American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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Complete Streets Resolution Promotes Safer City Streets

The Sioux Falls City Council passed an important resolution that will encourage safer transportation in the city for pedestrians and bicyclists.  The Complete Streets resolution is intended to make the city safer and more active by making sure all forms of transportation are considered in the street and neighborhood design process. The American Heart Association was an active advocate for this important policy resolution, and we thank our local advocates for encouraging city councilors to support this initiative. 

A Complete Street is a street designed to accommodate all users including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and public transportation. Complete Streets make it easy to cross the street, bicycle to work, and walk to destinations in a timely manner and in a safe environment.

A Complete Streets policy directs planners and engineers to routinely design and operate streets in manner that provides users safe access – no matter which mode of transportation they choose.

By incorporating complete streets elements, the city can provide safe and accessible networks for families in our community for walking, bicycling and accessing healthier foods. It’s also a great economic development tool to attract new people to our community and encourage young people, seniors and families to stay right here in Sioux Falls.

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Watch4Jerry Video Promotes Safe Transportation

The city of Sioux Falls has launched a new video that, among other messages, promotes safe transportation on city streets whether you are driving, biking or walking.  The video introduces Jerry, a precocious pup that reminds all those who use city streets to watch out for pedestrians, bicyclists and pets who also like to enjoy the outdoors using our sidewalks and city streets. 

Safe transportation is an important part of an active lifestyle which is vital to cardiovascular health.  The American Heart Association encourages individuals and families include outside activities into their daily lives in an effort to combat obesity.  In order to be outside and be active, it’s important for motorists to share the road with all modes of transportation.

Some important considerations for safe pedestrian transportation include:

  • Use Crosswalks and follow signals
  • Make yourself visible to others moving on streets and sidewalks
  • Be sure to allow yourself enough time to cross, and do not dart out in front of vehicles 

Bicyclists should consider these safe transportation guidelines:

  • Follow the rules of the road and be sure you are watching for traffic and crossing streets properly
  • Bicyclists should obey all traffic rules, be visible, protect your head by wearing a helmet and always signal when turning
  • At intersections, stop before entering crosswalks

For more about Jerry and how to stay safe on city streets, visit the City of Sioux Falls Live Well website, or CLICK HERE

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Mom Becomes Heart, CPR Advocate After Losing her Son

Melinda Kentfield lost her son Taylor to cardiac arrest on September 10, 2013.  The 21-year-old junior at South Dakota State University had collapsed while jogging with two friends.  One friend ran to call 9-1-1 while the other stayed with Taylor. Several minutes passed before a police officer and then an off-duty paramedic arrived and initiated CPR.  Melinda has become a volunteer advocate encouraging Nebraska to join the growing list of states to teach CPR as a high school graduation requirement so that all students learn this life-saving skill before they graduate.  Melinda recently shared her story on the AHA's website. 

To read Melinda's story, CLICK HERE. 


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CPR a Critical Link in the Chain of Survival, Report Says

The Institute of Medicine recently issued a report that supports AHA’s focus on the importance of teaching CPR to as many people as possible.  The report suggests that while 9 of 10 people who suffer from sudden cardiac arrest outside a hospital die, survival rates could be improved dramatically with more CPR training, a nationwide registry, and other strategies.  AHA CEO Nancy Brown said the strategies in the report support the association’s goal of doubling cardiac arrest survival, which will save an additional 50,000 cardiac arrest victims each year. 

“We need novel and innovative approaches to improve survival at national, state and local levels,” Brown said in a statement. “That’s why we applaud the IOM for calling for a culture of action and for their unbiased and authoritative advice on critical health issues facing our country.”

While much has already been done in the critical areas of cardiac arrest survival, including CPR training in schools, AED deployment, dispatcher-assisted CPR, emphasis on high-quality CPR by EMS providers and post-cardiac care, more focus is needed to ensure victims of sudden cardiac arrest get the fastest and most appropriate care possible to improve survival rates. 

States across the country are moving toward requiring CPR training as a high school graduation requirement.  Training students in Hands Only CPR puts thousands of life-savers into our communities each and every year.  The AHA strongly advocates for South Dakota to include CPR training in high school curriculum so that all students learn this life-saving skill prior to graduation.  Learning this skill in high school can also spark their interest in emergency medicine, an area of critical need in South Dakota. 

For more on this article, CLICK HERE

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Register for Heart Walk in Your Community!

Did you know that cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of all Americans? In fact, someone dies from CVD every 39 seconds! Heart disease also kills more women than all forms of cancer combined.  And congenital cardiovascular defects are the most common cause of infant death from birth defects.  Heart Walk is great way to help in the fight against heart disease in your community. 

Get started today by finding your local Heart Walk! Join your company team, start a team of your own, or join as an individual - whatever you choose, you can make a difference in people’s lives – including your own!

When you join Heart Walk, you join more than a million people in 300+ cities across American in taking a stand against heart disease and helping save lives! The funds you raise in the Heart Walk will support projects like these:

  • Putting up-to-the-minute research into doctors' hands so they can better prevent and treat heart disease among patients.
  • Groundbreaking pediatric heart and stroke research.  About 36,000 babies are born with heart defects each year - research is the key to saving babies' lives.
  • Getting life-saving information to those who need it most - information that can save a life, like how to eat better, how to recognize the warning signs of heart attack, and how to talk to a doctor about critical health choices. 

Everyone has a reason to live a healthier, longer life. The Heart Walk is the American Heart Association's premier event in your community. It promotes physical activity and heart-healthy living in a fun, family environment. It is a time of celebration for those who have made lifestyle changes and encourages many more to take the pledge to live healthier lifestyles while raising the monies needed to fund life-saving research and education, advocate for health and SAVE lives! What are you waiting for? Participate and share your why or possibly discover your why!

Register for an upcoming Heart Walk in your Community!

Eastern South Dakota Heart Walk, Saturday, August 22nd, Falls Park, Sioux Falls

Black Hills Heart Walk, Saturday, September 12th, Main Street Square, Rapid City

Central South Dakota Heart Walk, Saturday, September 19th, Hyde Stadium, Pierre

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Advocate Spotlight: Amber Rost

Amber Rost South Dakota

As an active, busy mom of two school-age girls, I try very hard to ensure my family is getting the good nutrition they need each and every day.  It can be a challenge not only to put nutritious meals on the table every day, but also to combat the marketing of junk food that my girls are exposed to every day.  I try to make the healthy choice the easy choice in our home.  That is why it is important to me that our schools make the same commitment. 

I know that obesity is a growing concern among our youth.  I also know that the health consequences of obesity in children are staggering.  Obesity is a major contributor to chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other illnesses.  That’s why learning good nutrition habits early is so important.

Our children consume 35% - 50% of their daily caloric intake at school, where they are often exposed to junk foods and sugary drinks that have little nutritional value.  Our kids are constantly being inundated with junk food marketing and healthy food choices are sometimes hard to find. 

I encourage Congress to reauthorize the child nutrition Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act to ensure that our schools continue to make improvements in the nutritious value of school meals.  Not only does healthy school nutrition help combat childhood obesity, but studies have shown that kids perform better in school when they have good nutrition. 

I know there have been challenges to meeting the nutrition guidelines of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, but let’s not give up on our children’s health.  Let’s work together to ensure the healthy choice is the easy choice when it comes to school meals.

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Bike Safety Law Goes Into Effect July 1

Thanks to our South Dakota advocates, South Dakota's bike safety law will go into effect on July 1st.  The signs are already popping up around the state.  Pictured as bike safety law supporters Rep. Lee Schoenbeck and Rep. Fred Deutsch.  This is one of the strongest bike safety laws in the nation.  We are proud of the coalition efforts to pass this law and are especially grateful to legislative champions like Rep. Schoenbeck and Rep. Deutsch! 

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Advocate Spotlight: Chrissy Meyer

Chrissy Meyer South Dakota

The American Heart Association is excited to welcome back Chrissy Meyer to the AHA staff.  Chrissy joins the North Dakota and South Dakota teams as the Communications Director for both states.

Chrissy began her relationship with the AHA as a Go Red For Women volunteer in 2011, and when a position with the organization opened, she joined the AHA staff as the Director of Corporate and Media Relations for Eastern South Dakota. Chrissy left briefly to explore a position with another non-profit organization, but has rejoined the AHA staff and will direct communications, media relations, and public relations responsibilities in the Dakotas.

“I realized that this is really where my heart was,” Chrissy said. Like so many people Chrissy’s life has been touched by heart disease in many ways, and she has lost two grandparents and an aunt to heart disease. During the last six months Chrissy’s mom suffered a heart attack and had two stents placed, so the work of the AHA became more important to her than ever. “It really hit home for me when I realized that the technology that was saving my Mom’s life was a direct result of the AHA’s lifesaving work. When I had the opportunity to return to the AHA, I jumped at the chance.”

Chrissy began her new role with the AHA on June 1st. You'll be seeing a lot more of her in the coming months! 

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Encourage Senator Thune To Co-Sponsor The FAST Act

Stroke continues to be a leading cause of death in South Dakota, and disability from stroke has a dramatic impact of survivors and their families – not mention the health care cost that results from stroke.

With stroke, time lost is brain lost. Expanding the use of telemedicine in the evaluation and treatment of acute stroke – commonly known as “telestroke” -- will greatly improve the quality of care that stroke patients receive, increase the utilization of effective acute stroke treatments, reduce stroke-related disability for many Americans, and save the health care system money but Congress must address barriers to its expansion.

Stroke survivor Senator Mark Kirk has introduced S. 1465, the Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine Act - or FAST Act - that would expand Medicare reimbursement for telestroke evaluations to patients who originate at an urban or suburban hospital. The FAST Act is a win-win: it benefits stroke patients, advances the evidence-based use of telehealth services, and it saves money.

Research has documented that telestroke has been shown to improve patient access to the recommended clot-busting stroke treatment by up to six-fold, which increases the number of patients who walk out with little or no disability. Stroke patients receiving the recommended clot-busting therapy are at least 30 percent more likely to have minimal or no disability.

Encourage Senator Thune to sign on as a co-sponsor to the FAST Act. 

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New Hands Only CPR Video; Learn this Life-Saving Skill and Share with Others

June is a great time to raise awareness for the importance of CPR training with National CPR Awareness week June 1-8.  More than 300,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occurring every year in the United States. Sadly, most people who suffer a sudden cardiac arrest do not receive life-saving CPR within the first 3-5 minutes of their attack.  Hands Only CPR - compressions, hard and fast in the center of the chest - keeps the blood and oxygen flowing to the brain and other vital organs until help arrives, either an AED or emergency medical professionals. The more people trained in Hands Only CPR, the more lives we can save.  

In South Dakota, we are still working to join with other states across the country to include Hands Only CPR as a high school graduation requirement.  We know that by putting more than 7,000 life-savers into our communities each and every year that more lives could be saved from sudden cardiac arrest. Our task is to raise awareness for this life-saving skill among legislators, high school administrators, teachers, community leaders, parents and students. Let’s make sure South Dakota joins other states by including CPR instruction in our schools! 

Hands Only CPR is easy to learn; almost anyone 12 years of age and older has the physical strength to perform Hands Only CPR.  Watch this 90-second video to learn how to perform Hands Only CPR.  Remember that when someone collapses, your first response should be to call 9-1-1.  Then check for breathing and ask someone to go and get an AED.  Then, press hard and fast in the center of the chest to beat of the song "Stayin' Alive."  Keep doing compressions until help arrives. 

The chances of survival for victims of sudden cardiac arrest are greatly improved when Hands Only CPR is performed within the first three to five minutes.  If someone you loved suffered sudden cardiac arrest, would you know what to do?  Take a few minutes today to learn Hands Only CPR, then share on social media so that everyone you know can perform this life-saving skill. 

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