American Heart Association Programs
The American Heart Association is a part of your everyday life: When a loved one suffers a stroke and doctors minimize brain damage by using diagnostic tools and drugs developed with AHA-funded research. When you shop at the grocery store and find heart-healthy foods with the AHA Heart checkmark. When you and your kids don’t have to breathe second-hand smoke in restaurants because the AHA helped to pass legislation to limit smoking in public. Some notable local programs:
Our Go Red For Women movement celebrates the energy, passion and power of women to band together to wipe out heart diseases and stroke. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, claiming over 500,000 lives each year, about one woman per minute. By dispelling the perception that heart disease is a “man’s disease” and getting women to talk to their doctors about heart disease, thousands of lives are saved.
Our Heart Walk addresses the fact that 70% of Americans don’t get enough exercise. Physical inactivity is a leading risk factor for heart diseases and stroke. We’re calling on all Americans to get walking and calling on corporate America to create a culture of physical activity to create Fit-Friendly workplaces. Our Power to End Stroke campaign seeks to reduce incidents of stroke among African-Americans, who have twice the risk of stroke than other populations. In fact, African Americans 35-54 years old have four times the relative risk. By raising awareness and promoting culturally based lifestyle changes, together we will save lives of loved ones from this devastating disease.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Fewer than 3 percent of people suffering the most common kind of stroke get the best treatment available. Less than half of all people who have a heart attack are treated with the most effective intervention. Every minute matters with a heart attack or stroke, and making sure that care is coordinated and continuous is critical to saving lives.
The AHA is working to ensure that each cardiac and stroke patient receives the right care at the right time. One way to achieve this is to establish a cardiac and a stroke system of care. We need to ensure each link in the chain of survival – from the onset of the emergency to the arrival of services to the proper transfer of the patient to the immediacy and quality of care – is solid. We are working with many health industry stakeholders in this complex process, and we need to clear hurdles on a legislative level. The AHA made an important first step toward improving heart attack and stroke outcomes by working to pass legislation in the House and Senate that allows the Department of Health to establish a voluntary cardiac and stroke system of care.
One way you can help us save lives is to broaden CPR training in our community. AHA needs your support to bring CPR Anytime programs to area middle and high schools (www.cpranytime.org). Using CPR Anytime kits, students learn how to save a life then train family and friends with the take-home kits. About 80 percent of cardiac arrests happen in the home, witnessed by a loved one. Immediate CPR can double or triple chances of survival.