American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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Share Your Story-Derek Means

Derek Means Iowa

Derek Means is a typical 12 year old boy who enjoys playing basketball and video games.  You would never know that he was born with a congenital heart defect and has undergone 3 lifesaving surgeries, with another in his future.  Derek is thankful to the American Heart Association and his wonderful team of doctors and nurses for saving his life and giving him the opportunity to raise awareness as this year’s Central Iowa Heart Walk Ambassador.  This year’s Central Iowa Heart Walk will be held on Saturday, April 16, 2016.  Click Here to join Derek and so many others in their fight against heart disease 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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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 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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Share Your Story: John Logsdon

John Logsdon Iowa

John Logsdon of Colo, IA is 69 years old.  Last August, he had a STEMI (myocardial infarction or widow maker) heart attack. He had been driving to a local machine shop to deliver materials.  When he got to the shop and started unloading his truck, he began sweating profusely and having a hard time breathing. 

Prior to this, he had no signs of cardiac problems.  In fact, he had just been to the Iowa Heart Center at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines a month prior and had a good check-up.

When he started experiencing symptoms, the men at the machine shop called 911.  Colo Fire and Rescue squad was dispatched and got to John in about 1 minute. The EMT’s loaded John into the ambulance and started care, which consisted of CPR, use of the defibrillator and obtaining a 12-Lead ECG-equipment to relay critical heart readings to the nearest hospital able to handle cardiac patients. 

Colo Fire and Rescue transported John to Story County Regional Medical Center in Nevada, IA, arriving about 10 minutes later. Once there and using the data sent to the hospital from the ambulance, doctors decided he needed to be immediately air lifted to Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines that would be able to treat his STEMI heart attack.

At Mercy, Dr. Iannone placed 2 stents in the coronary arteries of John’s heart. Today, John is doing very well, and he credits the speed and care of the Colo Fire and Rescue EMTs and the teams at Story County Regional Medical Center and Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines for saving his life.  John’s story is why state-funding for Mission Lifeline is so important, because without the proper equipment and education, the system of care can’t work together seamlessly to provide live-saving care.


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Share Your Story-Iowa Legislative Breakfast

Legislative Breakfast Iowa

The American Heart Association held their first Legislative Breakfast of 2016 on January 13th focusing on the need for a state funded Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program. As a federally-funded program, SRTS provides the financial resources to repair sidewalks, hire crossing guards, and remove the barriers that discourage parents from allowing their students to walk to school. Because Iowa has received limited federal funds, the American Heart Association is encouraging the state legislature to invest $1.8 million to create a state-funded Safe Routes to School program.

Supporters and volunteers from across the state joined the American Heart Association at the Iowa State Capitol to talk with their lawmakers about why they support a state-funded SRTS program due to the health, safety and economic benefits it will provide for all Iowans, and especially children.


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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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Share Your Story: Tucker Crum

Tucker Crum Iowa

In January of 2015, legislation was passed that requires hospitals to screen newborns for congenital heart defects using pulse oximetry. Tucker is a little boy whose life was saved because of this testing, in fact, he was the first baby in Iowa to be diagnosed with a heart defect using this testing after this legislation passed! Here is Tucker’s story from his mom, Aly:

Tucker was born at Mercy Medical Center North Iowa. Excited family and friends, including his 2 year old sister Rylee, came to visit our healthy, 8 pound 2 ounce baby boy at the hospital each day. Our last night at the hospital Tucker went to the nursery where they did an oxygen saturation test using a pulse oximeter which raised serious concerns about his heart. Tucker was immediately taken to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit where he was diagnosed with Transposition of the Great Arteries, meaning the two main arteries of the heart were reversed. We were told that Tucker was the first baby in Iowa to be diagnosed with a heart defect using the pulse oximetry testing since legislation was passed to have the test done on every baby before they go home. Ironically, holes in Tucker’s heart were allowing the blood to mix and get limited oxygen keeping him alive. Tucker underwent an arterial switch procedure performed by an extremely talented cardiac surgeon by the name of Dr. Joseph Turek. That day was a long and emotional one as our son fought for his life. After several hours, Tucker came out of surgery and his medical team reported that the repair went very well.

Now, at 2 years old, Tucker is doing great! He is extremely active and on-the-go and just full of life. He continues to have great check-ups. We were so blessed that Tucker’s heart defect was caught so early by the pulse oximetry testing allowing for this wonderful outcome and ultimately saving our baby’s life. Tucker is not scheduled for any more surgeries.


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Save the Date - 2016 Legislative Breakfast!

Can you believe that 2015 is almost over? The new Legislative Session is quickly approaching and with that comes our annual breakfast! This year we have teamed up with the Healthier Iowa Coalition and will be focusing on our Safe Routes to School efforts. RSVP today!

Healthier Iowa Legislative Breakfast at the Capitol
Wednesday, January 13, 2016 from 7 - 9 AM (stop by anytime!)
Iowa State Capitol - Rotunda, 1007 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA

We'll be talking about the importance of Safe Routes to School and there will be activities for the kids, so feel free to bring the whole family!

Safe Routes to School creates safe and convenient opportunities for children to bike and walk to and from school, helping to reverse the alarming rise in childhood obesity. It will also promote academic performance and reduces healthcare costs in the state of Iowa.

We'd love to see you there! Use this opportunity to grab a free heart-healthy breakfast and spend 5 or 10 minutes introducing yourself to your lawmakers. It's the perfect time to let them know what's on your mind as they go to work for YOU.

Just click this link to RSVP today!

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Get Social With Your Members of Congress

Will you be on Facebook or Twitter today? Your Members of Congress and their staff will be, and it's a good place to reach them according to a report released in October by the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF).

The CMF report, #SocialCongress, says Congressional offices are listening to social media chatter and it takes relatively few posts or comments to get their attention. That's good news for us!

So, how can you use the Facebook newsfeed or Twitter timeline to get the attention of lawmakers and help pass heart healthy policies?

  • Follow your members of Congress, as well as state and local elected officials on Twitter. ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ their pages on Facebook.
  • Tweet about our health policy issues, tagging the appropriate legislators by using the @ sign and their Twitter handle. For example: I’m from Pennsylvania, so I’d tag my U.S. Senators by including @SenBobCasey & @SenToomey in my tweet.
  • If they allow it, you can post about our issues directly on the Facebook pages of elected officials. Frequently, that feature is disabled but you are able to comment on their posts. According to #SocialCongress, Congressional offices typically monitor those comments for a limited period of time. Your best bet is to comment within the first 24 hours after a post.
  • Rally your friends and family members to tweet, post or comment about an issue on a single ‘day of action’. CMF’s survey data shows just 30 or fewer comments can be enough to make a legislative office pay attention.
  • Be sure to use the campaign hashtag if one has been created by your advocacy staff partners. The #hashtag allows all the relevant posts to be woven together to tell our story, and makes your post searchable by others interested in the issue.    

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Share Your Story - David Tucker

David Tucker Iowa

You’re the Cure Advocate Spotlight

Meet a Hero in our YTC community, David Tucker.

We want to share his accomplishments, passions, great work and a little personal information too. Continue reading to find out what makes David such an outstanding and inspirational advocate!

What brought you to be an advocate for the American Heart Association?

I was asked.

What issues or policies are you most passionate about and why?

Issues having to do with heart disease because it has been in my family for 3 or more generations. So far, though, I’m ok (my heart, that is).

What is your favorite advocacy memory or experience so far and what made it great?

Advocating for shared school facilities in Iowa. The legislation was passed and the Governor signed the bill. I’m proud to see our hard work payoff.

What is your favorite way to be active?

Signing petitions, writing letters and calling legislators.

What is your favorite fruit or vegetable?

Apples, pears, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus but not Kale.

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