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Study: New concerns raised over teen e-cigarette use

As e-cigarette use among teens rapidly increases, a national health report suggests adolescents who would not have otherwise used tobacco products are now turning to electronic smoking devices.

The report, released Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics, is based on a study that found overall smoking prevalence among youth in Southern California declined, but the combined e-cigarette or cigarette use was substantially greater than before e-cigarettes became available.

The conclusion raises the question of whether e-cigarettes are merely substituting for cigarettes or being used by teens who wouldn’t otherwise be smoking.

Read more on USAToday.com.

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Find the Heart Walk Near You

The Heart Walk is the American Heart Association’s premier community event, helping to save lives from heart disease and stroke. More than 300 walks across America raise funds to support valuable health research, education and advocacy programs of the American Heart Association in every state. Our You’re the Cure advocacy movement – and our public policy successes along the way – are all made possible by the funds raised by the Heart Walk. Whether it’s CPR laws passed to train the next generation of lifesavers or policy to regulate tobacco products and prevent youth smoking,  together we are building a world free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The Heart Walk is truly a community event, celebrating survivors, living healthy, and being physically active. We hope you’ll join us and visit the site today. If there is not a walk listed in your area soon,  it may be coming in the spring season or you can join a virtual event. And don’t forget to connect with your local advocacy staff and ask about your local Heart Walk day-of You’re the Cure plans - they may need your help spreading the word. Thanks for all you do, and happy Heart Walk season.

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Keep Dad Healthy This Father's Day

Visiting your physician for an annual checkup is a simple – and essential – step to keeping your heart healthy and yourself healthy.

Why, then, do some men refuse to go to the doctor regularly? Here are 10 reasons why many men skip this important appointment. (And, more importantly, 10 ways to counter those reasons and get yourself or a person you care about to see a doctor.)

  1. "I don’t have a doctor."

    Step one toward staying healthy is finding a doctor you trust.  But you’ll never know if you trust one unless you try. Check your insurance company or local listings for doctors in your area. Call their offices and ask questions, or check online. It’s also a good idea to check with friends and family for recommended doctors.

  2. "I don’t have insurance."

    Everybody should have insurance under the Affordable Care Act. If you still don't, here's all the information you need to get signed up in our Consumer Health Care section.

  3. "There’s probably nothing wrong."

    You may be right but - you’re not a doctor. That’s why you need one, to be sure. Some serious diseases don’t have symptoms. High blood pressure is one, and it can cause heart attack and stroke. (That’s why they call it “the silent killer.”)  High cholesterol is another often symptomless condition. Ditto diabetes. Finding a health problem early can make a huge difference in the quality and length of your life.

  4. "I don’t have time."

    There are about 8,766 hours in a year, and you want to save … two. Those two hours could save your life if you really DO need a doctor. If you want to spend more time with your family, these two hours aren’t the ones to lose. Try some of these tips to find time for the whole family to get moving.

  5. "I don’t want to spend the money."

    It makes more sense to spend a little and save a lot than to save a little and spend a lot. If you think spending time with a doctor is expensive, try spending time in a hospital.

  6. "Doctors don’t DO anything."

    When you see a barber, you get a haircut. When you see the dentist, your teeth get cleaned. But when you get a checkup, the doctor just gives you tests. It may seem like you don’t get anything, but you do. You get news and knowledge that can bring better health, if you act on it.

  7. "I don’t want to hear what I might be told."

    Maybe you smoke, drink too much, have put on weight. Even so, your doctor’s there to help you. You can deny your reality, but you can’t deny the consequences. So be smart: Listen to someone who’ll tell you truths you need to hear. Be coachable.

  8. "I’ve got probe-a-phobia."

    You don’t need a prostate cancer exam until you’re 50. Even then, remember that your chances of survival are much better if it’s caught early. So it’s worth the exam. But it’s only one small portion of a physical. Don’t let one test stop you from getting all the benefits of an annual physical.

  9. "I’d rather tough it out."

    If pro athletes can play hurt and sacrifice themselves for the team, you ought to be able to suck it up, right? Wrong! The Game of Life is about staying healthy for a long time – a lifetime.

  10. "My significant other has been nagging me to get a checkup."

    OK, so you don’t want to give in. But isn’t it POSSIBLE you could be wrong? Give in on this one. See the doctor.

When it comes down to it, there are no good reasons not to see the doctor, only excuses. Don’t wait. Schedule your annual physical today.

Read the original article on heart.org.

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Help Protect PE for Kids Like Me!

Guest post from Reagan Spomer, 6th grader Alliance for a Healthier Generation Youth Advisory Board Member & You’re the Cure Advocate

I have two words for you… scooter hockey.  Sounds fun, doesn’t it?  That’s because it is!  Scooter hockey, along with cage ball and 3-way soccer are some of my favorite activities in gym class, which I have a few times a week.

I’m glad I have physical education for a number of reasons.  It keeps me active and teaches me to try new things.  It helps me focus on my school work.  It relieves my stress.  And most of all, it makes me feel great! 

But I know a lot of schools don’t have regular PE like my schools does.  That means a lot of kids are missing out on the benefits of being active during the school day.  I think this needs to change.   

Will you help?  As part of the nationwide campaign to protect PE in schools, Voices for Healthy Kids has created a photo petition map to show how many people across the country love PE like I do.  As people share their pictures, the map will change colors.  I’ve added my “I heart PE” photo for South Dakota.  Will you do the same for your state?  It’s really easy:

  1. Print an “I heart PE” sign (or make your own!)
  2. Take a picture of yourself holding the sign.
  3. Click on your state to share your photo.

Thanks for helping to protect PE for kids like me!
-Reagan

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Will you help influence scientific research?

We need to hear from consumers like you as the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) partner together on the future of research. Your experience could lead to the next research study to improve heart disease and stroke treatment.

As an advocate we’ve asked you to speak out for increased funding for medical research and you’ve answered by contacting lawmakers and sharing your personal stories as survivors, caregivers, and loved ones touched by heart and stroke disease. Now we invite you to share your experience, the decisions made in determining your or your loved one’s treatment plans and the factors that influenced those decisions. If we better understand your experience it can help guide the research that will lead to better care tailored to the specific needs of patients.

If you’ve had a heart attack, suffered a stroke, or you know a loved one who has, your unique understanding could help guide research to solve un-met care challenges faced by individuals like you and improve heart and stroke treatment.

Here are the details:

  • We are focused on un-met challenges faced by patients and caregivers like you. 
  • To join this challenge, you’ll be asked to provide a written submission of your first-hand experience after a heart disease or stroke event.
  • The story and description of the concerns you faced and the decisions you made should be personal and not a general case.
  • A team of scientific professionals and patient representatives with expertise in heart disease and stroke will review your story. Learning more about issues and concerns important to your decision-making can help them improve experiences and outcomes for patients in the future.
  • If your submission is chosen, you could win $1,000 and possibly help shape the future of cardiovascular research.
  • All submissions must be received by June 8, 2016.

Please take this important challenge and share your insights. Your story matters. Take the challenge today!

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Thank Gov. Deal for Signing the Stroke Bill Into Law

Thanks to the support of advocates across Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal signed our stroke bill, House Bill 853, into law on April 28!

Click here to thank the governor for supporting better care for stroke patients.

By signing the stroke bill into law, Georgia will update its stroke legislation passed in 2008 to reflect advances in stroke treatment and therapy. This will help stroke patients receive the right care at the right time. If you or a loved one has suffered from a stroke, you know how important proper immediate medical attention is to survival and recovery.

Please join us in thanking Gov. Deal today

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Kimberly Goodloe, Atlanta

Our 2015-16 Georgia Advocacy Committee is composed of 12 individuals from across the state with different occupations, who have a great interest in advocating for policy change for heart-health issues. Throughout the year, we will introduce some of our members. Today, we'd like you to meet long time volunteer, Kimberly Goodloe of Atlanta.

Occupation: American Heart Association Advocate Hero and Volunteer

How long have you been a volunteer with the AHA and in what capacity? Since, May 2010.

[Volunteer Advocacy Resume]

May 2010:  American Heart Association ( volunteer)

November 2011:  Go  Red For Women Passion Committee Member

2013:  You’re The Cure Advocate

October 2013 :  Georgia Advocacy Subcommittee Member

January 2014 & 2015 :  ML KING Celebration/United Ebony Society; Health Fair Coordinator  :  Lawrenceville, Georgia

July  2015:  National Volunteer Ambassador; American Heart Association’s Heart Valve Disease Program

July 2015: Community Champion:  American Heart Association Heart Walk  Committee

July 2015:  Vice Chair:  Georgia Advocacy Subcommittee Member

Who or what inspires you to help and volunteer your time to the work of the American Heart Association?  I love to encourage heart/stroke patients and their caregivers by sharing my story of survival  from three  surgeries because so many people are suffering in silence.

What heart healthy issue is most important to you and why?  Staying Active: it’s good for my heart.

What are two ways you keep yourself healthy?  Making healthy food choices & exercising

How is your community healthy that makes you proud?  Smoke free air,  beautiful community parks, many sidewalks, and bike lanes

How do you stay updated on current public policies in your state?  By responding to the You’re The Cure Alerts  & reading valuable information posted on the You’re The Cure & American Herat Association website(s)

If you could help advocate for one change in your state, what would it be and why?   Advocate for the uninsured; because so many people are in need of affordable  healthcare in our state.

Do you have a favorite American Heart Association/American Stroke Association event you annually attend?  What is your motivation to participate?  I love attending the annual Go Red For Women Luncheon , Go Red Lobby Day at the Georgia State Capitol and Metro Atlanta  Heart Walk. During Lobby Day, I am given the opportunity to share my journey and health care topics with state lawmakers. At the luncheon, I enjoy the great food, fun and fellowship with other volunteers, survivors and staff.  I enjoy the Heart Walk because I love raising funds to support medical research and walk in honor of every family affected by heart disease and stroke.

Have you attended a state or federal lobby day on behalf of the AHA?  If so, please briefly explain your experience. Yes, I traveled to Washington D.C. in April 2013.  I attended the Medical Rally and American Heart Association You’re The Cure Lobby Day.  It was such a pleasure to attend the rally and meet with the various state lawmakers. Sharing my heart journey and using my voice to advocate for the uninsured patients throughout the state of Georgia brings me great satisfaction.

What have you learned in your time being a You’re the Cure advocate?  It’s important ( as an heart disease survivor) to use my voice, gift of service to help empower the community.

Why would you tell a friend or family member to join You’re the Cure?  To learn more about public policy and encourage them to become educated in all the wonderful things the American Heart Association is involved in for healthy changes not only in Georgia, but across the nation.

Tell us one unique thing about yourself.  Despite my daily health obstacles,  I keep moving forward helping the community live a happier, healthier, lifestyle.

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Georgia Legislative Session Wrap-Up

The 2016 Legislative Session has ended and we are happy to report that we finished strong! We were able to pass legislation that will create a new level of Comprehensive Stroke Hospital Designation to protect and serve our citizens who suffer a stroke. We received full funds from the Tobacco Settlement and Medicaid was also fully funded.

Lawmakers heard the voice of our You’re the Cure network loud and clear! We could not have done our job without the efforts of all our volunteers.

Please click here to see a full session wrap up report. If you have any questions, feel free to email gsa.advocacy@heart.org with any questions.  Be sure to stay up to date with Georgia advocacy efforts on our You're the Cure Georgia Facebook page, as well as, on our Twitter page @YouretheCureGA.

Thank you for your time and support. We hope you’ll continue to join us as we advocate for policies that build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

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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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Update from the Georgia State Capitol

Good news from the State Capitol! Our top priority – Stroke Designation – has passed the House and is expected to make its first stop in the Senate very soon.

Urge the Senate Health and Human Services Committee to vote YES on improving stroke care in Georgia!

When it comes to stroke, time loss is brain loss. To help stroke patients receive the right care at the right time, the Georgia Legislature passed legislation in 2008 to create facility designations for Primary and Remote Stroke Ready facilities.

Now, it’s time to update the policy to reflect advances in stroke treatment and therapy. Specifically, we’re advocating for the addition of a third designation: Comprehensive Stroke Centers.

Join us in our efforts to help more stroke patients receive the proper care. Click here to send your message now!

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