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Funding Medicaid in Alabama

Recently, Alabama legislators passed a budget that does not fully fund the state's Medicaid program. In fact, it's $85 million less than the amount recommended by the commissioner!

The lack of proper funding would lead to hospitals closing and physicians leaving the state. This would restrict access to care for everyone, not just those enrolled in Medicaid.

Help us remind legislators about the importance of Medicaid to our state's health care delivery system and the overall economy. Let them know the impact Medicaid cuts will have on all residents across the state.

Take action here by clicking the link, and sending your voice of support to fully fund Medicaid to your Representative and Senator today!

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AHA President Says: The Science is Clear on Sodium Reduction

Check this out! In a new video, the President of the AHA, Dr. Mark Creager, explains that the science behind sodium reduction is clear. He says that robust evidence has linked excess sodium intake with high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. And, he points out that you can do something about it: join AHA’s efforts to demand change in the amounts of sodium in our food supply.

“Nearly 80 percent of the sodium we eat comes from processed, prepackaged, and restaurant foods” says AHA president Dr. Mark Creager. The video shows the 6 foods that contribute the most salt to the American diet: breads & rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soup, and sandwiches."

To see the video, head over to our Sodium Breakup blog!

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The healthy difference a month can make

March is Nutrition Month, and a perfect time to get more involved with the AHA’s ongoing efforts to promote science-based food and nutrition programs that help reduce cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Every day, we’re seeing new initiatives: to make fruits and vegetables more affordable; to reduce the number of sugar-sweetened beverages that our kids are drinking; and of course, to ensure students are getting the healthiest school meals possible, all with the same goal: to help families across the country lead the healthiest lives they possibly can.

It’s also a great opportunity to lower your sodium intake. The average American consumes more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day – more than twice the AHA-recommended amount. Excessive sodium consumption has been shown to lead to elevated blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Visit www.heart.org/sodium for tips on to lower your intake and to get heart-healthy recipes.

However you choose to celebrate, Nutrition Month gives us all the chance to take control of our diets; to recommit to eating fresh, healthy foods; and to remember all month long that you’re the cure.

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Jacob Fannin, Troy

Guest Blogger: Jacob Fannin

I have been a diabetic for almost my entire life, but didn't know it. I was one of the "fortunate ones" who never showed any signs or symptoms other than the obvious weight problem that was staring me in the face. I conveniently ignored the weight problem and continued to mistreat my body for years and years, packing my blood stream daily with sugar and carbohydrates. After getting married in 2010, I was the heaviest I have ever been, weighing in at more than 300 pounds.

While in the process of getting life insurance on myself, I naturally had to adhere to the testing procedures. The results were a denial of coverage! I was shocked and confused. After further review of the paperwork, I realized the reason; type 2 diabetes and hypertension. My life forever changed in a good way. I started to learn what health mistakes I had been making over the years and what caused my condition. Since then, I have lost about 111 pounds, dropping from a 46 waist to a 36 waist. Living for my two-year-old daughter and wife are my reasons.

Regardless of your reasons, I can attest to the fact that you must take the opportunity you have now to change your life. Do the research, decrease your sugar intake, stop drinking soft drinks, get off the couch, be active, and make a positive life change now.

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Rethink Your Drink, Alabama

Sugars in your diet can occur naturally like in fruit or milk. But sugars also can be added in foods during preparation or processing and even at the table. The truth is, added sugar isn’t so sweet. In fact, it is linked to heart disease, tooth decay and other chronic conditions.

So...what can you do to reduce your intake of added sugars? One simple step is to rethink your drink. Sugary drinks such as regular soft drinks, sweet tea and sports drinks are the biggest source of added sugars in our diet. If you replace those beverages with water, 100% fruit juice or low-fat milk, you’ll be a little sweeter to your heart. For additional tips, visit heart.org.

With March being National Nutrition Month, it’s a great time to rethink your drink.

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Take the You're the Cure Advocate Survey

2015 was a great year for You're the Cure advocates and the many policy efforts that you work on. We have big plans for 2016, and we want to hear from you and what you want to see in the future for You're the Cure.

So take the survey now and let your voice be heard.

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Beverly Moore-Harton, Jasper

Guest Blogger: Beverly Moore-Harton

I’ve advocated and coordinated events and galas for eight years. Excited about promoting heart health for women can’t begin to express my feelings. Hard work, yes, but it generates such joy and compassion for educating women of this dreadful disease. God placed this endeavor on my mind, and impressed it in my heart to do. I accepted it, and He’s blessed my works! With each event that I do, medical professionals are on hand to screen guests' blood pressure and record their heart rates. With these preventative screenings, we have discovered women who didn’t know they had hypertension and were sent to ER immediately with their blood pressure at stroke level!

This work has had a great impact on my life, as well as, my family's lives. I’m so concerned about my diet and exercise that it is very passionate to me. I had a liver transplant in 2011. Afterwards, I gained more weight than ever before. Due to this major life change, I work very hard to combat weight gain due to medications that I will take for life.

My family and church family are very supportive. They follow me when I have speaking engagements and wear red proudly! Several years ago, my father had a massive heart attack and thankfully survived. A couple years ago, my brother had a massive heart attack and unfortunately died. When I “Go Red”, people rally behind me with great enthusiasm. Now what really excites me is that the Mayor and the City of Jasper and surrounding area of Walker County are participating in this worthy cause! 

I, along with Jasper and surrounding areas of Walker County are hosting a “Go Red” Gala Friday, Feb.12, 2016. There is a great buzz around town for this worthy cause. We are “going red” and loving it! When I speak about heart disease to coworkers, some are very interested, but others take it lightly. This is a serious matter - one of life or death, I tell them. Therefore, I give them the statistics and invite them to make a change for the better. “Life is Why!" After my plan of retirement, beginning in three years, I'd like to incorporate a chapter/foundation in Walker County and religiously work at raising awareness for women and all residents in Walker County, while raising funds to benefit all residents who needs the assistance financially. I’ve never been diagnosed with hypertension, and for that I’m thankful to God each day! However, I have several siblings who are managing their hypertension with medication, diet and exercise. It gives me great joy in educating, empowering and promoting this great cause, the 'Go Red For Women' campaign. 

Furthermore, my husband, daughters, and entire family are the 'wind beneath my wings!'

 

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Alabama Legislature is in Session

The state legislature convened at noon on Feb. 2 for the 2016 Alabama Regular Legislative Session.  

In an effort to improve the physical and financial health of Alabama, we’re advocating for a penny per ounce tax on sugary drinks. If passed, this tax is projected to raise $200 million – an ideal amount to maintain current Medicaid programs.

Sugary drinks, such as sports drinks and flavored water, are the number one source of added sugars in the American diet. Research shows that overconsumption of added sugars contribute to heart disease and other chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

So, how much added sugar should you consume? We recommend limiting added sugar to six teaspoons a day for women and nine teaspoons a day for men. For reference, one 12-ounce can of soda contains about eight teaspoons of added sugar. Astonishing, right?

The farther along we get into session, the more likely you’ll hear about our proposed sugary drink tax. We’re counting on you to speak up for improving the health of our fellow residents and our state budget. Stay tuned for future email updates!

If you’d like to listen to the legislature as the session goes on, visit http://www.legislature.state.al.us/aliswww/AudioVideo.aspx.

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Join us on National Wear Red Day, Friday, February 5

The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women are asking for your support by participating in National Wear Red Day® on Friday, February 5, 2016 and donating to help fund research during American Health Month.

Why Go Red? Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds.  Fortunately, we can change that because 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action. That’s why this year we are asking that you wear red on National Wear Red Day® and donate to Go Red For Woman. By doing so you help support educational programs to increase women’s awareness and critical research to discover scientific knowledge about cardiovascular health. 

And don’t forget to make your heart health a priority. Schedule your Well-Woman Visit, a prevention check-up to review a woman’s overall health so her doctor can measure blood pressure, check cholesterol and look for signs of heart disease, stroke and other illnesses. Then encourage others through your social channels to do the same.

We couldn’t make positive changes without the support and donations by individuals like you.

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American Heart Association Proposes Solution to Alabama's Money Woes

As the Alabama Legislature prepares to come back in session, money is still needed to properly run state government. While gambling has been at the forefront as a possible answer, Governor Bentley does not think it can solve the problem. In fact, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh recently said in news articles that he does not expect gambling to pass this year. You can read more about that on DecaturDaily.com.

It’s clear that lawmakers need to seek new solutions to make the state fully function. The American Heart Association believes a Sugar-Sweetened Beverage (SSB) Tax is the answer! We have been working tirelessly to propose a SSB tax to help fully fund Medicaid. This will be our top priority during the 2016 legislative session and we’ll keep you posted on the progress and how you can help.

Stay tuned!

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