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9 Tips for a Heart Healthier 2009

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There is no time like the beginning of the new year to decide that your heart health is a priority! Here’s the fact: heart disease is the number one killer in this country, claiming more lives than the next 5 causes of death combined.

The good news is most heart disease is preventable, and the education and technology exists today for lives to be saved. Here are 9 ways you can join the crusade to decide that addressing heart health is essential.

1. Become certified in CPR and in using an AED

The training takes approximately 4 hours . . . a commitment of time that is well worth the ability to save a life in an emergency situation. If someone were to experience Sudden Cardiac Arrest, the single most common cause of death, CPR can double his or her likelihood of survival. A Sudden Cardiac Arrest victim’s chance to live falls by 10% every minute without action. That means that after 5 minutes without help, there is only a 50% chance of survival, and after 10 minutes there is likely no chance. Use of an AED could increase the chance of survival by up to 70% or more. These devices have the ability to detect a person who is experiencing Sudden Cardiac Arrest and can deliver a shock if needed to get the heart beating steadily again. Children can even become trained in these life-saving techniques. Contact your local American Heart Association office to find out about trainings happening in your area!

2. Check on the availability of AEDs in your community
Do your schools and their sports teams have AEDs? Do your community centers and public facilities have AEDs? Are all places where large numbers of people gather equipped with this life-saving device? Quick calls to the superintendent’s office, head nurse, city hall, wellness official, etc. could provide you with a wealth of information to make sure your community is taking one of the most important steps to save lives. If places are not properly protected with an AED, make some noise! Contact the media and make sure people know that more has to be done to keep citizens safe. Feeling especially motivated? Fundraise to place AEDs in key places!

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.