium: Did you know Americans eat more than double the daily amount of sodium recommended by the American Heart Association? Too much sodium increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and other health problems, but this excess isn’t just from salting your food. Americans get most of their sodium — 77 percent! — from processed foods. If you choose these foods, compare the labels and look for lower-sodium versions.
  • Pile on the fruits and vegetables: Choose all kinds of fruits and vegetables — fresh, frozen, canned, juiced and dried. All fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Load your shopping basket with fruits and vegetables of many different colors. Then try the “slender sauté” using a small amount of liquid to cook vegetables. Need a quick, healthy weeknight dinner? Try a salad. The American Heart Association has tasty recipes packed with everything from bacon to broccoli to tofu to mushrooms and much more.
  • Get the skinny on fats: Learn how to substitute good fats (mono and polyunsaturated fats) for bad fats (saturated and trans fats). For example, try canola oil or olive oil instead of butter. Choose lean meats, poultry without skin and fish instead of fattier cuts of meats. Enjoy heart-healthy fats in moderation and remember this tip: 1 teaspoon equals 1 serving.
  • Save your waistline and your wallet by cooking at home. Cooking at home is not only a great way to make sure the ingredients that go into your recipes are healthy, but it gives you control over your portion sizes too. (Not to mention your budget.) Try using a smaller salad-size plate for your main meal instead of a big dinner plate.

“Achieving a healthy weight is essential to living well,” Johnson said. “Adding fiber-rich, low-calorie foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains will help you feel satisfied on fewer calories.”

For more healthy eating tips, recipes and a guide to products with the Heart Check mark, visit heart.org/healthyliving.

(For NC add:  The American Heart Association, through You’re the Cure, is working to help all North Carolinians get access to healthy foods, especially if they live in areas where affordable healthy foods are harder to find.  CLICK HERE to help us advance this effort. 

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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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Save the Date: North Carolina State Lobby Day 2014!

Mark your calendars now! Reserve Tuesday May 27 and Wednesday May 28 for the 2014 NC AHA You're the Cure at the Capitol State Lobby Day.

The event will begin at 3:00 pm on Tuesday May 27th with an issues overview, advocacy training, and dinner with your fellow advocates. The following day will be spent at the legislature, meeting face to face with lawmakers, and will wrap up at 3:00 pm. To register email Kacie Kennedy at kacie.kennedy@heart.org

This year we will be talking about important policies that will build a healthier North Carolina and your presence is needed. Make plans now to join us. Save the dates today!

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Juddson Rupp Wins Dr. Blackburn Award

Last month the Advocacy Coordinating Committee met in the Raleigh office for our annual face-to-face meeting and awards ceremony.  I never realize how much I miss everyone until we have cause to get together.

Intertwined with session outlook updates and training we took time to recognize some hard working volunteers and legislators.  Our illustrious Vice Chair, Juddson Rupp, received this year’s Dr. Robert Blackburn Award for outstanding service.  Juddson has continuously used his talents and influence to further the cause of combating heart disease.

Representative Fulgham and Representative Stam were also recognized by our group for their policy work this past year. Support from our legislators makes our goals attainable. 

As I look forward to the Legislative Session and our NC State Lobby Day, I will reflect on what we want to accomplish as a group and what I can do as an individual to make that happen. I encourage the reader to do the same.  Remember, individual participation is the first step to collective success!

**Many thanks to Yolanda Dickerson, NC Advocacy Coordinating Committee Chair, for writing this post for us.**

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Juddson Rupp

Juddson Rupp, North Carolina

I didn’t remember anything from my week in the hospital, but when a friend brought in a copy of the six o’clock news from October 27, 2000 I quickly realized that either that was a slow news day or that I was one lucky miracle survivor with an important story to share.

"Being at the right place at the right time and near the right equipment may have been a real life saver for a man working out at the YMCA,” the TV anchor began. Her co-anchor added, "Judd Rupp, not your typical heart attack victim - he's in his 30's and was at the gym.  Thanks to some people who knew exactly what to do, he's alive today."

Reporter Steve Litz brought the story to a close saying: "Two important notes to add- It was difficult identifying Judd Rupp as he was not wearing any kind of I.D.  Everything worked in Rupp's favor at the YMCA because so many know CPR there.  Another note, Juddson Rupp is an employee here at WSOC-TV.  We all wish him well in his recovery."

After getting choked up watching news clips like the one above a decade ago, I knew that internally and externally my life had changed.  I could no longer be a just a private citizen.   I had to share my story publicly for several reasons.  I now strongly believe that being and advocate and sharing your story is an important duty as a survivor.

The American Heart Association approached me to ask if they could use my story for the upcoming Heart Ball.  The Marketing Director told me that sharing my story could help save hundreds, if not thousands of lives through the years.  Then the publicity became a 'no-brainer' for me.  Why wouldn't I help save others by informing people to learn CPR or by encouraging them to purchase AED's and stop cardiovascular disease with added research and funding?

After the initial Heart Ball work in 2001, I was asked to be in a Public Service Announcement (PSA) that ran on Charlotte TV stations and throughout the Carolinas in a commercial also featuring my wife and two children urging people to 'Learn CPR...it can save lives!'  I became the poster boy for the American Heart Association, as my wife had joked.  She also knew that I was honored to do this and practically anything to help AHA grow its cause...and be the cure.

My volunteer time and work became even more empowering after meeting Betsy Vetter in 2004.  She asked me to join You’re the Cure, and become an advocate for AHA.  My initial role had me traveling to Washington, DC and visiting with Federal Legislators on Capitol Hill.  I am proud to say that I have not missed an AHA Federal Lobby Day since.

Since then I have held multiple roles including communications/media chair for the NC AHA Advocacy Coordinating Committee and co-chair of the Smoke-free Mecklenburg Advocacy Committee. I have also been active with Emergency Cardiovascular Care and the Heart Ball, and attended numerous state lobby days at the General Assembly in Raleigh where I share my personal experience with state lawmakers to help them better understand the importance of supporting strong public health policies.

Speaking with countless legislators and their staff to put a face on heart disease, and fight for so many who are not with us anymore is the most empowering reason I do this.  

*On December 14, 2013 Juddson was the recipient of the 2013 Dr. Robert Blackburn Award for Advocacy Excellence which honored all of his advocacy work at the American Heart Association.

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Heart of a Friend

At our mid-December Advocacy Committee meeting, I got to do one of the best things about being a volunteer with the American Heart Association Advocacy Committee.  I was privileged to present the AHA "Heart of a Friend" Award to North Carolina State Representative Jim Fulghum.  Dr. Fulghum is a freshman legislator from Wake County and although he is new to the legislative process, he has become a strong advocate for a variety of public health issues and has been a real leader for issues that are important to the American Heart Association.

Dr. Fulghum was the lead sponsor on the House Legislation that required pulse oximetry screening for all newborns in North Carolina. This law requires that babies be screened and is the best way to determine if a newborn has a critical congenital heart defect.  If discovered early, these babies can get the proper medical care before they leave the hospital.  As hard as it is to believe, there was opposition to this bill and I credit Dr. Fulghum and his Senate colleague Andrew Brock for their courage in standing up to the opponents and doing what is best for North Carolina's babies.

In December, we also recognized Dr. Fulghum for his sponsorship of the legislation to designate primary stroke centers, so patients and EMS will know the best place to take someone who is suffering a stroke.  This is a major step forward in improving our stroke systems of care.

And then finally, and my personal favorite, we recognized Dr. Fulghum for his leadership in taking a bad bill being pushed by the tobacco industry to exempt e-cigarettes from the state's tobacco and smoke-free laws and regulations and turn it in to a good bill that made North Carolina one of a handful of states prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

Dr. Fulghum is truly a FRIEND to the American Heart Association and we all look forward to working with him on important health issues for years to come!

 

**Many thanks to Peg O’Connell for writing this post!  Peg is an active You’re the Cure member and serves on our Advocacy Coordinating Committee.**

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Welcome, Kim!

The Mid-Atlantic Government Relations team is pleased to announce that the American Heart Association Grassroots’ staff is growing.  Please join us in welcoming to our team, Kim Chidester, Director of Grassroots and Local Advocacy.  Kim will be focusing on North and South Carolina and is based out of our office in Charlotte.  Kim’s first day was January 13th and we are excited to have her on board.   Read this greeting from Kim and then comment below to welcome her to the American Heart Association and You’re the Cure!

 

Greetings from the Queen City!

I am beyond excited to join the AHA Grassroots and Advocacy family of North and South Carolina.  Before we work together, I will fill you in a little bit on who I am.  I was born and raised in Charlotte (I’m told I’m 1 of 4 natives!) and I am the third of four kids.  I graduated from UNC-Charlotte with a major in Business Management, and I am very much a huge “Niner Nation” football fan.  I have a Shih Tzu I adore, and in my free time (when I have it) I am an incredibly passionate and devoted Carolina Panthers fan (I am always happy to talk football any day of the week!), I love to run and play golf, and travel to the mountains of NC.  The wineries aren’t too bad to visit either!

I am most excited to be joining this team because I feel like our priorities really make a difference in the lives of people everywhere.  Throughout my professional career, my main objective has been to serve and to work for my volunteers and our community in the ways that will most make the largest, most positive impact - and the greatest part of coming to AHA is that we do this every day.  I know that in 2014 and beyond we will continue to make a deep imprint with the AHA policies and programs in the communities where we work, and I’m really looking forward to meeting and working with each and every one of you.   

With Heart,

Kim

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