The opening paragraph of this year's American Heart Month Presidential Proclamation makes it clear that heart disease remains an ongoing health issue in the U.S.:
"Maintaining a strong heart is key to a long and healthy life. The number one killer of American men and women, cardiovascular disease is responsible for one out of every four deaths in the United States. During American Heart Month, we renew our fight, both as a Nation and in each of our own lives, against the devastating epidemic of heart disease."
Our neighbors to the North also designate February as the ideal month to think about giving our hard-working hearts the exercise and nutritional support they need. According to Canada's Heart & Stroke Foundation:
"Today, heart disease and stroke take one life every 7 minutes and 90% of Canadians have at least one risk factor."
"Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost can be thought of as “healthy years of life lost”. They indicate the total burden of a disease, as opposed to simply the resulting deaths.
Cardiovascular disease is responsible for 10% of DALYs lost in low- and middle-income countries, and 18% in high-income countries.
Coronary heart disease burden is projected to rise from around 47 million DALYs globally in 1990 to 82 million DALYs in 2020."
Nearly 383,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur in the U.S. annually. Sudden cardiac arrest, or SCA, can occur without warning to anyone, at any time. Without early recognition and care from a bystander, the person will not survive.
For Heart Month 2014, we send a big "thank you" to our emergency care instructors around the world. The lifesaving skills that you teach every day could mean that second chance for our co-workers, friends, family, or even for that stranger we might never see again.
To help you deliver that message, we're posting a reminder today about where to find some ASHI and MEDIC First Aid resources about SCA and CPR: