Throughout the year, our blog will feature AHA volunteer stories of survival and hope. We know there are thousands of stories like these - thats why we want to say “Thanks” to all of you for giving your time and sharing your lives with us. You can’t spell CURE without U! Thank you for all you do to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. YOU’RE THE CURE!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

CDC- Family Health- The 12 ways to health holiday song

The first way to health, said the CDC to me…

To listen and sing along:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

America’s Health Rankings

Recently, the Partnership for Prevention, of which American Heart Association is an active member, and United Health Foundation released its annual report: America’s Health Rankings. The report, which includes a “one pager” on the health status of each state, calls out an alarming increase in the rate of obesity and also provides important information on tobacco use, high blood pressure prevalence, etc. Follow this link to view the report on Illinois.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Obesity has increased 137 percent from 11.6 percent of the adult population in the 1990 Edition to 27.5 percent in the 2011 Edition; meaning today, more than one in four Americans are considered obese. Obesity continues to be one of the fastest growing health issues in our nation and America is spending billions in direct health care costs associated with poor diet and physical inactivity.

  • Smoking has been one of the biggest health battles for decades. In the past year, the prevalence of smoking decreased from 17.9 percent to 17.3 percent of the adult population, the lowest in 22 years (from a high of 29.5 percent in the 1990 Edition). But tobacco use is still estimated to be responsible for one out of five deaths annually (approximately 443,000 deaths per year).

  • Children living in poverty are challenged by lack of access to health care, limited availability of healthy foods, constrained choices for physical activity, limited access to appropriate educational opportunities and stressful living conditions. The number of children in poverty has increased for the last five years. A steady increase has occurred, from 17.4 percent of children reported in the 2007 Edition to 21.5 percent of children in the 2011 Edition.

  • Lack of health insurance coverage increased from 16.0 percent in the 2010 Edition to 16.2 percent in the 2011 Edition, and has increased more than two full percentage points since the 2001 Edition (13.9 percent to 16.2 percent).

  • Diabetes diagnosis is significantly higher than it was five years ago. According to the report, 8.7 percent of American adults have been told by a physician that they have diabetes. A recent report from the CDC estimates that the number of Americans with diabetes will range from 1 in 5 to 1 in 3 by 2050. This means a large number of people are either at risk for diabetes or are unaware they have the disease and are not being medically managed.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Turn the White House Red!

25,000 signatures. That's what we need in the next 30 days (ends Jan. 4, 2012) for the White House to consider our petition to illuminate the building in red to honor National Wear Red Day® and American Heart Month.

The truth is we need you, our supporters, to show the White House how important it is to remember women who died from heart disease, celebrate women who have survived, and educate everyone on our No. 1 killer of women.

Every signature makes a difference, so sign up and share with colleagues, friends and family today! There are a few steps, but with your help we can get there!

1. Visit our special petition page.
2. Create an account (we know, what a pain!)
3. Watch for a verification email.
4. Sign the petition.
5. Share with family, friends, and colleagues to encourage their support too!

Make a Difference Now.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

U.S. Rep. Lois Capps Reintroduces The HEART For Women Act

November 30, 2011

U.S. Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., today reintroduced vital legislation aimed at improving the cardiovascular health of millions of women nationwide.

The HEART for Women Act would require the U.S. Health and Human Services secretary to submit an annual report to Congress on the quality of and access to care for women with cardiovascular disease. It would also ensure that new and experimental drug and medical device safety and efficacy data reported to the federal government is classified by gender, race and ethnicity. Additionally, the legislation would expand eligibility for funding to all 50 states for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s WISEWOMAN screening program for low-income, underinsured and uninsured women.

“While we have made great progress in the fight against heart disease it remains the number one killer of American women, needlessly claiming the lives of far too many of our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters,” Capps said. “Unfortunately not enough people — including health professionals — recognize that heart disease poses such a serious and unique threat to women, and far too many women pay a terrible price for that lack of knowledge. My legislation addresses this critical health issue by ensuring more women have access to screening for heart disease, filling the critical knowledge gaps by ensuring that healthcare professionals are informed about the risks of cardiovascular disease in women, and supporting increased data collection to identify new treatments for women.”

American Heart Association President Gordon Tomaselli, M.D., said the measure would make a major impact. “With nearly 422,000 women’s lives lost each year from heart disease and stroke, we applaud U.S. Representative Lois Capps for introducing legislation that will help improve the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of the number one killer of women. The HEART for Women Act seeks to eliminate cardiovascular inequities and reduce death rates from this largely preventable disease,” Tomaselli said.

“Women have a greater risk of heart disease than men. It is imperative to provide access to proper cardiovascular disease care for all women through passage of the HEART for Women Act. The HEART for Women Act is vital to the health of all women and is must-pass legislation,” said Phyllis Greenberger, M.S.W., president and chief executive officer of the Society for Women’s Health Research.

“We need to know how drugs, treatments and devices affect women living with heart disease if we are going to decrease morbidity and mortality caused by heart disease, the number one killer of women. This bill will shine a light on how well the FDA reports research results stratified by sex, race and ethnicity,” said Lisa M. Tate, chief executive officer of WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease.

Every minute, someone’s wife, mother, daughter or sister dies from heart disease, stroke or other forms of cardiovascular disease in the U.S. More than one in three women has some form of cardiovascular disease, including nearly half of all African-American women and 34 percent of white women. More than 90 percent of primary care physicians do not know that more women die each year from these diseases than men, according to an American Heart Association survey.

The HEART for Women Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate earlier this year by Senators Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and has received strong bipartisan support. In addition to the American Heart Association, Society for Women’s Health Research and WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, the bill is also supported by more than 40 other organizations. For more information, visit .

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Contact:Kanika M. Lewis
Communications Manager, Media Advocacy

Friday, December 2, 2011


December 2011

Dear Friend of Heart:

Our Scientific Sessions was held last month in Orlando, Fla. This international conference showcases ground-breaking research and clinical trials with 22,000 medical professionals. The news is then fed to the media where it will reach millions more. A huge undertaking, Scientific Sessions is critical to learning more about the causes of cardiovascular diseases and how to better diagnose, treat and prevent them.

The conference will lead to developments in science that will touch every community across the country and abroad. Such outcomes would not be possible without volunteers and partners who share our vision of what an investment in research, science and education can mean to everyone.
Can you imagine a world free of heart disease and stroke? Erica Chapman can. She is a survivor who works in our West Michigan office. As a congenital valve replacement patient, she had her first surgery at four days old. Now in her 30s, she’s had another operation to update her current aortic valve, and will require further surgery in the next 15-20 years. Erica knows from the research we fund today that the next surgery will probably use mainly non-invasive techniques, for which she is grateful. She is amazed at the vision researchers have for her procedures.

With your help, we can make those visions a reality. Consider making a personal gift or including the American Heart Association in your will or estate plan. You will leave a legacy that will fund research and education, benefiting patients like Erica long after you’re gone. To learn more, visit

I also want to take a moment to reflect on how the gifts and efforts of so many have improved and saved lives in 2011. We were able to fund research that may someday save the life of someone you know. We educated hundreds of thousands of people about their health and risk factors. And we worked hard to teach millions of Midwesterners critical CPR skills, educate legislators in our 11 states on our policy priorities, and improve hospital patient care processes so that a supportive and effective system will be in place when you or your loved one is in need.

None of this vision would be possible without you and your support. In short, you are helping to save lives. At this season of giving, I want to thank you for your involvement from the bottom of my heart.

Warm regards,

Kevin Harker
Executive Vice President, Midwest Affiliate