American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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Chloe Sumrall Saves a Life

When Chloe Sumrall entered a restaurant last March, the senior high school student was looking forward to enjoying a celebratory lunch after a long season as president of the Sub-Debutante committee.

Chloe heard a scream of terror from across the restaurant and responded immediately.  Seeing a man's body laid out on the floor, apparently non-responsive, Chloe said firmly to those attempting to help, “I am CPR certified, are you?”  When no one responded, she hurried to begin hands-on chest compressions.  For the next several minutes, Chloe and her mother worked to resuscitate the stranger.

A doctor who was also patronizing the restaurant told Chloe that she could stop, that there was no chance of this man's survival.  While family members and onlookers huddled in prayer, Chloe continued performing CPR until the paramedics arrived.  Even then, things looked grim. 

Compelled to know whether the man had survived, Chloe and her parents went to find his family at the hospital.  This complete stranger to Chloe had suffered Sudden Cardiac Death, a condition that in Mississippi has less than a 2% chance of survival.  Because of Chloe’s immediate action, this man joined the 2% of survivors that day! 

Today, Chloe is a freshman at the University of Mississippi and the survivor is enjoying life with his family.

To find out more about local area CPR classes, visit

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Cities Around Texas Proclaim April 2nd National Walking Day

City Councils around Texas, including Fort Worth & Austin, recently proclaimed April 2nd as National Walking Day. On this day, Americans are encouraged to lace up their sneakers and take at least 30 minutes out of their day to get up and walk.

 It's a great way to raise awareness of the importance of physical activity and to get your family, friends and co-workers started on a healthier way of life.

 More information on National Walking Day is available at:

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Congressman Marc Veasey Encourages Constituents to Get Healthy at AHA Event!

Congressman Marc Veasey recently attended an AHA luncheon in Arlington to promote Check.Change.Control and encourage his constituents to not only know their blood pressure reading, but control it.

 Why? High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects about 78 million Americans. It increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, and it can cause permanent damage to the heart before you even notice any symptoms.

 It’s particularly prevalent among African-Americans, who are 33 percent more likely to die from heart disease and stroke than other races. Yet despite how widespread it is and damaging it can be, high blood pressure is still unknown, misunderstood or ignored by many people.

 That’s why the American Heart Association offers Check. Change. Control. The program began in 2013 and is uniquely tailored for communities around the country to help African-Americans monitor their blood pressure.

 Learn more at:

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Mother, Daughter Pair Advocate for Heart

Suzie Chase Brown and Maggie Brown are two heart survivors who are passionate about advocating for change with the American Heart Association. 

Both born with Congenital Heart Defects they have told their compelling story to decision makers drafting rules for a bill that will improve how congenital heart defects are detected in newborns. 

They have attended state and federal Lobby Days, participated in the Survivor Fashion Show, spoken at the Go Red for Women Summit and helped raise money through the Heart Walks. Most recently, their testimony helped move lifesaving pulse-oximetry screening forward in Texas.

“The American Heart Association has provided so many volunteer opportunities for my family!” said Suzie. “My daughter started participating in the Heart Walk when she was in a stroller.  My mom spoke on behalf of the AHA in a public service announcement. 

My favorite volunteer event took place last year in Washington, D.C. when my 10 year old son, 5 year old daughter and I were asked to lobby members of Congress on behalf of the AHA.  We were given all the information we needed to ask for NIH funding and support for hypertension awareness programs.  We are the examples of how the American Heart Association can directly affect lives!”

May 2014 will mark 40 years since Suzie Chase Brown had open heart surgery at the School of Medicine at the University of Alabama, Birmingham by the legendary Cardiologist, Dr. John Kirklin.  Suzie was born with an atrial septal defect and mitral valve cleft, which were only discovered because her parents noted that Suzie wasn’t growing at the same rate as other children on the playground.  At the age of 4 1/2, Suzie’s congenital heart defects were considered a ‘fluke’ but her surgery was considered a success.

Thanks to advances in medicine, when Suzie’s daughter, Maggie, was born on October 1st, 2008, a pediatric cardiologist in Austin, Texas walked into the recovery room and told Suzie that her daughter had identical congenital heart defects, and asked who else in the family had heart disease. 

While the same two defects were not prevalent, Suzie discovered that her mom had been managing hypertension for 30 years, Suzie’s maternal grandmother, who was 100 years old at the time, had congestive heart failure, Suzie’s cousin was being treated for heart disease and her paternal grandmother had died in her mid-80’s following a massive stroke.  All of the women (4 generations) in Suzie and Maggie’s family have or had some form of heart disease!

April 21, 2014 will mark 4 years since Maggie had her successful open heart surgery by Dr. Charles Fraser at Texas Children’s Hospital.  Suzie, Maggie and Tiger (Maggie’s doting brother) consider it a personal mission to spread the word about

1. The need for all people to have a baseline cardiac check
2. Take care of their hearts through lifestyle and diet changes and
3. Raise awareness (and money) to support cardiac programs at schools and in communities so we can all live longer and healthier lives!

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Weatherford Goes Smoke-Free

The City of Weatherford (26K pop) adopted a smoke-free ordinance by a vote of 3-2 that will take effect mid-April.  The ordinance prohibits smoking in all restaurants, and bars within restaurants.  This is the 35th Texas city to go smoke-free!

Thanks to all of the YTC advocates for their support on this issue!  

We want to hear from you:  Would you like your city to go smoke-free?  Tell us your story in the comments below.

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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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Cities Across Texas Go Red!

Last week over 10 Texas cities officially proclaimed a day in February as “National Wear Red” in support of heart health and awareness.  Volunteers and staff led efforts from Denton to Harlingen and Lubbock to Waco.

We appreciate the support received by the elected officials and community members in these cities.  If you would like more information on how to get involved in your city email


National Wear Red Day on Feb. 7, 2014, marked our 11-year anniversary. And looking back on all we’ve accomplished, we’ve really made tremendous strides. They include:

•21 percent fewer women dying from heart disease
•23 percent more women aware that it’s their No. 1 health threat
•Publishing of gender-specific results, established differences in symptoms and responses to medications, and women-specific guidelines for prevention and treatment
•Legislation to help end gender disparities

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Learn & Share Your Post-Stroke Tips

After a stroke, even the simplest tasks can be very challenging.  Survivors often face limb weakness, numbness or paralysis, communication challenges, and difficulty with their vision.  However, we know stroke survivors and caregivers across the country are persevering and discovering new, creative ways to carry out the daily tasks they need to.  Through their recovery, they find a 'new normal' and we want to help share these helpful tips far and wide. 

That's why the American Stroke Association created a volunteer-powered library- Tips for Daily Living- to gather ideas from stroke survivors, caregivers and healthcare professionals who’ve created or discovered adaptive and often innovative ways to get things done!  For example, do you have to put up a ponytail with one hand?  Watch Karen’s video!

(Please visit the site to view this video)

Help us grow the library!  Do you have something to share that could help stroke survivors?  Share your tips by completing the online submission form at  You’ll get a FREE AHA/ASA recipe book and Stroke Solidarity String for participating!

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North Texas Cities Consider Going Smoke-Free

Two cities in North Texas have recently expressed interest in passing smoking ordinances to cover more public places.  Irving and Grand Prairie have both held public hearings on this issue and are welcoming input from residents on this issue.

If you are in the area and would like to get involved please contact  We need to demonstrate the widespread support for strong smoke-free laws and City Council members need to hear from you!

The American Heart Association supports comprehensive smoke-free laws that protect all workers, residents, and visitors from secondhand smoke.  We believe everyone deserves the right to breath smoke-free air and that nobody should be forced to choose between their health and a paycheck. 

Things could move fast in the New Year so keep an eye out for action alerts and let us know if you would like to get more information.

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Understanding the Guidelines

You may have recently heard that the American Heart Association recently released new guidelines on Heart Disease and Stroke prevention and treatment.  The guidelines (Lifestyle, Obesity, Cholesterol, and Risk Assessment) will impact millions of Americans and help them live healthier lives free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.  


We want to make it easy for you to understand these guidelines, and we have a lot of resources to help explain them so you can be more informed. 


First, please see this link to Understanding the Guidelines.  This is a taped conversation our CEO Nancy Brown had with Dr. Sid Smith, Chair of the Guideline Committee; and Dr. Mariell Jessup, President of American Heart Association.  The video is about 25 minutes, and offers an inside look on how and why we published the guidelines, and how they’ll impact patients. 


Next, is a Video FAQ featuring our past president Dr. Gordon Tomaselli.  Gordon does an excellent job breaking down some of the most common questions we’ve received about the guidelines.  This video lasts about eight minutes.


Finally, Nancy Brown wrote a blog post on the Huffington Post separating the myths from truth in the media coverage regarding these new guidelines. 


These guidelines are an excellent example of our ability to save and improve lives in communities across the country.  Please let us know what you think of them!

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