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Local Schools Receive Life-Saving CPR Kits

Area school districts received a life-saving gift through a partnership of Great Plains Health and the American Heart Association.  The training kits were handed out to area school districts. North Platte Public Schools, North Platte Catholic Schools, Our Redeemer Lutheran School, Wallace, Sutherland, Hershey, Maxwell, Brady and Arnold public schools will have access to the training kits. The kits will allow students to learn hands-only CPR, which could help reduce deaths from the more than 326,000 cardiac arrests that occur outside the hospital setting annually. The kits contain a number of learning tools, including 10 Mini Anne Plus inflatable manikins, 10 kneeling mats, 10 practice-while-watching training DVDs, replacement airways and face masks among other items. A lesson plan and facilitator guide is also included in the kits.

NPPS will have two of the kits; one kit will be shared between NPCS and Our Redeemer; one will be housed at Brady and shared with Maxwell and Arnold; and the final kit will be shared between Hershey, Sutherland and Wallace.

For more on this story, CLICK HERE

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From the Front Lines: Legislative Update

LB  722, the Stroke System if Care Act, passed on Final Reading on Tuesday, April 12, and now on its way to the Governor's desk.  This is the final hurdle for the Stroke System of Care Act and the American Heart Association encourages all advocates to contact the Governor and ask for his support.  Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in Nebraska.  LB 722 establishes the beginning of statewide stroke system of care consisting of stroke hospital designation, EMS protocols, and a stroke task force to help treat stroke patients in a timely manner and to improve the overall outcomes of these patients. 

Encourage Governor Ricketts to sign the Stroke System of Care Act to ensure stroke patients get the care the needs to save lives and save long term care patient costs.  Take Action Now! 

A fragmented and disorganized delivery system can prohibit patients from receiving critical treatment .  The rapid identification, diagnosis, and treatment of stroke can save the lives of stroke patients and in some cases can reverse neurological damage such as paralysis and speech and language impairments, leaving stroke patients with few or no neurological deficits.  It can also save significant dollars by avoiding long-term care patient costs as the state of Nebraska pays millions in Medicaid costs every year in medical costs due to stroke.  This bill is close to becoming law because of all the great efforts by AHA volunteers and our coalition partners! 

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Get Up and Move During National Physical Activity Month

Its National Physical Activity month and because Americans are spending more time at work and sitting in front of a screen than ever before, we are at an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and other diseases. Being physically active is important to prevent heart disease and stroke, the nation’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers. Research has shown that every hour of regular exercise can add about two hours to life expectancy, even if you don’t start until midlife.  Plus, physical activity can relieve depression, improve your memory, lower your blood pressure and help prevent obesity.

During April, and all year long, we want people to lace up for their heart and get moving.  Whether it’s walking, running, biking, playing sports or a group class, the goal is for adults to get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity), while kids should get 60 minutes of physical activity a day. 

No Time to Exercise?  Try our Top Ten Tips to Get More!

You can even get heart-healthy benefits if you divide your time into two or three 10- to 15-minute segments a day. Here are some tips for getting active:

1. Get out the leash and walk your dog. It’s a great activity for both man and man’s best friend. Your heart — and your pooch — will thank you!

2. Mall walk. Are you sweating (or shivering) at the idea of walking outside? Take a brisk stroll around your local mall instead. Window shop, people watch and give your heart a workout in a climate-controlled environment.

3. Join a team.  Pick an activity you love and round up some friends. Team sports can be fun — and keep you motivated and accountable.

4. Take your child for a brisk walk. It’s an excellent way to get some one-on-one time (or one-on-three, depending on the size of your brood.) Spice up your routine by exploring new neighborhoods or turning your walk into a scavenger hunt.

5. Walk and talk. Even if you’re glued to your phone for work calls, you don’t have to be glued to your seat. Make it a habit to talk and walk. Some workplaces have walking paths to make it even easier to burn while you earn.

6. Tune into fitness during TV time.  Reject your inner couch potato. Walk, jog in place or use the treadmill at the gym while you watch your favorite 30-minute show.

7. Park and walk. How many times have you circled the parking lot to find “the” spot? Spare yourself the stress and gain more energy by parking far away (or even in a remote lot) and walking farther to your destination.

8. Take the stairs. The elevator may go up — but it doesn’t make your heart rate climb. Take the stairs instead. You may huff and puff at first, but over time, your body will thank you.

9. Dance! Do it in a ballroom, at a club or even in your living room. You’ll burn calories and gain a new hobby.

10. Skip the cake, say goodbye to pie and take a walk after dinner. You’ll get a reward that’s sweeter than dessert: more family time.

If these ideas don’t work for you, find something that you enjoy! Ditching the excuses can be the first step to a healthier you.  Of course, if you have an injury, talk to your doctor first to see if there’s a low-impact exercise you can do or find out if you should wait until you’re healed.

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Advocate Spotlight: Matt Zimmerman

Matt Zimmerman Nebraska

My name is Matt Zimmerman and I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Cellular & Integrative Physiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). I am proud and honored to be an AHA volunteer and advocate for the AHA mission.

In my “day job”, I direct a biomedical research laboratory and teach/mentor graduate and medical students. In my research laboratory, we strive to better understand how the brain contributes to normal cardiovascular function and influences the development of cardiovascular diseases, particularly hypertension (a.k.a. high blood pressure).

Throughout my research career, first as a PhD graduate student and now as an independent academic scientist, my research has been supported by the AHA. I am tremendously grateful for the millions of dollars that the AHA contributes each year to the biomedical research community. However, the AHA does so much more than support research to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. I chose to become an active volunteer with the Omaha AHA because I wanted to contribute to and make an impact in the other AHA-supported programs to promote healthy living in my community.

As a member of the Omaha Metro AHA Board of Directors, I believe I can make a difference by communicating with our community leaders as to how AHA research dollars are being used in our own backyard to support the exciting cardiovascular research being conducted in our community’s research institutions. Recently, I was honored to be appointed to the AHA Midwest Affiliate Board of Directors, which will give me an opportunity to promote AHA’s mission not only in my own community but across the entire Midwest. As a volunteer, it gives me great personal pleasure to be part of the many great AHA events that bring cardiovascular disease awareness to our community, such as the AHA Heart Walk.

I am excited to contribute to current AHA initiatives including making CPR training a high school graduation requirement in the state of Nebraska, and improving the health of our community’s workforce by promoting the AHA’s Workplace Health Solutions program. I look forward to being a life-long AHA volunteer and advocate.

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Join Nebraska Social Media Network!

Social media is everywhere, and for many of us, it’s where we get our news.  Online communities are a regular part of our daily lives, and we want you to join our social media community to stay up to date on everything related to the American Heart Association. 

We continue to strive to meet our goals of improving the heart health of all Americans by 20 percent and reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent, and we know that social media provides the opportunity to communicate with our advocates and volunteers in a new way.  Social media opens up new opportunities for outreach and relationship-building among the communities that we serve.  Social media presence among our volunteer advocates is more important than ever! 

Please join us on our social media pages so that you can be a part of our social media community! Then, Like, Comment, Share, Favorite and Re-Tweet information for your social network!  Together, we can reach our goals!

Facebook: American Heart Association Nebraska

Twitter:  American Heart NE

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Share Your Story: Sabrina Robinson

Sabrina Robinson Kansas

Sabrina Robinson was at home with her then-6-year-old son Zachary, 35 miles away from the nearest hospital where she worked as a nurse in the cardiologist’s office, when she thought she was having a stroke.

She called 911 that morning in 2014, but when the EMS crew arrived, they didn’t detect anything wrong. Robinson – aware that medical personnel doubted she had any problems – insisted on going to the hospital, and it wasn’t until halfway there that they determined she was having a heart attack.

"I just started bawling," said Robinson, who was 36 at the time. "I thought I was going to die in the back of the ambulance with these people who thought I was faking it." 

Read More of Sabina’s Story.

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Crunch Time at the Capitol! Take Action Today!

It’s crunch time at the Capitol in Lincoln on several important issues that our volunteer advocates have been working on throughout this session.  Your senator needs to hear from you to ensure the initiatives that will improve our cardiovascular in Nebraska are on the minds of our legislators as they hear testimony and vote on these issues. 

The Stroke System of Care Act would ensure stroke victims get the fast treatment they need for the best chance at a full recovery. Immediate access to the right care, including clot-busting drugs and interventions, can mean the difference between a full recovery, or a lifetime of disability--or even death. LB 722 will help develop a coordinated stroke system in Nebraska, ensuring timely access to a hospital that is best equipped to meet the specific needs of stroke patients.

Your Senator needs to hear from you today on the Stroke System of Care Act!

We also working to reduce the impact of tobacco on our health in Nebraska.  The time has come to increase the tobacco tax, and the reason is simple:  increasing the tobacco tax will save lives from tobacco-related illnesses, and it will save health care costs for our state.

It is estimated that by increasing the tobacco tax by $1.50 per pack of cigarettes, an estimated 12,000 of our youth will not become addicted to tobacco.  That means a significant reduction in long term tobacco-related chronic illnesses because citizens never started smoking in the first place.  It also means a significant savings in health care costs for our state.  An estimated $795 million in annual health care costs in Nebraska is directly caused by smoking.  $795 million every year!  

Contact your Senator today and ask him/her to support an increase in the Tobacco Tax when it comes before him/her for a vote. 

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Advocates Raise Awareness at Red Dress Dash

We are so proud of all our Nebraska advocates who participated in the Red Dress Dash in Lincoln on February 4th!  We are especially proud of Lisa Culbertson who took a moment to explain why this event, and raising awareness, is so important to her!  Lisa was saved by CPR and has become a passionate advocate for everyone learning CPR in Nebraska.  Check out this great story

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Advocate Spotlight: Jill Duis

Jill Duis Nebraska

I have walked with heart disease my entire life.  I was born with a complete heart block, meaning the top part of my heart didn't communicate with the bottom part, which meant my heart would only beat 40 beats per minute – about half the normal rate. 

My parents were told to take me home, not let me cry,  and I would probably only live a week.  They began their search by taking me to different doctors.  Finally frustrated, they took me to an old "country" doctor who said "It sounds like you should just let her grow up."  And so they did.  I grew up not knowing that other kids didn't have leg cramps when they ran or that you were supposed to be able to run long distances without stopping.  I lived my life with very few problems until I ran up a flight of stairs in college and nearly fainted. 

A trip to the ER led to a cardiology consult.  The only option:  a pacemaker.  I was 21.  My husband and I wanted to have a family and this was the only way I would be able to tolerate a pregnancy and delivery.  Life was good after that.  For the first time, my feet were warm and I had such energy.  We were blessed with three children. During this time, I burned through about 5 different pacemakers.  Raising a family, I just kept wearing them out! 

As a nurse, I have always had a keen interest in improving cardiovascular care.  When I heard there was thrombolytic therapy to treat stroke patients, I knew we had to get on board with that.  I did the research, worked with the company rep for the thrombolytic and began educating the emergency department staff and physicians.  It was a huge undertaking and by the time the first patient was treated, I knew we had done the right thing.  It was extremely moving to see our first patient do so well. 

In the fall of 2000, I came home after completing 2-twelve hour weekend shifts.  My husband had prepared supper and we sat down with our family to eat.  Midway through the meal, while I was telling a story, I dropped my fork into my lap and began to speak gibberish and drool from the side of my mouth. At 45, I was having a stroke.  My husband took me back to the same hospital I had just left.  I was evaluated and eventually treated with a thrombolytic. 

I will never be able to express how grateful I am for the research that developed this drug.  For me, the difference was life-altering.  I not only survived – I regained nearly all my function.  I was determined to remain a contributing member of society.  Rehabilitation was the hardest work I have ever done, but eventually I was able to return to my nursing position in the emergency department.  It was an emotional homecoming for everyone involved! 

A couple years after my stroke, my cardiologist informed me that a valve in my heart needed repair, which lead to my first open heart surgery.  I was lucky.  So many more have gone through so much more.  I sailed through the surgery, but 6 weeks after surgery had another "mini-stroke."  I was determined to fully recover.  I did and once again returned to my family and to working full time. 

I have continued to have additional medical devices, a total of eight so far, and the last three have had to be AICDs (pacemaker/defibrillators).  I have benefited from research and medical developments sponsored by the AHA.  There are no words to adequately express my gratitude to the AHA for their continued efforts in the advancement of cardiovascular disease awareness and care.

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Stroke Systems of Care Bill Goes Before Committee

Members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee will soon vote on LB 722: the Stroke System of Care Act. The purpose of the Act is to improve the overall outcomes of stroke patients.  Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability; and with the aging of the population, the number of persons who have strokes is projected to increase.  Forecasting by the American Heart Association predicts stroke prevalence to increase by 24.9% between 2010 and 2030. The cost of treating stroke continues to increase. In Nebraska, total hospital charges for stroke increased by over $54 million between 2001 and 2010, from $54 to $108 million with the average charge per stroke hospitalization at $31,100 in 2010. 

LB 722 establishes a stroke system of care consisting of stroke hospital designation, EMS protocols for triage and transport, a stroke registry, and a stroke task force to help treat stroke patients in a timely manner and to improve the overall outcomes of these patients.

The rapid identification, diagnosis, and treatment of stroke can save the lives of stroke patients and in some cases can reverse neurological damage such as paralysis and speech and language impairments, leaving stroke patients with few or no neurological deficits.

Senate HHS Committee members include:  Senators Campbell, Baker, Crawford, Fox, Howard, Kolterman,and Riepe.  If your senate sits on this committee, we urge to contact him or her as soon as possible and ask for their support on OB 722 to improve the overall outcomes of stroke patients.  To take action now, CLICK HERE. 

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