heart health

6 Ways to Show Your Support for the American Heart Association

AHAlogoFor nearly a century, the American Heart Association (AHA) has been working to save lives through research, education, and public outreach programs focused on cardiovascular disease and stroke. Possessing a network of more than 33 million volunteers and supporters, the organization reaches communities throughout the United States and many other countries around the globe. As a nonprofit group, the AHA relies on individual donors and volunteers, as well as corporate partners to provide the necessary funding and resources to continue its lifesaving work. If you’re interested in becoming involved, read on for more information on how to participate.

  1. Consider a Financial Gift

The AHA offers a number of options for those who want to make a donation to support its research, education, and advocacy activities. On the organization’s website, donors can make a one-time financial contribution or sign up to provide a monthly gift of any amount. AHA also accepts memorial or tribute donations from individuals seeking to celebrate and honor the life of someone close to them while supporting a worthy cause.

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In addition to its one-time and recurring donation options, the association oversees a planned-giving program for those interested in providing a financial gift through their estate plan. Potential donors can choose from a number of charitable plans, including gifts by will or living trust. The AHA also accepts gifts of retirement plan assets, appreciated securities, life insurance, and real estate.

  1. Volunteer Your Time

If you’re looking for a way to support the AHA while working within your community, you can sign up for one of the organization’s many volunteer opportunities. Some ways to volunteer include joining the association’s Health eHeart study and providing encouragement and tips to heart patients and their families via AHA’s online forum. Volunteers can also support the AHA at health fairs and other events or take part in the Go Red for Women awareness campaign. The AHA welcomes volunteers of all ages and backgrounds, including youth and students, patients and caregivers, and nurses and other health care practitioners.

  1. Participate in a Fund-Raiser

Throughout the year, AHA supporters take part in a number of fund-raisers and awareness events in communities across the country. The association’s premier fund-raising event is its Heart Walk, which raises money for cardiovascular and stroke research. Those looking to participate in a Heart Walk can sign up to walk so or as members of a fund-raising team with their friends, family, and/or co-workers.

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AHA’s other fund-raisers and awareness activities include Go Red for Women events, Heart Ball socials, and National Wear Red Day, which occurs every February. AHA also receives support from the country’s young people through its Kids Heart Challenge. Supported by students, parents, and teachers, Kids Heart Challenge events offer youth an opportunity to develop jump rope skills and learn about the inner workings of the heart while raising money for pediatric patients with cardiovascular issues.

  1. Shop at the AHA Store

Do you want to get your hands on great products while also supporting an important cause? Shop the official store of the American Heart Association to find everything from athletic apparel and casual wear to jewelry, tote bags, and coffee tumblers. AHA’s online store also features home decor, cookbooks, and a variety of educational materials such as CPR kits and health brochures. Regardless of what you buy, a portion of every purchase made at the AHA shop funds the association’s programming.

  1. Raise Awareness with Little Hats, Big Hearts

In 2014, AHA representatives in Chicago launched Little Hats, Big Hearts to raise awareness about congenital heart defects. Since then, the local project has become a national initiative that has provided tiny red hats for hundreds of thousands of babies born during American Heart Month in February.

You can support the effort by knitting or crocheting baby hats using red cotton or acrylic yarn that is both machine washable and dryable. To help crafters with the project, the AHA provides sample hat patterns on its website. However, any pattern can be used as long as it is free of buttons, bows, and any other items that could pose a choking hazard. If you are not skilled at knitting or crocheting, you can make a donation to Little Hats, Big Hearts, which distributed over 200,000 hats in 2018.

  1. Become an Advocate for Healthier Communities

You’re the Cure is AHA’s grassroots advocacy network, which mobilizes researchers and health care providers, patients, and caregivers in the fight against heart disease and stroke. Joining the community is as simple as registering your name, address, and phone number on the You’re the Cure website, which features advocates’ stories and information on key advocacy issues.

The community’s main advocacy efforts are in the areas of quality and value of care, access to care, rehabilitation, and heart disease and stroke research. The You’re the Cure website also features an action center where community members can learn about and participate in various advocacy campaigns dedicated to building healthier lives and communities.

More information about the many ways you can support AHA programming is available at www.heart.org/en/get-involved.

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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Spotlight on the Latest News from Wounded Warrior Project

wounded warrior projectAs Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) celebrates 15 years of service, the veteran-focused organization continues to provide a variety of programs designed to enhance the lives of former and current military members and their families. In addition to improving veterans’ physical and mental well-being, WWP helps them to gain independence through social activities and career-development initiatives. The organization also oversees a variety of programs to serve the spouses, caregivers, and other loved ones who support the nation’s military members. Here is a look at recent WWP news from across the country.

 

Veterans and Supporters Participate in Inaugural Carry Forward Event

In San Diego, veterans and military supporters took part in the first-ever Carry Forward, a unique 5K fitness challenge designed to raise money for WWP programs and activities. During the event, which occurred on October 6, 2018, at Liberty Station NTC Park, participants pushed their physical limits by carrying a flag, weights, or another person while running or walking a 5K course. All participants completed the challenge as individuals or squads of three or more runners.

A total of 706 people and 140 squads participated in the 2018 Carry Forward San Diego. Their support, along with that of virtual participants, raised over $45,000, which was just shy of the event’s $50,000 goal. WWP is also holding 2018 Carry Forward challenges in Nashville and Jacksonville, Florida.

 

Soldier Ride Crosses the United States

Along with Carry Forward, WWP hosts several other fund-raisers and awareness events, including Soldier Ride Across America. Launched in 2003, the Soldier Ride program engages veterans and caregivers in multi-day adaptive-cycling events. The main Soldier Ride events occur in mid-summer, but teams of cyclists recently completed a special Soldier Ride Across America in commemoration of the program’s 15th anniversary.

During the cross-country trek, three teams biked nearly 3,300 miles in just under one month. The first team of cyclists set out from One World Trade Center on September 8, 2018, and traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, where a second team took over and began traveling to Lubbock, Texas. From there, the final team started the last leg, which finished in San Diego on October 7. Each of the 36 men and women who took part in the journey rode approximately 1,000 miles while helping to raise money and awareness for various WWP initiatives, including its job training, adaptive sports, and combat recovery programs.

 

WWP Leads Suicide Prevention Efforts

Since its inception in 2003, WWP has been committed to assisting men and women with mental health issues associated with their military service. As part of these efforts, leaders from the organization recently testified before the House Committee on Veteran Affairs to discuss approaches to meeting the unique challenges that some wounded veterans face after returning from combat.

During the testimony, Mike Richardson, WWP’s vice president of independence services and mental health, discussed how a multi-pronged approach to prevention and treatment can effectively reduce post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. He also described how WWP programs such as Warrior Care Network and Project Odyssey have been successful in assisting wounded veterans. In addition to advising Congress on suicide best practices, WWP recently launched its #ShineTheLight campaign to raise awareness of suicide among veterans.

 

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Golfers Raise Money for Warrior Care Network

Each year, the Blue Angels Foundation teams up with WWP to host the Konica Minolta Golf & Tennis Classic with the goal of helping to improve mental health care for wounded veterans. Over the weekend of October 4-7, participants in the 2018 event hit the links at Del Mar Country Club and The Park Hyatt Aviara Resort Golf Course in Carlsbad, California. A tennis tournament was also held during the weekend at the Aviara Resort’s tennis facility.

In addition to enjoying golf, tennis, and fun activities, Konica Minolta Golf & Tennis Classic participants helped to support WWP’s Warrior Care Network. The Network is a collaboration between WWP and four academic medical center partners: Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, Massachusetts General in Boston, UCLA Health in Los Angeles, and Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Since it launched in 2016, the Warrior Care Network has delivered over 92,000 hours of mental health therapy to veterans across the country.

 

WWP Elects New Leadership to Board of Directors

In a September 2018 press release, WWP announced that its volunteer board of directors had elected Dr. Jonathan Woodson and Kathleen Widmer to serve as its new board chair and vice chair, respectively. Both leaders are experienced board members and have a military background. Dr. Woodson is a brigadier general in the US Army Reserves, and Ms. Widmer is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point who served for five years in the US Army.

In addition to electing a new chair and vice chair, WWP welcomed two new board members: Lisa Disbrow and Michael Hall. Two other board members, Anthony Odierno and Roger Campbell, departed because they had reached their term limits. WWP’s nine volunteer board members work throughout the year to assist the organization in meeting the various needs of wounded warriors.

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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Inspiring People to Save Lives at the American Heart Association

AHAlogoThe American Heart Association (AHA) reaches communities across the nation and around the world through its range of programs focused on cardiovascular care, research, and education. For health care professionals, the organization publishes several scientific journals and oversees strategically focused research networks to promote and advance the latest science in heart disease prevention and treatment. Additionally, the group provides emergency cardiovascular care (ECC) training for health care providers, caregivers, and members of the public.

The AHA has been a global leader in ECC science, education, and training since the early 1960s, when cardiovascular pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was first developed. Today, the Association publishes the official CPR and ECC guidelines and trains 23 million people annually in how to respond to cardiac arrest and first-aid emergencies. In addition to online courses and resources, the AHA provides CPR and ECC training through a network of more than 30,000 instructors and training centers around the globe.

Here’s a closer look at how the organization and its emergency care programs are inspiring people to save lives worldwide:

Preparing the Public for Health Emergencies

Anyone interested in learning basic or advanced lifesaving skills can turn to the AHA for a variety of virtual and in-person training programs in first aid, CPR, and the use of automatic external defibrillators. One of the organization’s most convenient training options is CPR Anytime, which includes portable training kits and self-directed learning to teach the basics of infant, child, and adult CPR and choking relief in as few as 20 minutes. CPR Anytime kits and learning materials are available through the AHA website.

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The AHA also offers more in-depth training through programs featuring a combination of online and in-person courses. At AHA training centers nationwide, professional instructors teach the Family & Friends CPR course to people who want to learn CPR but are not required to do so for their jobs. Those who do require a CPR course completion card as part of a job requirement can complete one or more of the AHA’s five Heartsaver courses, which the organization offers at its training centers and on-site at company locations. All of the AHA’s public training courses and programs are hands-on and follow the organization’s research-proven practice-while-watching training technique.

 

Enhancing the Knowledge and Skills of Health Care Professionals

After completing their initial medical training, physicians, nurses, emergency medical technicians, and other health care professionals rely on the AHA to stay current with the latest emergency-response techniques. Along with its Basic Life Support course, the organization offers its Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support course for professionals looking to enhance their skills in responding to cardiopulmonary emergencies in a health care setting. The AHA’s other professional training offerings include the Pediatric Advanced Life Support course, which focuses on emergency treatment of infants, children, and adolescents.

As with its training programs for the general public, the AHA offers different options for the delivery of its professional courses. Health care providers can complete the programs in a classroom under the guidance of an instructor or through blended learning activities that combine online training with in-person skills sessions. The AHA delivers its blended courses through HeartCode, a self-directed eLearning program that uses lifelike animations and eSimulation technology to prepare students for real resuscitation events.

 

Providing Workforce Training and CPR in Schools

For a number of years, the AHA has worked in partnership with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to promote workplace safety and advance programs that support workers’ health and well-being. As part of these efforts, the Association delivers workplace training programs in pediatric and adult first aid and CPR. The AHA also offers training focused on blood-borne pathogens and provides resources to help business leaders develop and maintain AED programs in their companies. In addition to their use in construction and manufacturing, AHA’s workplace training programs are widely implemented across the oil and gas, security, and childcare industries.

CPR

Beyond the workplace, students and educators across the country use the AHA’s CPR in Schools Training Kit to learn and practice cardiac resuscitation techniques. The reusable kits contain inflatable manikins, training DVDs, and instructional materials that can be used to teach CPR skills to up to 20 people within a single class period. The AHA also offers additional resources to help teachers and administrators start and sustain CPR and AED training programs in schools nationwide.

 

Highlighting the Importance of Emergency Preparedness

Each year, the AHA, American Red Cross, National Safety Council, and other organizations celebrate National CPR and AED Awareness Week during the first week in June. Established in 2007, the national awareness event highlights how many lives could be saved if more people knew how to perform CPR and use an AED. The week also raises awareness of how important it is for bystanders to respond to emergencies involving cardiac arrest. To promote National CPR and AED Awareness Week, the AHA offers a variety of materials, including posters, fact sheets, and email templates, on its website at www.cpr.heart.org.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

heart health

You Need to Know about These 4 Ways to Prevent Heart Disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the number-one cause of death among men and women in the United States, killing an average of 610,000 people and causing 735,000 heart attacks each year. As such, it’s crucial that Americans adopt various preventative measures to reduce their risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) has outlined the following actions individuals of all ages can undertake in order to maintain a healthy heart and prolong their life:

 

  1. Maintain an Active Lifestyle.

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A lack of regular exercise contributes to the death of an estimated 250,000 Americans per year, therefore it’s important to engage in some form of physical activity every day. You don’t have to be lifting weights in the gym or running miles outdoors either. The AHA recommends 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Although playing a sport or taking up running are great ways to ensure you get the required amount of exercise, you can reduce your risk of heart disease simply by starting a walking program or riding a bicycle.

While it’s helpful to start being physically active from a young age to establish a habit, it’s never too late to being exercising regularly. A study published in the journal Circulation found that it can take as few as six years for middle-age people to experience a 23 percent reduction in risk of heart failure after increasing their physical activity to AHA-recommended levels. Study participants who said they met the recommended physical activity levels experienced a 31 percent decrease in potential for heart risk failure, whereas those who reported a decrease in physical activity experienced an 18 percent increase in heart failure risk.

 

  1. Eat a Balanced and Healthy Diet.

In addition to influencing your weight, the food you eat can affect your chances of experiencing heart disease. The AHA suggests adopting a healthy eating plan as early in life as possible and, while it recommends eating a high volume of fruits and vegetables, you don’t have to become a vegetarian. Instead, try eating lean cuts when you do eat meat, and consume at least one meatless meal per week. “Going meatless is as simple as moving vegetables and fruits from a side dish to a starring role,” notes Rachel Johnson, a University of Vermont nutrition professor. “You should also seek out high-fiber whole grains, beans and legumes, unsalted nuts, and lower fat and fat-free dairy foods. These tend to be high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other important phytonutrients.”

If cutting back on meat sounds like too tall an order, consider eating more skinless chicken and omega-3-rich fish instead of pork and beef. You should also limit your portion size to six ounces and remove all visible fat.

 

  1. Don’t Smoke.

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Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your heart health and one of the most preventable causes of early death in the United States. In addition to putting you at a higher risk of developing atherosclerosis (clogged arteries), which can lead to a stroke or coronary heart disease, it has a negative impact on other risk factors. For instance, smoking regularly can decrease your HDL (good) cholesterol as well as your tolerance for physical activity. Moreover, if you already have a family history of heart disease, smoking can exacerbate your risk level. Even being around someone who smokes can increase your risk of heart disease; a US Surgeon General report found that the risk of lung cancer or heart disease for nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work rises by as much as 30 percent.

 

  1. Manage Stress Levels.

You can avoid smoking, maintain a healthy diet, and exercise regularly, but you’ll still be at risk of heart disease if you allow stress to control your life. A recent study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that work-related pressure is associated with a 48 percent increased risk of atrial fibrillation, which can lead to dementia, stroke, or heart failure, and manifests through symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, palpitations, or dizziness. “People who feel stressed at work and have palpitations or other symptoms of atrial fibrillation should see their doctor and speak to their employer about improving the situation at work,” says Eleonor Fransson, one of the authors of the study.

If you’re unwilling or unable to find a more suitable job or work environment, there are several things you can do outside of work to reduce your stress level. In addition to the following the aforementioned three recommendations, consider cutting back on coffee consumption or making a habit to perform relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, or even deep breathing. Getting enough sleep is also an excellent way to lower your risk of heart disease and, in that regard, the AHA suggests aiming for between seven and eight hours per night.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.