What is American Heart Month? - American Hospital Supply

What is American Heart Month?

Staff Editor ·

American Heart Month happens every February, and it's all about getting smart about heart disease, which is the biggest killer in the US It kicked off in 1964 when President Lyndon B. Johnson said, "Hey, let's make February all about heart health." One big highlight in February is National Wear Red Day, landing on the first Friday. It's a key part of the Go Red for Women movement, shining a light on heart disease in women. With the coronavirus messing with heart and blood health, this year feels extra essential.

At American Hospital Supply, we help healthcare professionals and our communities with the latest medical supplies and know-how to keep hearts beating strong. We are diving into what makes American Heart Month matter, the push for public heart health smarts, and why Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are crucial in heart emergencies.

Why Heart Health Matters?

A strong heart is essential to good health, and a healthy lifestyle at any age can avoid heart disease and heart attacks. Heart disease is the primary cause of death in the US and must be understood, prevented, and treated. Being active, eating well, getting adequate sleep, and regulating blood pressure can avoid heart disease. Regular aerobic activity improves heart function, especially in patients with coronary heart disease, and reduces heart attack risk. Understanding the danger, making healthy choices, and reducing heart disease risk are heart-healthy living.

American Heart Month focuses on reducing heart disease by raising awareness, encouraging heart-healthy habits, educating on risk management, supporting research, and fostering community engagement. The goal is to decrease heart disease incidence and promote healthier lifestyles.

Medical Professionals: Renewed Focus on Training and Education

American Heart Month is when doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals look closer at how they can help us keep our hearts beating strong and healthy. But this month isn't just about reminding us to eat more veggies and get a bit extra exercise; it's also crucial for these healthcare heroes to brush up on their knowledge and skills.

As soccer players practice regularly to stay at the top of their game, doctors and nurses must also keep learning and training to ensure they're giving the best care possible, especially regarding something as complex as heart health. New discoveries and advancements in medicine happen constantly. American Heart Month is a perfect time for medical professionals to catch up on the latest and greatest ways to treat heart problems.

AHS carries a vast inventory of clinical training and education products, such as AED trainers, CPR training supplies, and simulation manikins for medical schools, professionals, and ordinary citizens to advance their skills training.  

Promote Advancements in Cardiac Care

  • Minimally Invasive Procedures: Gone are the days when the only option was open-heart surgery. Now, doctors can fix many heart problems with tiny incisions using tools like catheters and stents. This means less pain and quicker recovery for patients.
  • Better Imaging Techniques: With the latest imaging tech, like 3D echocardiograms and cardiac MRIs, doctors can get a super-clear picture of your heart without any cuts. This helps them diagnose issues more accurately and plan the best treatment.
  • Wearable Tech for Heart Monitoring: Wearable devices aren't just for counting steps anymore. They can track your heart rate, detect irregular heartbeats, and even predict potential heart issues, keeping a constant eye on your heart health. 
  • Advanced Heart Failure Treatments: For people with heart failure, there are now more options than ever. New drugs can help the heart pump better, and devices like LVADs (Left Ventricular Assist Devices) can support the heart's function, sometimes even as a long-term solution instead of a transplant.
  • Telemedicine and Remote Care: With telemedicine, you can have check-ups with your heart doctor from the comfort of your home. This has been especially important during the pandemic and is great for people far from cardiac care centers.

Focus on Public Health Initiatives

Community education about heart health, tools for heart attacks, cardiac arrest, high blood pressure, and general awareness-raising about these serious health problems are all essential parts of public health initiatives.

Resources for Heart Attacks and Cardiac Arrest:

  • Awareness Campaigns: Many public health programs run campaigns to educate people about the signs of a heart attack and cardiac arrest. Knowing symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, and sudden collapse can save lives by encouraging quick action.
  • CPR Training: Public health organizations often offer or promote CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) training for the general public. This empowers people to provide immediate help during cardiac emergencies, increasing their chances of survival.
  • AED Placement: Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are placed in public areas such as schools, malls, and airports. Public health initiatives ensure these life-saving devices are available and people know how to use them.

General Awareness and Community Advocacy

In general, especially regarding heart health, preparedness is essential to ensure people and groups can handle emergencies like heart attacks and cardiac arrest. Two critical components of this preparedness are CPR training and community advocacy in various settings such as churches, schools, and athletic facilities.

Hypertension Awareness & Screening:

  • Screening Tools: Equipment and guidelines for community blood pressure screening events to identify individuals with hypertension early. Advancements in cardiac care have been game-changing, allowing people with heart conditions to live longer, healthier lives.
    • At-Home Monitoring: Technological advancements improve cardiovascular health, as devices such as the Omron Blood Pressure Monitor facilitate at-home monitoring. The new trends in cardiac care include.
    • Monitoring in the Workplace: The BPIO 750 Automatic Blood Pressure Kiosk from InBody provides an easy method for helping employees and community members to assess their blood pressure, pulse rate, and other key cardiac markers. 
  • Patient Education Materials: Brochures and digital content focusing on lifestyle changes to manage hypertension, such as diet, exercise, and medication adherence.
  • Management Programs: Support programs for patients diagnosed with hypertension, including monitoring tools and regular follow-up strategies to ensure effective management of the condition. 

Importance of CPR Training:

CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) is a life-saving technique used when someone's heartbeat or breathing has stopped, as may happen during a heart attack or cardiac arrest. The importance of CPR training cannot be overstated:

  • Saves Lives: Immediate CPR can double or even triple a cardiac arrest victim's chance of survival.
  • Empowers Individuals: Knowing how to perform CPR allows individuals to take action in an emergency rather than feeling helpless.
  • Increases Community Resilience: A community with a high percentage of CPR-trained individuals is better prepared to respond to emergencies, making it a safer place to live.

Community Advocacy in Churches, Schools, and Athletic Facilities:

Advocating for heart health and emergency preparedness in community centers like churches, schools, and athletic facilities is vital for several reasons:

  • Broad Reach: These places are central to community life and reach a broad and diverse audience, including all age groups.
  • Regular Gatherings: Regular meetings and gatherings provide ongoing opportunities to educate and remind community members about heart health and emergency response.
  • Role Models: Leaders in these settings, such as clergy, teachers, and coaches, can be role models, encouraging and motivating others to learn CPR and adopt heart-healthy lifestyles.

These facilities are ideal for hosting regular CPR and AED training sessions to create a solid foundation for heart health awareness and emergency readiness.

The Critical Importance of AEDs

Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) can be a lifesaver for individuals experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. Their critical importance lies in their ability to analyze heart rhythms and deliver an electric shock to restore a normal rhythm if necessary. Here's a closer look at the critical aspects of AEDs, including their placement and the legal framework surrounding their use.

Identifying Where AEDs Are Needed:

AEDs should be readily accessible in high-traffic and high-risk areas to ensure they can be used promptly during emergencies. Key locations include:

  • Public Spaces: Shopping malls, airports, train stations, and sports arenas where large crowds gather.
  • Educational Institutions: Schools and universities, where they can be easily accessed during school hours and after-school activities.
  • Recreational Facilities: Gyms, public pools, and parks, where physical exertion increases the risk of cardiac events.
  • Workplaces: Especially in large office buildings or industrial sites where many people work.
  • Community Centers: Including places of worship, libraries, and senior centers, which are frequented by various demographics, including those at higher risk for heart conditions.

Understanding AED Laws:

AED laws vary by jurisdiction but generally cover the following aspects:

  • Placement and Maintenance: Laws may dictate where AEDs must be placed and outline maintenance and inspection requirements to ensure they are always in working order.
  • Training: Some laws require that individuals responsible for AEDs undergo training in their use. However, modern AEDs are designed to be user-friendly with clear instructions.
  • Registration: In certain areas, AEDs must be registered with local emergency services, ensuring that 911 operators can direct callers to the nearest AED during an emergency.

Good Samaritan Law:

Good Samaritan Laws protect individuals who voluntarily provide emergency care, such as using an AED, from legal liability, provided they act in good faith, without gross negligence, and within the scope of their knowledge and training. Key points include: 

  • Encouraging Use: These laws encourage bystanders to assist in emergencies by reducing the fear of legal repercussions.
  • Scope: Protection varies but generally covers non-medical professionals who assist in an emergency without expecting compensation.
  • Limitations: Protection under Good Samaritan Laws may not apply if the responder's actions are willfully negligent or reckless. 

The presence of AEDs, coupled with public awareness and protection under Good Samaritan Laws, significantly enhances the capacity to save lives during sudden cardiac arrest situations.

Special Discounts on AEDs and CPR Equipment for American Heart Month - AHS

In observance of American Heart Month, American Hospital Supply is extending special offers on life-saving equipment. Churches and schools can benefit from discounted AEDs tailored to their unique environments, ensuring emergency readiness. Clear AED signage and robust manual defibrillators are also available to enhance safety measures.

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