American Heart Association in Alabama asks you to join their mission beyond heart health month

American heart month is coming to an end, but the mission to be a “relentless force for a world of longer and healthier lives” continues year round.
Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 4:39 PM CST
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - American heart month is coming to an end, but the mission to be a “relentless force for a world of longer and healthier lives” continues year round. This is exactly what the American Heart Association is working to accomplish and they ask you to join them on their mission.

“When you look at the health statistics of the country as a whole you know Alabama, the deep south, unfortunately we usually rank near the bottom,” Josh Till, director, communications & marketing, for the American Heart Association in Alabama said.

Till and his colleagues are working to change that statistic.

“With heart disease and stroke the majority of cases are preventable and we know that they are preventable because the power is in our hands just by making some simple lifestyle changes,” Till said.

The American Heart Association mainly focuses on heart disease and stroke by educating the public about the risks and steps they can take to prevent a diagnosis, but this nonprofit is not limited to just that.

“We look at the whole person,” Till said. “So, from everything from their mental health and well‐being to their physical health.”

Since 1924, they have been investing in scientific research to accomplish this.

“Here in the state of Alabama last year, we funded about seven-million dollars in research for heart disease and stroke,” Till said.

The American Heart Association hosts multiple walks for awareness each year across the nation. Alabama participates as well. These walks are to bring people together to raise fund for this research.

But, if you can’t take part in person, Till said you can get creative and create your own walk to join their mission and support the American Heart Association in Alabama.

“Heart walk where you are,” Till said. “You can start a team and invite your friends and family, connect it with your social media and raise some money for us and send us pictures, post it on our Facebook page or Instagram. We certainly welcome any participation and so that’s an easy way and a fun way to get involved.”

These walks allow people to come together to share their stories and honor the lives lost to heart disease. The organization also offers a support network for survivors beyond the walks.

“So, people who want to share their story or people who may need some sort of support through their journey they can find all of that,” Till said.

On top of funding research for heart disease and stroke, the American Heart Association prioritizes hands only CPR education. This is to help save lives in Alabama and the nation.

“We would love for at least one person in every household in the country to know how to perform hands only CPR and what to do when they experience a cardiac arrest,” Till said.

The American Heart Association offers a powerhouse of free resources.

They have an accessible healthy living section that includes recipes and exercise tips along with mental health and well‐being advice.

Till encourages people to take a look at their resources and incorporate them into their daily lives because it could save the person or their loved one.

“We can help you make those changes in your life and a lot of people I think we get overwhelmed or you think you have to make this huge change overnight and that’s not the case,” Till said. “Those small steps can lead to big changes so getting involved, being aware of the changes you can make with your diet, your exercise, talking to your doctor, your health care provider, to know your numbers, your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, all of that kind of stuff. That will really help you and I think that will make a huge difference and that’s how we can start to reverse the trend and heart disease you know it [heart disease] doesn’t have to be the number one killer.”

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