It’s time to break out the red, as February is American Heart Month. American Heart Month is celebrated every February since 1964 in order to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death according to The American Heart Association, with a projected 23.6 million deaths from cardiovascular disease per year by 2030. American Heart Month aims to inform Americans that simple changes to diet and lifestyle can lower the risk of a cardiovascular disease by as much as 80 percent.
However despite a healthy lifestyle, cardiovascular disease can still develop, leading to sudden cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest, or the sudden cessation of heart function in a person with heart disease, happens in a matter of seconds and is deadly if action is not taken.
Bystander CPR can double sudden cardiac arrest survival rates. Last spring, The American Heart association began a campaign in Pennsylvania that pushes for legislation that would ensure students to have basic CPR skills by the time they graduate high school. This fall, The American Heart Association distributed cards in which receivers of which could express why they support heart and stroke legislative policies. These cards were then sent to Pennsylvania legislators to encourage the legislative Bill, titled House Bill No. 1097, to be approved.
Berks County schools have been encouraging students to become more aware about cardiovascular disease, and how to be more than a passive bystander in case of a sudden cardiovascular emergency.
Twin Valley High School’s HOSA-Future Health Professionals were awarded a Ross Dress for Less grant of 20 CPR practice manikins, classes were able to practice hands-only CPR. Twin Valley HOSA-Future Health Professionals also wrote letters in support of House Bill No. 1097 that they presented to Pennsylvania State Representative Mark Gillian.
With a greater focus on cardiovascular health, better lifestyle choices, and training to respond to cardiac arrest, it is possible to save lives and lower the statistics not just in Berks County but across America.