American Heart Association New Jersey (heart.org/newjersey) · NewJersey @ heart.org
Despite an overall 28.8 percent drop in death rates since 2003, an estimated 85.6 million people in the U.S. are living with cardiovascular diseases, including heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and chest pain. Among U.S. adults, 32.6 percent have high blood pressure (46 percent Among African-Americans). But steps can be taken to reduce risk and improve outcome. The American Heart Association is constantly conducting research and raising awareness to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans.
Baseball great Rod Carew’s went out to hit some golf balls by himself and suddenly he felt a strong burning in his chest. He drove back to the clubhouse, lay on the floor, and asked for immediate help. Paramedics twice had to shock him back to life. He is now connected to an implanted battery-operated left ventricular assist device at all times — at night he is essentially plugged into a wall.
Carew begged a crowd of media, fans and friends, “Please go get your hearts checked, because you never know.” He also announced The Heart of 29 campaign, a year-long program designed to “to raise funds for the American Heart Association, and awareness of heart disease and heart failure.”
Meanwhile, Newark-born musician and actress Queen Latifah attributes much of her success in life to her mother, Rita Owens. When Ms. Owens was diagnosed with heart failure, Latifah describes the experience as life-changing – “Hearing the word ‘failure’ associated with my mom’s health was really scary.”
Ms. Owens refused to let the diagnosis bring her down, and Latifah’s whole family rallied around to make the small changes in their own lives to be and to eat healthier. They also join Ms. Owens on her medical checkups to participate in discussions with her doctors and to help keep a close watch on her health.
As a representative of RiseAgainstHF.org, Latifah says, “You can’t change the past, but you can change the future.” She wants everyone to be inspired by her mother, and to know that cardiovascular disease is something that people can “rise above” with education, support and by making small healthy changes in their lives.