Friday, August 1, 2014

Life Is Why!

You may have noticed our banner art this week! The American Heart Association | American Stroke Association's new brand tagline is “Life Is Why.” The phrase, which began appearing with the logo on on August 1st, is much more than a slogan. It’s the singular idea that stands behind all the lifesaving work the AHA has carried out for 90 years – and it’s the very basic idea that people should be healthier so they can enjoy their lives more.

We want people to experience more of life's precious moments. It's why we've made better heart and brain health our mission. And until there's a world free of heart disease and stroke, we'll be there, working to make a healthier, longer life possible for everyone. Why we do what we do? Life is why. #lifeiswhy 

What is your why?

Learn more at 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Deborah Marshall to Chair TriCounty Go Red Campaign

We're happy to announce that Deborah Marshall, Vice President of Public Relations, Marketing & Strategic Planning at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, will serve as chair of the 2014 TriCounty Go Red for Women campaign and luncheon! 

The luncheon is set for Thursday, October 30th, at West Hills Country Club in Middletown, NY.

Marshall is a member of the Executive Team of Bon Secours Charity Health System. She has over 25 years of experience in public relations, administration and general operational management. She is a published author, recipient of the 2006 Woman of the Year award by the Business and Professional Women’s Association, the Rockland County Community Crown Award, New York State Supporter of the Arts Award, and in 2008 she received special recognition from the Washington Press Club for outstanding service in the field of Public Relations.

“I’m honored to lead the American Heart Association’s Go Red campaign to fight women’s heart disease in our region,” she said, “Heart disease is women’s number one killer but so much of it can be prevented by simple lifestyle changes. I hope all women join Go Red For Women to live a healthier life.”

Under Deborah's leadership, Go Red For Women will raise awareness among women and provide them with tools to reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke - the number one and three causes of death among women. 

recent study by Yale University showed the young women ages 30-54 and black women do not fare well after a heart attack. Risk factors like high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes need to be controlled in young women to prevent heart disease, according to the researchers, and women to need to get help at the first sign of heart attack.

Heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the number one cause of death in American women, claiming about 432,000 lives each year, or nearly one death each minute. CVD kills more women than the next four causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer.

The half-day Go Red luncheon event includes morning educational breakout sessions, an interactive heart check-up and silent auction. Funds raised support the AHA’s awareness programs and research.

The Go Red For Women Luncheon is sponsored nationally by Macy’s and presented locally by the Signature Sponsor, Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, Bon Secours Charity Health System. Local sponsors include Active International, Nice Pak/PDI and media sponsor WHUD radio.

For more information on the event or to purchase tickets, please visit  or call Gia McCormack at 845-905-2127 or by email to .

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Summer Weather Can Be Hard On Your Heart

Summertime often means afternoon strolls, bike rides, baseball, swimming and other outdoor activities. And while the sunny days may make for great beach weather, the American Heart Association warns that extreme heat can be hard on the heart.

“As temperatures rise, so can your risk for suffering health issues like heat exhaustion and heat stroke,” said David Violante, AHA Board Member and Arlington Fire EMS Assistant Director, “So it’s important that people take simple steps to protect their hearts while in the heat.”

Infants, young children, heart patients, those older than 50 or people who are overweight are at higher risk for heat-related illnesses. Certain medications or illnesses can also raise the risk.

It’s important to know the signs and symptoms when you may be experiencing too much heat.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion:

• headaches
• heavy sweating
• cold, moist skin, chills
• dizziness or fainting (syncope)
• a weak and rapid pulse
• muscle cramps
• fast, shallow breathing
• nausea, vomiting or both

If you experience these symptoms, move to a cooler place, stop exercising and cool down immediately by dousing yourself with cold water and rehydrating. You may need to seek medical attention.

Symptoms of heat stroke:

• warm, dry skin with no sweating
• strong and rapid pulse
• confusion and/or unconsciousness
• high fever
• throbbing headaches
• nausea, vomiting or both

If you experience these symptoms, seek medical attention right away.

Staying physically active all year long is imperative to good heart health. The American Heart Association reports that physically active people can reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease by nearly 30%. So during the hot summer months, it’s important that you take the right precautions:

• Follow the doctor’s orders. If you are a heart patient, over the age of 50, overweight or just starting an exercise program, be sure to check with your doctor for your best exercise routine.

• Try to watch the clock. It’s best to avoid the outdoors in the early afternoon (about noon to 3 p.m.) because the sun is usually at its strongest, putting you at higher risk for heat-related illnesses.

• Get off on the right foot. You probably sweat the most in your shoes, so choose well-ventilated shoes and look for socks that repel perspiration. Foot powders and antiperspirants can also help with sweat.

• Dress for the heat. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing in breathable fabrics such as cotton, or a newer fabric that repels sweat. Add a hat and/or sunglasses. Before you get started, apply a water-resistant sunscreen with at least SPF 15, and reapply it every two hours.

• Drink up. Stay hydrated by drinking a few cups of water before, during and after your exercise. Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages. It’s important to stay hydrated even if you don’t feel thirsty.

• Take regular breaks. Find some shade or a cool place, stop for a few minutes, hydrate and start again.

People can adapt their normal exercise routines when the heat is on. Walking inside air-conditioned buildings, going for a swim or using exercise videos at home are great substitutes for outdoor exercise.

For more information, tips and advice on how to take care of your heart, visit or call 1-800-AHA-USA-1

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Gain Your Independence from Unhealthy Lifestyles!

According to new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (AHA), adults who watch TV for three hours or more each day may double their risk of premature death compared to those who watch less. The American Heart Association wants Americans to gain independence from unhealthy lifestyles this long July 4th weekend by increasing physical activity and adding a few healthy recipes to your holiday party menus.

Studies show that half of U.S. adults are leading sedentary lives and less than 1% of Americans have an “ideal diet.” The American Heart Association states that more than 80% of heart disease can be prevented by healthy lifestyle choices including walking 30 minutes or more daily, eating mostly fruits and vegetables and avoiding tobacco products.

“Changing your lifestyle is really a choice you have control over, unlike family history of heart disease. You can break free from unhealthy behaviors with small, simple changes like adding physical activity, avoiding long sedentary periods, and reducing television watching to no longer than one to two hours each day,” said James Lyons, MD, FACC, FACP, Heart Failure Program Director at the Hudson Valley Heart Center and AHA Board President.

The AHA recommends that if you are currently living a sedentary lifestyle, add activity in small increments like 15 minutes of walking four days per week, then slowly increase it to 30 minutes. If you are active already, add 15 minute intervals and strength and resistance training. The AHA recommendation is 150 minutes per week of vigorous activity. 
It can be difficult to schedule workouts between job schedules, social commitments and your kids’ activities. Jeanette Jenkins, a.k.a. The Hollywood Trainer to the stars, is fond of morning exercise routines and created a 15-minute wake-up workout routine perfect for busy people. The workout is online at the Go Red For Women Web site at .

James Lyons, MD
The workout includes simple movements like jogging in place, jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups and squats, and it can be done while watching your favorite television show to avoid the “sitting disease.”

“Start today with achievable goals and a few small, simple changes to your diet and lifestyle and before you know it, you’ll be on the road to a healthier heart and a longer life.” said Lyons.

The American Heart Association offers these heart-healthy recipes and tips to keep your mealtimes cool and healthy this summer.

·         Start the day right: Try simple peanut butter on wheat toast, high-fiber/low-sugar cereal, low-fat milk or yogurt and fruit for breakfast.
·         Go fish! Fish, especially salmon, trout and herring, are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and cook in minutes.
·         Choose skinless chicken breasts instead of the fattier dark meat (legs and thighs).  Skewer cubed, marinated chicken for fast and healthy sandwiches.
·         Grill chicken or white meat turkey burgers or sausages, and add diced onions and peppers for another layer of flavor and vitamins.
·         Eat the rainbow! Go green and red, orange, yellow, purple and more.  Serve green leafy salads or fruit salads (or a combination of both, like baby spinach with strawberries or mixed greens with orange slices) instead of mayonnaise-based salads.
·         Dress salads lightly with low-fat dressing or just a drizzle of balsamic, fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.
·         Add some crunch – and healthier fats – with some toasted walnuts or almonds.

Keep snacks, drinks and desserts healthy:
·         Get your crunch fix from raw veggies and low-fat dip not fatty fried chips.
·         Drink water or flavored seltzer. Regular sodas are loaded with sugars and calories.
·         Choose 100% fruit or vegetable juices (low sodium) – not “fruit drink” or “punch.” 
·         Limit alcohol consumption and have a poolside “mocktail” – juice mixed with seltzer water, garnished with cut fruit.
·         Try a smoothie with luscious, fresh fruit in season, fat-free vanilla or lemon yogurt and a touch of honey makes a healthy, refreshing dessert alternative.
·         Cut back on commercially baked foods, like cookies, pies and cakes.  Remember that most store-baked goods are made with egg yolks, butter or shortening and other ingredients that are high in saturated fat and/or trans fat. Try a low-fat angel food cake with fresh fruit, or better yet – just fruit!
·         Enjoy seasonal fruit! It’s inexpensive, vitamin-rich and low in calories.
·         Try grilling fruits like pineapple slices, nectarines, peaches or plums to enhance the natural sugars.
·         Layer fresh cut fruit with lemony yogurt and low-fat granola for an elegant, but light parfait.

For more recipes and tips from the American Heart Association on healthy eating, visit online at .

Try healthier recipes today! .

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union Members Honored for Saving a Life with CPR

The American Heart Association and Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union honored Daniel Savage of Fishkill, and Salvatore Provenzano of Beacon, for their efforts in saving the life of fellow Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union member Dale Geis who collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest during a visit to the Fishkill branch. The three were reunited at a recent award presentation at the branch.

On June 4th, Geis, 58, of East Fishkill, was visiting the credit union to do his banking when he suddenly collapsed behind Daniel Savage who was banking at a teller window. Savage and Provenzano, another HVFCU member, rushed to Geis’ aid. After realizing he had no pulse, they started cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR while HVFCU employees quickly called 9-1-1. The two bystanders continued CPR until emergency services responders arrived. Two shocks were delivered by EMS’ automatic external defibrillator and Geis was transported to nearby St. Luke’s Hospital in Newburgh. He was released days later.

The American Heart Association presented Heartsaver Hero awards to the hometown heroes for their quick action in the saving of a life. HVFCU leaders presented the heroes with gift cards as a small gesture of thanks for their willingness to help someone in need. Mr. Geis also received a gift card from HVFCU.

In honor of Mr. Savage’s and Mr. Provenzano’s life-saving efforts, HVFCU donated $500 to the American Heart Association to fund local CPR training for others in the community. “HVFCU is so pleased that this story had a happy ending,” said Lisa Morris, Director of Marketing. “Our hope is that this donation helps the Heart Association reach more people in our community with the vital Hands-Only CPR training that can save lives, as evidenced by Mr. Geis’ situation.”

Savage had prior CPR training as part of his security job requirements and Provenzano was a former EMT with the Hopewell Hose Fire Company. But the AHA wants everyone to learn CPR.

“Without immediate bystander intervention, cardiac arrest victim survival rates drop dramatically. Today, we honored these Heartsaver heroes, but all Hudson Valley residents can easily become tomorrow’s heroes by knowing to call 9-1-1 and being ready to perform CPR.”

Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in New York State and the nation. Nearly 360,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur annually in the United States and survival depends on getting CPR immediately from someone nearby. Sadly, 70% of Americans feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they don’t know how to administer CPR or they’re afraid of hurting the victim.

According to the AHA, if you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse from sudden cardiac arrest, call 9-1-1 and begin Hands-Only CPR by pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of the disco song, “Stayin’ Alive” until EMS arrives. Watching a one-minute Hands-Only CPR video can increase a person’s confidence to perform CPR, according to the AHA. The video is online at or through an app for Android or iPhones.
The American Heart Association is currently advocating for a New York State law that will ensure that all students are trained in life-saving CPR before they graduate from high school. Currently, 16 states have passed similar laws. The NYS Senate and Assembly passed the CPR legislation last week and the bill is awaiting Governor Cuomo’s signature. Local residents can find information about supporting the legislation online at

Friday, June 20, 2014

Women Celebrated for 12 Weeks of Healthy Lifestyle Changes Through BetterU Program

The Westchester-Fairfield American Heart Association (AHA) and Stamford Hospital celebrated 11 local women who participated in the AHA’s BetterU challenge during an event at Stamford Hospital’s Tully Health Center on Thursday, June 19th from 3:00-5:00 p.m. For the last 12 weeks, the women have been on a personal journey towards meaningful lifestyle changes to improve their heart health.

The BetterU Makeover Challenge was sponsored by Stamford Hospital, and program’s goal is to remind all women of the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices to prevent heart disease and stroke, the number one and three killers of women, respectively.

“I am extremely pleased at how engaged and motived the women were about learning and participating in subtle changes in their lives,” said Gavin Pritchard, RD, Dietician-Chef, Stamford Hospital. “Each of them found and integrated those components that fit most comfortably with their interests – which helped them positively impact their health scores.”

During the program, each of the participants received a three-month membership to Stamford Hospital’s Health & Fitness Institute, baseline and 12-week medical readings, culinary and nutrition classes, heart health seminars and group workouts. They have been sharing their personal stories on a dedicated program blog and were recognized during the annual Go Red for Women luncheon on May 30 in Greenwich. They also received beauty makeovers from Kendra Porter, Image Consultant, Glo Beauty Bar and Denise Simon Studios.

Health metrics for the group were assessed at week one and again after 12 weeks. Highlights included a 42.2 lbs of total weight loss or 3.0% drop in body weight for group overall, with one woman losing 17 pounds. There was a 3% drop in overall BMI (body mass index) for the group and a 26.4% drop in triglycerides. Overall, the group lost 25.3 inches around the waist or 6.9% drop in waist circumference. One woman lost 6.25” from her waistline.

They were also measured on healthy lifestyle changes including fitness, fruit and vegetable intake and sodium reduction—all important to overall health and cardiovascular disease prevention. The group had a 94.4% increase in muscular strength and a 53.3% increase in flexibility. They also reduced sodium by nearly 1,500 mg per day and reduced added dietary sugars by 93%. One participant increased her weekly exercise minutes by 270 minutes—the AHA’s recommendation is 150 minutes minimum per week.

Overall, they improved their heart disease risk score, measured with the American Heart Association’s My Life Check score by 23%, just with healthy lifestyle changes. A study by the American Heart Association found that more than 80 percent of cardiac events in women are preventable through simple lifestyle choices involving diet, exercise and smoking. One in three women will die from the disease and more than 90% of women have one or more risk factors for it.

“Once again, our collaboration with the AHA on the BetterU Challenge helps provide the women in our community with valuable resources and guidance to make informed and heart healthy decisions that positively impact their lives,” said Kathy Silard, RN, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Stamford Hospital. “Heart disease is very much a preventable disease, yet continues to claim the lives of thousands of women each year.”
“We were so grateful to have Stamford Hospital’s leadership and commitment to this community health initiative for women. We hope all women join Go Red For Women to take charge of their health,” said Judy Campisi, American Heart Association Executive Director.

Women can learn about their risk for heart disease and take steps to improve their heart health with free resources online at

Friday, June 13, 2014

Father’s Day BBQ Tips from the American Heart Association

This Father’s Day, give Dad a BBQ celebration from the heart! Eating a healthy diet can help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, the #1 and #4 leading causes of death of men in the U.S. More than one in three adult men has some form of CVD.

But studies show that up to 90% of cardiovascular events can be prevented with simple lifestyle changes, like making healthier choices at mealtime. The American Heart Association wants you to give Dad the gift of a heart-healthy meal at his Father’s Day BBQ celebration, and throughout the summer season! Here are some tips!

Meat, Poultry & Fish
·    Go for grilled fish more often.  The healthiest types include salmon, trout and herring, which are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.  The AHA recommends two servings of fish per week.
·    Buy chicken breasts – and remember to remove the skin before eating – instead of the fattier dark meat (legs and thighs).  Grilling breasts on the bone will help retain moisture.
·    Or try grilling up chicken or turkey burgers using breast meat, and add diced onions for another layer of flavor.
·    If Dad wants red meat, which ones should you buy?  Choose “loin” and “round” cuts of red meat and pork.  And buy “choice” or “select” grades of beef instead of “prime” which have more fat.  Also, don’t forget to trim visible fat when you get home. Aim for portion sizes of 3-4 ounces or less, or the size of a deck of cards.

Veggies on the Grill
Grilling veggies adds flavor to vegetables and variety on your menu. Eggplant, asparagus, portabello mushrooms, red peppers, zucchini make for great veggie-based meals or side. Radicchio, endive and romaine lettuce can be grilled then dressed lightly with olive oil, fresh herbs and balsamic vinegar for that gourmet touch.

Use cut up veggies on skewers, alternating with lean meat or fish. Cut them of equal size to ensure even cooking. Lightly brushing them with olive or canola oil helps with the browning.
Top grilled sandwiches with baby spinach, sliced tomatoes, watercress and lettuce to add more veggies to your meal.

Side Dishes, Drinks & Desserts
  • Serve green leafy salads or fruit salads (or combine baby spinach with strawberries or mixed greens with orange slices) instead of mayonnaise-based salads.  Add some crunch – and healthier fats – with some toasted walnuts or almonds instead of croutons.
  • Skip the high fat potato chips, and instead serve raw veggies with a low-fat dip made from thick, fat-free Greek yogurt, not mayo.
  • Serve water, fruit juice spritzers or unsweetened teas.  Regular sodas have no nutritional value are loaded with sugars and calories.
  • Cut back on commercially baked dessert that are high in saturated fat and/or trans fat.  
  • Try fruit for dessert! Grill fruits like pineapple slices, nectarines, peaches or plums – the natural sugars caramelize with the heat and give them great flavor & top with low-fat vanilla yogurt.  Fruits are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber – and they’re low in calories.
Oils, Dressings, Seasonings & More
  • Multi-task with one bottle… Use reduced-fat, low-fat, light or no-fat salad dressings (if you need to limit your calories) on salads, for dips or as marinades.
  • Watch the salt – cut back on salty seasonings and condiments like teriyaki, soy and barbecue sauce or choose the low-sodium versions.
  • Choose low-fat, reduced-fat or fat-free cheese for your sandwiches and hamburgers.
  • Choose whole-grain, high-fiber breads and crackers, such as whole wheat, oats, oatmeal, whole rye, whole-grain corn and buckwheat.  In addition to being good for you, they add more flavor and texture to your meal.
Buffet style service?

Behavioral psychology studies have shown that you can influence eating habits with a few easy changes. Use smaller plates to control portion sizes. Place the vegetables and salads in a prominent location on the buffet, that people will consume more of them. Displaying fruits in colorful bowls also leads to increased consumption. Remember the USDA food plate, recommends that half your plate be filled with fruits and vegetables.

To complete your heart-healthy Father’s Day BBQ, go out for a family walk after dinner!


For more heart healthy recipes, visit online at

Facts About Men:

  • In 2009, CVD caused the deaths of 386,436 males. 
  • Males represent 49.0% of deaths from CVD. 
  • About 8.8 million men alive today have CHD. 
  • An estimated 3.0 million male stroke survivors are alive today. 
  • In 2009, stroke caused the death of 52,073 males. 
  • Among adults, 21.3% of men smoke cigarettes. 
  • Of the estimated 8.2 million Americans with undiagnosed diabetes, about 5.3 million are men. 
  • An estimated 72.9% of men age 20 and older are overweight or obese.