American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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You're the Cure Advocate Pkaye Washington is Selected as National Spokesperson for Go Red for Women!

Longtime You're the Cure advocate and Grassroots Action Team Chair, Pkaye Washington, was selected as a member of this year's “Real Women,” national spokespeople for the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women movement. These nine women from across the country will share their personal stories and encourage women to take a proactive role in their health by knowing their family history and scheduling a Well-Woman Visit.

Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, yet it’s 80 percent preventable. One risk factor that cannot be prevented is family history. According to a recent study in the American Journal of Medical Genetics, 95.7 percent of study respondents considered knowledge of family history important to their personal health. The startling truth, though, is that only 36.9 percent reported actively collecting health information from their relatives.

“I’m living proof that knowledge is power,” said Pkaye Washington. “By knowing your family history and scheduling a Well-Woman Visit, you could be taking action today that could save your life tomorrow.”

Washington, who lives in Austin, Texas, has been living with heart disease for more than two decades. She was diagnosed with Class II heart failure in 1992, following what she thought was a bout of the flu. She’d gone to the hospital after realizing she was consistently short of breath.

It was a startling revelation for Washington, then 36, whose mother had been diagnosed with advanced heart failure and would soon need a heart transplant. Her grandmother had died from fluid around the heart when her mother was only four years old. Shock gave way to depression, followed by a resolve to make changes.

Washington now encourages women to empower themselves when it comes to their health, and to seek support from others. For the past 2 years she has supported the American Heart Association by serving as a spokesperson and an advocate for the You’re the Cure network.  She became involved with the organization when she was crowned Ms. Texas Classic and the American Heart Association was her chosen non-profit.  Currently, Washington volunteers her time as the Chair for our Austin Grassroots Action Team, where she has helped build healthier lives and communities by being a part of successful efforts to pass both state and local heart health policies. She has also been an advocate for our You’re the Cure on the Hill, traveling to Washington DC to meet with her members of Congress.
Pkaye’s story shares one common thread with the other 8 national spokeswomen– knowing your family history is important and discussing it with a health care professional is key to taking steps to prevent heart disease and stroke.

About Go Red For Women
Go Red For Women is the American Heart Association's national movement to end heart disease and stroke in women. Heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 women – more than all cancers combined. The good news is that 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes. Women who Go Red live healthier lives. For more than a decade Go Red For Women has fought for equal health opportunity for women. We proudly wear red, share our stories of survival and advocate for more research and swifter action for women's heart and brain health. Our future is focused on changing the culture to make it easier for women and their families to live healthier lives. When it comes to beating heart disease and stroke, it’s time to put our hearts into it.  Take action at

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Sing to End Stroke

One in three Americans can’t recall any stroke warning signs. What if singing a song could help people recognize a stroke and give someone the power to save a life?

On World Stroke Day, October 29th, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is using music to help people remember the common warning signs of stroke, F.A.S.T. (Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 9-1-1).

Why learn the F.A.S.T song? The quicker you recognize the stroke warning signs and call 9-1-1 for stroke, the better the chances of recovery. 

Here is how you can participate:

So get your vocal cords ready and let's sing to end stroke!


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New State of Obesity Report Released & It's Not Good News for Oklahoma

According to the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s report, titled “The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America,” nearly 1 in 3 Oklahomans is obese. The report found that our state has one of the highest obesity rates in the nation at 33%. In fact, this year Oklahoma moved from the state with the 7th highest obesity rate to the 6th. This is not an area we want to lead. 

These statistics are staggering, however, these numbers cannot change until we break down the barriers to health.  Oklahoma ranks 2nd in the nation for cities with the worst food access (1). This means that for many in our city eating healthy foods is not just a difficult choice, it’s one that doesn’t exist.

One way we can combat this is by making healthy foods accessible in neighborhood corner stores and convenience stores. By increasing access to healthy foods in our neighborhoods we can help make the healthy choice the easy choice for many in our city.

Act now to ask City Council to support a healthier Oklahoma City!

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Text "ACTIVE" to 52886 to Join the Movement for Healthier Kids

September is nationally recognized as Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and to help raise awareness with families across the country, we are asking You're the Cure advocates, family, and friends to add your voice in support helping kids and families live heart-healthy lives.

Today, about one in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese, nearly triple the rate in 1963. Among children today, obesity is causing a broad range of health problems that previously weren’t seen until adulthood. These include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and elevated blood cholesterol levels. There are also psychological effects: Obese children are more prone to low self-esteem, negative body image and depression. And excess weight at young ages has been linked to higher and earlier death rates in adulthood.

Use these resources to help you understand childhood obesity and what you can do to fight it.

  • Text "ACTIVE" to 52286 to receive updates about advocacy efforts to combat childhood obesity on a federal, state, and local level.
  • Understanding Childhood Obesity is an American Heart Association sourcebook on child nutrition and physical activity. Both the full and condensed downloadable PDF versions are an update of the 2005 version.
  • AHA Recommendation - Overweight in Children - Obese children are more likely to be obese adults. Successfully preventing or treating overweight in childhood may help reduce the risk of heart disease, adult obesity and other complications.
  • AHA Scientific Position - Physical Activity and Children - Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for developing heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, overweight/obesity, and diabetes. The American Heart Association recommends that children and adolescents participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.
  • AHA Scientific Position - Dietary Recommendations for Healthy Children - The American Heart Association has specific healthy dietary guideline recommendations for all adults and children over the age of 2 years. more


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Meet Amanda Rowell, You're the Cure advocate

When it comes to fighting heart disease and stroke, Amanda Rowell is leading the way.

Name: Amanda Rowell
Occupation: Teacher at CKLC
How long have you been volunteering for the American Heart Association: Almost a year now.
Why do you advocate for the heart: My father passed away at the age of 30 from cardiac arrest, my mother has suffered a heart attack, and I had a massive heart attack at the age of 32 after having a baby. I advocate for the heart for everyone I know living with heart disease and the ones who have passed away from heart disease. I also advocate for the heart for my children and their futures. I believe people need to know the facts about heart disease.
What is something in your life that you love: I love waking up to a brand new day each morning with my children and my husband. I love being given the opportunity to share my heart story with others and help raise awareness about heart disease.
What is your all time favorite thing to do on your time off: I love spending time with my family and making memories to last a lifetime. Family is very important to me. Every moment I have with them is precious. 
What excites you most about the NIH Rally: Being given the opportunity to let my voice be heard through speaking with congressmen and having the ability to advocate for change and continuing research for the heart and the American Heart Association.

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September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and to help raise awareness with families across the country, the American Heart Association has brought back a fun and easy way to help you with the No. 1 health concern among parents – childhood obesity. Through the Life is Why Family Health Challenge™  families and kids will learn to take control of their health in four weeks by pursuing a different goal each week with activities that are fun, simple, won’t break the bank and can be done as a family! By the end of the month, you might feel accomplished and be better equipped to live a heart-healthy life. There will also be four Life is Why Family Health Challenge™ Twitter Chats every Wednesday in September.

Mark your calendars and get ready to take the challenge in September by visiting - where you will have access to videos, complimentary challenge materials, and the Life is Why Family Health Challenge™ social media group that will help you, and your family, stay on track.  



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Tulsa Takes New Strides to Improve Health

Healthy vending machines give employees and families’ access to healthier choices

Great news! City of Tulsa adopted a new policy that ensures that if vending machines are located on city properties that are visited by the public, such as public libraries, parks, nature centers, the convention center and community centers, they will meet recommended nutrition standards to provide patrons with healthier options.

In addition, Tulsa’s 3,500 city employees will benefit from healthier choices in vending machines where they work, including City Hall, police and fire departments. With a population of more than 395,000, including approximately 100,000 children, this is a critical step in building a culture of health for all Tulsans.

The American Heart Association advocates for healthier options in all worksite cafeterias and vending machines and applauds the City of Tulsa for leading the nation on this important effort to ensure access to healthy options for those that live, work, and play in Tulsa, Oklahoma.















***** Resources are available to help companies develop their own policies and tips to make a workplace healthier in the Healthy Workplace Food and Beverage Toolkit.

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Advocates in Action

Healthy meals help students live and learn better. Studies show that kids who are served nutritious meals at breakfast, lunch, and throughout the school day perform at a higher academic level. Under school nutrition standards passed in 2010, kids are eating 16 percent more vegetables and 23 percent more fruit, and surveys show more than 90 percent of parents support requiring schools to include a serving of fruits or vegetables with every meal.

Oklahoma State Advocacy Chair Amy Baden and You're the Cure Advocate Amanda Rowell, along with AHA staff Terri Bailey and Lori Costa, met with Congressman Cole to ask that he support strong child nutrition standards. It's visits like this that make all the difference to combat childhood obesity. To learn how to get involved, please email for more information!

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Meet Amy Baden

Name: Amy Baden

Volunteer Role: State Advocacy Committee Chair

Occupation: RN, Oklahoma Network Director of Cardiovascular Services for AllianceHealth.

How long have you been volunteering with AHA? Not sure…at least 5 yrs.

What motivates you to advocate for heart healthy and stroke smart policies? There are several things that motivate me: I have a positive family history for heart disease and stroke. I have lost several loved ones from complications associated with both. My children motivate me. The patients I have cared for as a cardiac critical care nurse and their families also motivates me. Heart disease has an impact on all of us each and every day.

Fun Fact: I recently graduated with a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Health/Health Care Administration/Management from Southern Nazarene University.

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New Stroke Guidelines Will Change Stroke Treatment in the U.S

Each year, more than 690,000 Americans have strokes caused by blood clots blocking vessels in the brain, called ischemic strokes. Some of the clots can grow large and may require intense therapy to treat.

However, widely celebrated new research reaffirms that large blood clots in the brain are less likely to result in disability or death, if the blockage is removed in the crucial early hours of having a stroke.

Right now the standard treatment is a clot-dissolving drug called tPA. But it must be given intravenously within 4.5 hours to be effective. For people with larger brain clots, tPA only works about a third of the time.

New studies recommend doctors to use modernized -retrievable stents, to open and trap the clot, allowing doctors to extract the clot and reopen the artery nearly every time when used with tPA.

To learn more read “Clot Removing Devices Provide Better Outcomes for Stroke Patients” and visit to learn the warning signs of stroke.

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