FIGHTING HEART DISEASE AND STROKE TAKES HARD WORK, SKILL AND DEDICATION. It takes people working together, community-based initiatives and strong leadership. It takes targeted lobbying efforts, legislators willing to take a stand, and heart and stroke research. It takes the commitment of our 22.5 million volunteers and donors.
This is the kind of strength that moves the American Heart Association closer to its goal.
With every dollar raised, every program implemented and every scientific advance, we move forward. With every new community trained to take immediate action at the first signs of a heart attack or stroke, we move closer to our goal. Until the life-threatening reality of heart disease and stroke no longer exists, the American Heart Association, the American Stroke Association and the people who lend their support will maintain a steady course of action.
We are determined to reduce coronary heart disease, stroke and risk by 25 percent by the year 2010, through research, advocacy, education and charitable giving to support this objective. Without these critical elements and without dedicated volunteers, donors and scientists the backbone of the American Heart Association our work could not continue.
Scientific discoveries start with research. But look beyond a laboratory filled with equipment. Connect those discoveries with the smile of a child whose heart now beats independently of a machine, or a mother who can kick a soccer ball with her kids because the prompt stroke treatment she received prevented disability. These are the real reasons for research. Research is about discoveries that help people to live longer, better lives. American Heart Association-funded research has contributed to many important scientific advances in preventing and treating heart disease and stroke. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), bypass surgery, artificial heart valves and life-extending drugs are just a few of them. These advances have improved and saved the lives of thousands of Americans.
Research brings new understanding, better treatments and prevention saves lives. We all reap the rewards of new discoveries. But despite the advances we have made, heart disease and stroke remain our nation’s No 1 and No. 3 killers. And funding cardiovascular research remains a continuing challenge for the future.
Advocacy volunteers and staff work tirelessly behind the scenes at the national, state and local levels. This work is essential to the American Heart Association’s success. Advocacy builds coalitions to gain crucial support from legislators on cardiovascular and stroke issues. The result is votes and laws that improve treatment, prevention, research and awareness.
Influencing legislation influences health, because laws change lives. Our work in advocacy affects resources and rules that make new treatments and new programs possible. Without advocacy efforts to safeguard the health of all Americans, the quality of all of our lives would suffer.
If someone suddenly collapses or stops breathing, this could be a sign of sudden death caused by cardiac arrest, a condition that kills more than 220,000 Americans each year. Unfortunately, many people don’t recognize the signs or know what to do. We’ve put new emphasis on community based education and awareness programs, because better awareness and training reduce disability and death from heart disease and stroke.
Our educational programs include:
- Operation Heartbeat A program to increase the cardiac arrest survival rate by strengthening each link of the chain of survival.
- International Guidelines 2000 for CPR and Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC) These guidelines set a new standard for the proper treatment of cardiovascular emergencies.
- Get With The Guidelines A quality care initiative that teaches and mobilizes teams of healthcare professionals at acute-care hospitals to follow our secondary prevention guidelines for cardiovascular care. Studies show that implementing proven protocols helps patients reduce the risk of future cardiovascular disease.
- Scientific Sessions Meeting Begun more than 70 years ago, our annual meeting draws almost 34,000 domestic and international participants and is the world’s largest cardiovascular conference for scientists and healthcare professionals.
- Continuing Medical Education Programs These programs are used by more than 66,000 physicians and 70,000 leading healthcare professionals.
- Scientific Journals Provide critical information for clinicians and basic science researchers and offer leading-edge material to advance knowledge and scientific exchange on cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Our volunteers and donors are men, women and children of every race and background. And, they’re united by a common desire to contribute to the fight against heart disease and stroke. They give to make life better for their families, friends and future generations. And through their donated dollars, they fund dreams and empower others to achieve them. Their resources become research and education, turn possibilities into realities and save lives.
Charitable giving is a practical matter to some, a passionate issue for others. However you feel about it, there’s no disputing that such giving brings benefits to millions. Without adequate funding, advances such as heart transplants, drug therapies for stroke treatment, advanced emergency care and awareness programs would probably not exist today. Donor dollars fund many lifesaving advances.
A LEGACY OF LIFE
A planned gift to the American Heart Association can advance lifesaving research and educational programs in the fight against heart disease and stroke. This can be done through a bequest in a will, trust, charitable gift annuity, life insurance or pooled income fund.