New CPR Guidelines Released

10/18/2010

The American Heart Association announces its new Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) guidelines today. Released only once every five years, these guidelines — driven by the latest in scientific research — are critical to the treatment of hundreds of thousands of cardiac arrest victims every year. The guidelines are the basis for CPR training for organizations around the globe.  

For more than 40 years, the American Heart Association has been setting the guidelines for worldwide CPR training. Today’s updated guidelines release focuses on getting more people to take action and save lives.

The facts show the importance of a ready public, trained to administer CPR:

  • Last year alone, the American Heart Association trained more than 13 million people in CPR worldwide.
  • Less than eight percent of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside the hospital survive, but immediate, effective CPR can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival.
  • Research shows that good chest compressions can help save more lives — that’s why they are now the first step in the CPR. Compressions, Airway and Breathing (C-A-B) is our new recommendation.
  • CPR resources are available at AHA website http://www.heart.org/cpr.

The release of these guidelines is a great opportunity to connect with readers of all CPR skill levels. For the novice, it could inspire them to learn the technique for the first time, take a refresher course or have the confidence to do step in and do something in an emergency. For the healthcare professional, it is an opportunity to delve into the science behind these new guidelines.


Join Americans across the country in National Start! Walking Day

04/07/2010

Laila Ali, world champion athlete and former professional boxer, is encouraging people to walk 30 minutes today as part of National Start! Walking Day.

From coast to coast, Americans will lace up their sneakers and take steps — literally — to increase physical activity when they participate in today’s events.

            National Start! Walking Day, in its fourth year — including more than 3.2 million people representing about 1,300 companies — is sponsored by the American Heart Association as part of its Start! initiative.  Start! champions walking because it has the lowest dropout rate of any physical activity.  The association conducts the National Start! Walking Day primarily in the workplace because jobs are becoming increasingly sedentary and Americans are working 164 more hours per year than 20 years ago.

 Ali is a natural choice of spokesperson for the American Heart Association. “I’ve always been interested in health and wellness, and I am honored to work with the American Heart Association, an organization dedicated to preventing heart disease,” said Ali, whose family has a history of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. “As a working mother, I have to fit my workouts in when I can.”

In January, the American Heart Association identified physical activity as one of seven key factors to achieve ideal cardiovascular health as part of its new 2020 goal to improve cardiovascular health and reduce deaths.

According to a recent American Heart Association study, only 15 percent of American adults achieve the association’s recommended levels of moderate aerobic exercise, 30 minutes a day for five days a week.

            “The importance of regular physical activity cannot be overstated,” said Clyde Yancy, M.D., president of the American Heart Association.  “Our latest research demonstrates that 70 percent of American adults report being told by a healthcare professional to make a lifestyle change and 33 percent of those were told to exercise more. Simply put, we all need to get up and do more.”

The American Heart Association recommends that all adults avoid inactivity. Walking vigorously for as little as 30 minutes, preferably most days of the week, can promote weight loss, decrease the risk of coronary heart disease and lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, the association said. Additional benefits occur as the amount and intensity of physical activity increases. Some adults also may gain up to two hours of life expectancy for each hour of regular, vigorous physical activity, such as very brisk walking.

The American Heart Association’s robust Web site — startwalkingnow.org — includes strategies to help people get started and stay on a physical activity regimen. They include:

  • Local walking paths. To find one near you, visit startwalkingnow.org.
  • Three customized walking programs (beginner, intermediate and advanced)
  • Online tracking tools to document calories consumed, steps taken and routes walked
  • Sole mates social networking capabilities to find and support like-minded walkers
  • Downloadable seasonal walking guides with tips to maintain a routine regardless of weather
  • Walking videos, produced in collaboration with ExerciseTV, that make an at-home workout easier with tips and motivation
  • Social media daily walking guide with inspirational messages, heart-health tips of the day, video content from Exercise TV, community chat capability and a private journal

 About the American Heart Association

Founded in 1924, we’re the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. To help prevent, treat and defeat these diseases — America’s No. 1 and No. 3 killers — we fund cutting-edge research, conduct lifesaving public and professional educational programs, and advocate to protect public health. To learn more or join us in helping all Americans, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit americanheart.org


50-year-old cholesterol medication makes a comeback?

12/07/2009

 A recent cholesterol trial called ARBITER 6-HALTS was discussed at the American Heart Association national meeting and published in the New England Journal of Medicine last month. Three hundred and sixty three men and women with known heart disease or vascular disease were enrolled in this study. All of the patients LDL (bad) cholesterol levels were < 100 mg/dl (goal LDL in this high risk group is < 70) so the LDL was good but could be better. Their HDL (good) cholesterol levels were acceptable but a little low (< 50 mg/dl). When HDL levels are low patients are not receiving adequate protection against heart disease and stroke. Half of the patients received treatment with ezetimibe (Zetia) in addition to a statin treatment to further lower LDL levels. The remaining patients received extended-release niacin in addition to a statin to improve HDL levels. So this study set out to see which treatment would be more beneficial – further lowering of LDL (bad) cholesterol or raising HDL (good) cholesterol in a high-risk group of patients.

After 14 months of treatment cholesterol results improved in both patients receiving ezetimibe and patients receiving niacin. The interesting finding was the niacin patients had a reversal of plaque inside the blood vessels in the neck; this was measured by a test called carotid IMT. The patients in the ezetimibe (Zetia) group surprisingly did not experience the same benefit. This was a small study but clearly suggests that niacin, which is a 50-year-old medication, may be more beneficial than some of the newer medications like ezetimibe. Remember all of these patients were also receiving a statin medication for cholesterol management. Unfortunately many patients are unable to tolerate high doses of niacin due to the side effects. Niacin is an inexpensive medication and available over the counter but we recommend you talk with your health care provider before starting niacin treatment.

For more heart healthy info visit www.heart-strong.com


Heart Health: One E-mail Can Help Women with Heart Disease

09/17/2009

(From AHA Go Red Newsletter)

Did you know that today, a woman can be charged health insurance premiums 150% higher than a man of the same age? Unfortunately, it’s true. Studies have found that women pay significantly higher premiums than men of the same age for individual health insurance policies providing identical coverage. And these higher health care costs can put coverage out of reach for women with heart disease and even for women who are taking preventative measures to reduce their risk. And in most states, those with a pre-existing medical condition as common as high blood pressure can be denied coverage altogether or charged unaffordable premiums. That’s why we’re calling on you, as a member of the Go Red for Women movement, to make your voice heard and join us in letting Congress know that the fight against our Nation’s No. 1 killer of women requires urgent action on health care reform. On September 30th, American Heart Association advocates will be on Capitol Hill to discuss the challenges they face as heart disease survivors in affording health care coverage — and they need your help to make their message impossible to ignore.

Email your Members of Congress today and let them know women with heart disease need their support in reforming the broken health care system.

Go to http://www.heartsforhealthcare.org/default.aspx


National CPR & AED Awareness Week

06/02/2009

Matt, a senior offensive tackle, felt like his chest exploded when he collapsed on the sidelines at his high school football game. Quick action by his parents who knew cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the availability of an onsite automated external defibrillator (AED) saved his life.

The first week of June is National CPR and AED Awareness Week! To celebrate this week devoted to saving lives, the American Heart Association has set an aggressive goal of training ONE MILLION people during the month of June! And they need YOUR help to meet this goal.

Visit http://www.cprweek.org today for all of the information you will need to get trained.

Advocate for CPR training and AED access by showing your support for the Josh Miller HEARTS Act. Congress is currently considering the bill which would establish a grant program to help schools purchase AEDs, and provide training for their use as part of an overall emergency medical response plan, to respond to cases of sudden cardiac arrest on school grounds.