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Spotlight on the Latest News from the American Heart Association

AHAlogoThe American Heart Association’s (AHA) efforts to save lives go far beyond its activities to educate the public about heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular issues. Since its inception nearly a century ago, the AHA has focused much of its work on researching methods for treating and preventing heart disease, which is now the leading cause of death in the United States.

With the help of individual supporters, as well as corporate and nonprofit partners, the AHA has invested more than $4.1 billion in various research projects and initiatives. Today, the organization oversees one of the nation’s largest and most trusted research programs in the areas of heart and brain health. Read on for a closer look at recent news from the AHA research network.

 

Study Says Exercising after a Heart Attack May Lead to Better Health Outcomes

Although many heart attack survivors worry about the effects of exercise on their recovering heart, a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association links physical activity to improved odds of survival. The study, which examined data on over 22,000 heart attack patients in Sweden, found that those who exercised within the first year of having a heart attack were much less likely to die over the next four years compared to those who remained physically inactive.

According to the study’s findings, while any physical activity was beneficial for patients recovering from a heart attack, those who continued with regular exercise demonstrated the greatest benefit. The AHA and the study’s authors hope that the findings will encourage more heart attack survivors to set aside their concerns about exercising during the immediate recovery period and beyond.

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Unconventional Organ Donors Could Help Those Awaiting a Heart Transplant

In the United States, the number of people in need of a heart transplant has risen steadily over the last decade. Today, over 100,000 people are awaiting a transplant. However, a lack of available donor organs threatens their survival. Two separate studies that appeared in the AHA’s journal Circulation: Heart Failure and the Journal of the American Heart Association suggest that expanding the current donor pool may help to save lives.

Specifically, researchers leading the respective studies explored opportunities to expand the donor pool by accepting hearts from obese donors and those who had an active hepatitis C infection at the time of their death. The hearts and other organs from these donor groups are used infrequently in transplants, even though previous studies have shown that they have little negative impact on overall survival rates among transplant recipients. The studies’ authors cite the need for further research, while stating that these types of out-of-the-box strategies may be necessary to meet the growing need for donor hearts.

 

Heart Attack Rates Are Rising Among Young People

Although past research has shown an overall decline in the rate of heart attack in the United States, a recent study published in Circulation, the AHA journal, found that heart attacks among patients 35 to 54 years of age have actually increased in recent years. The surprising findings of the study, which were presented at the AHA’s 2018 Scientific Sessions, highlight the need for an increased focus on this age group.

In particular, the study underscores the often-overlooked problem of heart disease among young women, who showed a bigger jump in heart attacks than young men over the same period. The study’s findings pointed to high blood pressure, diabetes, weight issues, and a lack of proper medical intervention as some of the reasons for the recent increase in heart attacks among young people.

 

Researchers Receive Recognition during 2018 Scientific Sessions

Each year, the AHA honors the work of outstanding researchers as part of the activities at its annual Scientific Sessions. In 2018, the researchers who took home awards included Dr. David G. Harrison of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine for his research on hypertension. Dr. Harrison was awarded the AHA’s Basic Research Prize, which is given for outstanding achievement in basic cardiovascular disease science.

The other 2018 award winners were Dr. William Hiatt, Dr. Gary Gibbons, and Dr. Mary Cushman. They received awards for their work on peripheral artery disease, heart disease among minorities, and the causes of cardiovascular disease, respectively.

 

The AHA Provides $43 Million for Brain Health Initiative

In addition to recognizing outstanding researchers, the AHA announced the recipients of $43 million awarded as part of a research initiative into brain health and cognitive impairment. The AHA and The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group are leading the collaborative funding initiative with support from additional contributors such as the Oskar Fischer Project and the Henrietta B. and Frederick H. Bugher Foundation.

Through the initiative, Fred “Rusty” Gage of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies is receiving $19.2 million to lead an eight-year study examining the cells that drive the aging process. Two more honorees, Tony Wyss-Coray of Stanford and Mukesh Jain of University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, will each receive $9.6 million for multi-year cognitive health studies. The three researchers will all launch their projects in early 2019. Additional information about the research initiative and other AHA research news is available at http://www.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.

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children

Boys and Girls Clubs Get a Big Boost from Holiday Support

boysandgirlsclubTo continue its important work as a youth-focused nonprofit organization, Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) depends on volunteer support and financial contributions from businesses and individual donors. BGCA collects donations throughout the year, but the holiday season is an important period in its annual fundraising efforts.

Every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, many corporations invite their customers to embrace the spirit of the season by supporting fundraising campaigns benefiting Boys and Girls Clubs nationwide. Read on to learn about 2018 holiday fundraising campaigns and find out more about what you can do to support BGCA all year long.

 

A Look at BGCA’s 2018 Holiday Partners

A number of large corporations, including Coca-Cola, Disney, and UPS, have provided BCGA with millions of dollars through ongoing partnerships with the organization. These and other companies often increase their support during the holiday season to ensure that Clubs have the resources needed to operate in the upcoming year.

Here’s a quick look BGCA’s 2018 holiday partners and their fundraising efforts:

Buffalo Wild Wings – Buffalo Wild Wings, the largest sports bar brand in the US, directs its fundraising efforts toward Boys and Girls Clubs’ ALL STARS team sports program, which engages youth in football, basketball, soccer, cheer, step, and other activities. Through its 2018 holiday fundraiser, the national restaurant chain is pledging to donate $1 to the ALL STARS program for every bottle of its signature sauces and dry seasonings sold in its US locations. With the addition of other fundraising events, the goal is to raise at least $22 million.

The Coca-Cola Company – Coca-Cola has been supporting BGCA programs and activities for more than seven decades. During the 2018 holiday season, the company is partnering with Family Dollar on a campaign to give Boys and Girls Clubs 15 percent of the proceeds (up to $1 million) from all eligible purchases of Coke products sold in Family Dollar stores. The campaign represents the culmination of a yearlong partnership between Coca-Cola and Family Dollar.

Family Dollar – In addition to its partnership with Coca-Cola, Family Dollar is selling special gift bags designed by Club members, the net proceeds of which will benefit Boys and Girls Clubs. The national chain of discount stores also sells holiday-themed gift cards to support its seasonal donation to BGCA programs.

Forever 21 – Known for offering trendy clothing at affordable prices, Forever 21 is putting the “fun” in fundraising by giving Boys and Girls Clubs $1 every time a customer makes a purchase from its Ugly Sweater Collection. As part of the holiday campaign, the fashion retailer has promised BGCA up to $100,000.

Neiman Marcus – Through its Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation, Neiman Marcus supports youth arts education programs across the United States. During the holiday season, the American chain of luxury department stores promotes its partnership with BGCA via its exclusive Christmas Book as well as in-store and online advertising.

Cedar Fair Entertainment Company – With 13 amusement parks across the country, Cedar Fair Entertainment Company is known for offering family-oriented fun. As part of its commitment to kids and families, Cedar Fair is supporting BGCA through its 2018 Winterfest events. Winterfest guests have the opportunity to make a $5 donation when purchasing tickets for the event online. Cedar Fair is also providing coin collection boxes at Winterfest to raise additional money for BGCA during the holiday season.

 

What You Can Do to Support Boys and Girls Clubs Year-Round

In addition to participating in annual fundraisers and holiday giving programs, you can invest in America’s youth by supporting BGCA in a number of ways. Whether you’re looking to volunteer your time or give financially, here are some options to consider.

One-Time and Recurring Donations – Boys and Girls Clubs makes it easy to donate at any time through its secure online giving portal. With any major credit card, you can make a one-time gift or set up a monthly donation of any amount. BGCA also gives you the option of dedicating your gift to a friend or family member.

Planned Giving and Donations of Assets – If you’d like to make a lasting impact on America’s youth, you can make BGCA a beneficiary of your estate through the organization’s planned giving program. Gift options include cash, appreciated securities, real estate, insurance, and retirement assets. BGCA also accepts one-time charitable gifts of common stocks and mutual fund shares.

Online Fundraisers – You don’t have to wait until the holiday season to participate in a BGCA fundraiser. In fact, you can start your own fundraising campaign via online platforms such as CrowdRise. Special events like birthdays and weddings are the perfect time to spread the love and raise money for Club youth. If you’re participating in a community walk or race, consider turning the event into a BGCA fundraiser.

Volunteer – Local Clubs across the country rely on caring volunteers to assist with daily activities. As a Club volunteer, you can help with homework, oversee sports events, conduct an art project, or simply provide guidance to local youth. More information about volunteer opportunities in your area is available at www.bgca.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

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.

walking

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.