WITH HEART—American Heart Association
By Catherine Hunt
THE AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. Six cardiologists started the association in 1924, and it has grown to include more than 30 million volunteers and supporters to date. Heart disease and stroke are the top two global causes of death, stroke also being a leading cause of disability. Cardiovascular diseases affect more than one in every three American adults, many becoming seriously burdened by disabilities. To fight such diseases, the American Heart Association funds innovative research, while advocating for stronger public health policies, and also providing the tools and information needed to save and improve lives.
The association’s goals are to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans and reduce cardiovascular related deaths by 20 percent, all by the year 2020. Their overall goal is to help people understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle by providing science-based treatment guidelines for healthcare professionals to follow. They are the nation’s leader in CPR education and have also funded several lifesaving advances such as the first artificial heart valve, cholesterol-lowering drugs, and heart transplantation. Risks of cardiovascular diseases and stroke can be lowered by adhering to their ‘Life’s Simple 7’ rule: not smoking, staying physically active, maintaining a healthy body weight, eating healthy, controlling blood pressure, controlling cholesterol and controlling blood sugar. This nationwide organization includes 146 local offices and more than 3,400 employees. •
To assess your cardiovascular health, visit MyLifeCheck.org and answer a few questions. To volunteer with the American Heart Association visit www.heart.org/HEARTORG/volunteer, or contact their Sacramento location at (916) 446-6505 for more information.