American Heart Month is the 4 weeks of February

American Heart Month

Since it’s now February, it is American Heart Month.  I haven’t seen a “Presidential Proclamation” of such, but the American Heart Association is proceeding – urging all Americans to focus some time on the problem of cardiovascular disease in this country.  Did you know that, although deaths from heart disease have dropped over 35% in the last 10 years, mostly from reduced numbers of people smoking, that heart disease is still the #1 killer of Americans, both men and women.  American Heart Month - February

Sure, the public paradigm is that heart attacks, cardiac arrest, and deaths from cardiovascular disease only happen to overweight, older men that are highly stressed.  That’s not the reality, as healthy folks in their 20’s, even athletes, die from cardiac arrest or heart disease.  As a country, in general, we don’t eat properly, we don’t get enough aerobic exercise.  When we do get aerobic exercise in January, it’s been after a 10-month fast from exercise.  This heart muscle that we expect to be active 24 hours per day, every day of our life, needs our support.  Even walking a mile a day 3 times per week can drastically improve our heart health.  If you smoke, quit.  That’s the best advice to keep your ticker working for many years.  Eat more fish, more fiber, more fruits and vegetables, more nuts &  legumes, and less red meat.  In general. again, we ingest too much sugar, fat, and sodium in our diet – and even small dietary changes can be helpful.  Hands-Only CPR in GA

You should know your numbers, as far as blood sugar and blood pressure are concerned.  Even if you’ve never been advised you have hypertension or are borderline diabetic – nobody knew they were until they got tested.  If you’re near Newnan or Peachtree City, Piedmont Heart Institute in Sharpsburg is having a free heart health fair, on Sat. 2/15, from 9 am – 2 pm.  Come by and get your numbers checked (also BMA and cholesterol), pick up some educational materials, and even talk to their staff about your heart health issues (in general – there’s no personal physical exam).  Hey, you might even have a chance to learn CPR free (not certification-level, just how to do Hands-Only CPR).

The AHA says about 383,000 Americans die from cardiac arrest each year.  Experts believe 60% or better of them could live, that is they died prematurely and needlessly.  What would save them?  Generally, earlier performance of high quality CPR, and early defibrillation.  In the average cardiac arrest, someone witnesses the person fall, and calls 9-1-1, and in 6-9 minutes EMS arrives, starts CPR, and defibrillates them, transports them to the hospital where they are pronounced dead.  That’s why only 6% or so of cardiac arrest victims survive in our area.  Fault of EMS?  Absolutely not, they are just located too far from victims, in an emergency that the first 3-5 minutes means life or death.  Some communities have dozens of publically available Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to help people.  In this are, do you know where one is within 10 miles?  You gonna drive to Hartsfield Airport to get an AED?  (Hint – more businesses need to buy them).  BLS Renewal Challenge Certification

Anyway, we’ll do our part this Feb., by offering 10 occurrences of Free CPR.  Some are 1 1/2 hour AHA Family & Friends CPR courses, with DVD and student book, (not certification-level CPR, however), and some are just quickly showing people how to do chest compressions on a manikin.  You won’t be “BLS-certified” in 6 minutes or an hour, but you’ll learn how to save the life of a friend, loved one, or co-worker that suffers cardiac arrest.  Nationwide, between 20-30% of cardiac arrest victims receive CPR prior to EMS arrival.  99% of the ones that don’t receive “Bystander CPR”, also never get to hug a family member or see tomorrow.

Here’s the first two:

Senoia          Thu  2/6

Fayetteville   Mon. 2/10

Learning CPR probably won’t help you, cause you can’t do CPR on yourself.  I urge everyone to learn the skills needed, to be ready to save a family member, neighbor or friend.  People say they don’t take CPR class cause it’s too expensive, or they don’t want to put their mouth on a stranger’s mouth.  Hey, in Feb., this training is free, and for adults and teens that collapse from apparent cardiac arrest (no indications of drowning, strangulation, or drug overdose), then “Hands-Only CPR” is the recommended treatment.  That means you don’t have to put your mouth on mine if I collapse from cardiac arrest.  Any other excuses?  Too busy or no time?  Please, the funeral for your Dad, aunt or child will take more time than learning this skill, and knowing CPR just might let you avoid that funeral till your loved one lives to a ripe old age.  CPR_handsOnManikin164_125