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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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Study: Increasing number of U.S. adults living with congenital heart defects

According to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, more adults are living with congenital heart defects in the United States, creating the need for more health services and tracking systems to collect data across all ages, not just at birth. 


A new study estimates that about 2.4 million people – 1.4 million adults and 1 million children – were living with these medical conditions in the United States in the year 2010.  Nearly 300,000 of them had severe heart defects.  Compared with the estimates for the year 2000, these figures represent a 40 percent increase in the total number of people living with congenital heart defects in the United States and a 63 percent increase among adults. 

Click here to read more!

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Share Your Story: Shelley Wyant

Shelley Wyant - Michigan

May 8, 2013 started out like any other day.  I got up, felt fine, went to work and spent my lunch hour at the mall shopping with a friend.  I had a 1 p.m. meeting with a colleague and that's where it happened; I experienced sudden cardiac arrest.  I don't remember it happening, but I'm told I grabbed my head and then collapsed.  Fortunately for me, my colleague knew CPR.  He started chest compressions and shouted for someone to call 911.  My place of employment was equipped with AEDs and employees had been trained in how to use them.  I was shocked twice before the paramedics arrived.  I was taken to the hospital and was in a coma for a few days.  The doctor had no idea what caused my sudden cardiac arrest because I had no symptoms and no warning signs.  I was healthy and exercised regularly. I didn't have any blockages, didn't have high cholesterol, didn't smoke,  and didn't have any diagnosed heart disease and no family history of heart disease.  My family had no idea if I would come out of the coma, and if I did, if I would have any brain daage.  I was in the right place at the right time.  The combination of CPR and the use of an AED saved my life.  Sudden cardiac arrest is just that -- sudden -- so it is vitally important to be prepared by knowing CPR and having AEDs in public facilities and people trained to use the.  So learn CPR, even Hands-Only CPR.  You will never regret knowing how to save a life!

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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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Join us for a special event this month!

Please join us this month for our first ever You're the Cure Summit in Michigan!  We’re going to be kicking off another exciting year of advocacy and this event is a great way to make sure you’re ready for our next campaigns.  If you make it, please register using the link below.  Here are the details:

Michigan You're the Cure Summit

Date:   Saturday, June 25th, 2016

Time:  10:00 am — 2:00 pm

Location: East Lansing Hannah Community Center - Executive Conference Room - 819 Abbot Road, East Lansing, MI 48823

Lunch: Provided!

Atmosphere: Fun and casual!

Please visit: www.surveymonkey.com/r/QCP2HBV to register

This exclusive event will give you the opportunity to network with other advocates, survivors, and volunteers from across the state, get the inside scoop on our local and federal legislative efforts, allow us to share our mission and goals with you, learn to tell your story in a quick and impactful way and help you understand your role in the legislative process. 

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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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House and Senate Committees take up CPR in Schools legislation

On April 28th, the House Education Committee heard testimony from a number of AHA advocates in support of HB 5160, introduced by Representative Thomas Hooker, that would ensure that all students in Michigan are trained in Hands-Only CPR before they graduate from high school. Representative Hooker testified that if all Michigan high school students learn basic CPR prior to graduation Michigan will gain an additional 100,000 CPR-trained lifesavers each year. Furthermore, four out of five cardiac arrests occur at home, so these students will most likely be saving the lives of their family members. Hands-Only CPR training can take as little as 30 minutes and can be easily incorporated into existing health curriculums. 

Parents shared heartbreaking stories of losing their children to cardiac arrest including Jocelyn Leonard, Randy Gillary and Kelly Warren, have chosen to become champions for change so that other parents don't lose their children.  Members of the EMS community: Jason Trojan and Dennis McMahon, testified on the importance of learning Hands-Only CPR due to the emergent time constraints.  There is a 10% reduction in brain function for every minute that a person is down from a cardiac arrest so the sooner CPR is administered the better the outcome for the patient. 

On May 3rd, the Senate Education Committee took up the CPR in Schools issue and, after hearing testimony from State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker and many of the advocates who spoke at the House hearing, voted 5-0 in favor of the bill!  We expect the House Education Committee to hold a vote in the near future.

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Ann Arbor proposes a Tobacco 21 ordinance

A potential ordinance change in Ann Arbor could make it harder for young people to buy cigarettes and other tobacco products.  Ann Arbor City Council Member Julie Grand is proposing to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products in the city from 18 to 21.

While controversy on the proposal is expected, Grand is hopeful that if Ann Arbor takes the first step, then other municipalities in Washtenaw County, or the County as a whole, might follow and make a difference in reducing smoking rates and related health problems. Read Article

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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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Share Your Story: Angela Kooi

Angela Kooi Michigan

On February 27, 2014, I was admitted to Borgess Hospital after being in and out of other hospitals for several weeks with heart-related symptoms (heart racing, dizzy spells, blurred vision, etc).  Several tests were run and despite a few elevated EKGs and occasions of catching a heart rate spike on the monitor, I was given the all clear and was ready to be sent back home. But, I know my body and knew this was not normal by any means. Thankfully the staff at Borgess hospital listened as I expressed my concerns, and finally, I was admitted.  Within 10 minutes of being admitted into my room and sending my family home I fainted.  My heart completely stopped - flat lined.  I woke to about 30 people in my room working frantically on me. They informed me that they thought they were going to have to “declare” me … what declare me dead?  As I spent the night in ICU I thought a lot.  I thought what if I hadn’t been persistent in explaining something wasn’t right and the need to stay that night in the hospital. What if I actually died? What would my husband and kids have done? What could I have done to avoid this?  The next morning I woke up to hear my husband and dad discussing options with the cardiologist.  The next thing I knew I was a 36-year-old with a pacemaker. I am alive, I am thankful and I am more knowledgeable. 

What did I learn?

Recognize the Symptoms. Get checked.  I had symptoms for several weeks and could have been more persistent with my doctor or gone directly to ER.  At times I made excuses for symptoms instead of addressing them.  I am young; there was no way I had heart issues, right? Wrong!  Symptoms of potential heart related issues include: heart palpitations, irregular or rapid heartbeats, discomfort in chest area, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea or light headedness.  Some of the symptoms may be vague.  Address symptoms with a doctor. It is common -- and often fatal -- to wait too long before getting help

Monitor/Document. Know your Body.  When going to the doctor I couldn’t always remember the symptoms from the days prior or if there was something that triggered my heart palpitations.  Having a log of my blood pressure/heart rate, along with the activity during those times and how I felt during those times was helpful when talking to doctors.  Telling the doctors that I know my body and that what I was going through was not right was critical in getting the help needed.

Find an outlet/make time for yourself.  Managing multiple priorities such as work, kids and home can undoubtedly be stressful.  I tried all the standard stress-relieving activities such as deep breathing, walking and yoga, but none of these seemed to work for me.  Find what works for you or brings you peace.  I learned that my “me” time or outlet was crafting, which gives me a sense of peace.

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