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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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Stroke Awareness Month in Wyoming: Can We Share Your Story?

Every 40 seconds, someone has a stroke. And one out of six people will suffer a stroke in their lifetime. But still, the vast majority of Americans do not think of stroke as a major health concern. The Wyoming American Heart Association – American Stroke Association is working hard each and every day to eliminate those statistics through education, research and legislation. But we need your help!  Help us raise awareness of our No. 5 killer and leading cause of disability in May as we celebrate survivors and raise awareness during Stroke Awareness Month.

Are you a stroke survivor or know someone who is? We’d love to hear your story of survival and share it with others so that they, too, can survive a stroke. Please contact us at Kristen.waters@heart.org or call 402-960-6078

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Meet Jessica Westerman

Please meet Jessica Westerman, an amazing American Heart Association advocate that commits time and passion to support the Advocacy Team in our Little Rock, Arkansas office.  Most recently as a resident of Bryant, Jessica has been helping on our Smoke-Free Bryant campaign. 

Favorite Movie: The Sound of Music

Hobbies: Spending time with family & friends, traveling, watching & attending Razorback football games

Kids: Addison (daughter-8 )and Mackenzie (daughter-4)

Pets: Mollie (Maltipoo) and Lindsay (Pekingese pug mix)

Two celebrities I’d like to have dinner with: Julie Andrews & Kenny Chesney

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Why is advocating with the AHA important to you?

”Advocating with the American Heart Association is very important to me, because heart disease and stroke have affected my family. My mom had a stroke in 2009 and thankfully fully recovered. My maternal grandmother died after having a stroke and my maternal grandfather had heart disease for 35+ years before he passed away.

Another reason I’m so passionate about volunteering with AHA is that I was born with a congenital heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot. Tetralogy of Fallot consists of four abnormalities of the heart; such as a hole in the septum, narrowing of the pulmonary valve, a thick right ventricle and an overriding aorta. I had surgery to correct these abnormalities at birth and 1 year old. I am blessed to be healthy today and haven’t had a valve replacement yet.

I used to be self-conscious about my scar from my open heart surgeries. But, I learned over the years to be proud of that scar. It shows that I am a survivor and it gives me the opportunity to tell my story and bring about awareness of Tetralogy of Fallot. I love volunteering with the American Heart Association and feel like I’m helping make a difference to bring about awareness of heart disease and stroke.”

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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 www.heart.org/sodium 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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WY Advocating For Heart Event Brings Advocates Together

On Tuesday, February 25th, advocates from across Wyoming came together for an Advocating for Heart breakfast in Cheyenne to recognize Wear Red Day and the fight against the number one killer of women - heart disease, by advocating for heart healthy and stroke smart policies.

After enjoying breakfast together, advocates and staff from the American Heart Association discussed the policy goals moving forward for Wyoming, shared a variety of ways advocates could engage with the AHA throughout the year and networked with one another.

We're grateful to have these advocates join in our efforts to build a healthier Wyoming, but we still need help. If you are interested in joining our advocacy efforts in Wyoming please contact Kristen Waters at Kristen.Waters@heart.org or Allison Hogue at Allison.Hogue@heart.org.

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Meet Christa Coleman

We're pleased to introduce you to You're the Cure Advocate, Christa Coleman, from Lonsdale, Arkansas.

Christa recently attended our Go Red For Women Survivor Gallery Unveiling at the Arkansas State Capitol. Her family had spent the past week at Arkansas Children's Hospital (ACH) with her daughter, Adyson, after she had open-heart surgery to repair a congenital heart defect (CHD). Their support team of parents and ACH staff shared with them that an American Heart Association event was taking place across the street at the Capitol where survivors, just like Adyson, were being honored. Christa and her husband made their way over to the Capitol where they were moved by the many stories of survival and the large group of supporters present. Shortly after the event, Christa felt that the AHA was the right place for her to share her passion for advocacy with others. We are now thankful to have Christa as a volunteer, and most recently worked with her at an event in her hometown to spread awareness about the public policy efforts of the American Heart Association in Arkansas.

A huge thank you to the Coleman Family for being so amazing! For this volunteer spotlight we would like to share a photo Christa and Krista Thornton. They both supported AHA advocacy outreach efforts on Saturday, February 27th at Saline Memorial Hospital's The Beat Goes On 5K.  The second photo is Christa's daughter, Adyson.

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Legislative Session Starts in Wyoming

The gavel is down and the 2016 Legislative Session has officially started. We are excited and eager to work with our state legislators on policies that will help make Wyoming healthier!  Over the next several months you will receive emails providing updates on the progress of these issues, as well as giving you the opportunity to take action via email, phone calls, and visits to legislator offices. Just know that your voice is incredibly important to the work of the American Heart Association at our state Capitol.

Click here to let legislators know how the decisions they make will impact the health of their constituents.

We have found that effective grassroots campaigns are vital to making positive changes to health policy in the state of Wyoming. We can’t do this without you!

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Join Us: Wyoming Advocating for Heart Day

We are thrilled to announce that the American Heart Association will host an Advocating for Heart Breakfast to celebrate American Heart Month and Wear Red Day. Please save the date to join us on Tuesday, February 23rd from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at The Egg and I located at 2300 Carey Avenue in Cheyenne.  Mingle with legislators, enjoy breakfast and celebrate why we Go Red For Women! RSVP to Kristen.Waters@heart.org by February 21st. 

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Meet Dr. Jennifer Redmond Knight

"Since I was a young girl, I have been concerned with the dangers of secondhand smoke.  As a life-long asthma sufferer, I personally knew how harmful secondhand smoke was to my health and when I discovered the dangers for all people, I became a passionate advocate.  In 2002, while working on my Master of Public Health degree, I had the opportunity to join the Lexington-Fayette County Kentucky smoke-free campaign.  I remember testifying to the city council, writing letters to the editor and educating all those who would listen about the dangers of secondhand smoke.  In 2009, I was asked to be part of the Smoke-free Kentucky Leadership team focused on promoting a comprehensive state-wide policy.  I served in this capacity until 2013 when I moved to Little Rock, AR.  I am a native of Batesville, AR and one of the things I asked frequently upon coming back to Arkansas was "when are we going to strengthen our current smoke-free law to become comprehensive?"  I am honored to currently be serving as chair of the SmokeFree Little Rock Campaign and look forward to the day when all people who live, work and play in Little Rock and every other community in Arkansas, Kentucky, the United States and the world are protected from the dangers of secondhand smoke! "

Dr. Jennifer Redmond Knight lives in Little Rock and is an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health, where she serves as a Co-Investigator for the Kentucky Cancer Consortium, Co-Principal Investigator for a new Lung Cancer Prevention and Early Detection project; and Co-Investigator for an NCI grant focused on an HPV vaccination environmental scan. She is also a facilitator/strategic planner for the Kentucky Department for Public Health’s coordinated chronic disease prevention and health promotion efforts, and leads their cancer control leadership team. She facilitated regional forums and provided support in strategic planning for Kentucky’s Changing this Generation project. She also facilitated the development of the Texas Cancer Plan and Future Directions workgroups for the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas.

Her areas of expertise include partnership sustainability, program development, group facilitation, epidemiology, evaluation and policy, systems and environmental change efforts. Her current focus areas relate to the Affordable Care Act and Cancer & Lung Cancer Prevention and Early Detection.
Dr. Knight has her BA in Communications from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Kentucky College of Public Health and DrPH in Health Services Management from the University of Kentucky College of Public Health.

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Join us on National Wear Red Day, Friday, February 5

The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women are asking for your support by participating in National Wear Red Day® on Friday, February 5, 2016 and donating to help fund research during American Health Month.

Why Go Red? Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds.  Fortunately, we can change that because 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action. That’s why this year we are asking that you wear red on National Wear Red Day® and donate to Go Red For Woman. By doing so you help support educational programs to increase women’s awareness and critical research to discover scientific knowledge about cardiovascular health. 

And don’t forget to make your heart health a priority. Schedule your Well-Woman Visit, a prevention check-up to review a woman’s overall health so her doctor can measure blood pressure, check cholesterol and look for signs of heart disease, stroke and other illnesses. Then encourage others through your social channels to do the same.

We couldn’t make positive changes without the support and donations by individuals like you.

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