Last year I participated in the American Heart Ride and raised over $10K to increase awareness of cardiovascular disease and stroke. This year the American Heart Ride is scheduled for May 21, 2016.

The heart isn’t just a muscle or as an organ; it has as rhythm and purpose, and it has life itself. You can’t live without a heart or live well without showing your heart. Heart health improves physical health, which improves quality of life, which promotes your ability to enjoy and create all of the good things that come from paying attention to your heart, like music, poetry, art, and love. We can’t overestimate its importance or its value.

The statistics are clear. The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation tells us some important facts: “Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is the leading cause of death among adults over the age of 40 in the United States and other countries. Each year, 326,200 people in the U.S. experience EMS-assessed out-of-hospital non-traumatic SCA, and nine out of 10 victims die.” Moreover, SCAF explains, “About 80% of cases of SCA occur in the home.”

If you’re in the home during a loved one’s cardiac emergency, you might be able to help. As we move toward Spring and the American Heart Ride this year, I want you to care for yourselves, for you hearts, and for each other.

Here are some ideas on how you can do that:

CPR

Take a CPR class. There are people who are alive today because someone took a CPR class and used those skills. The American Heart Association shares true stories here, and they are inspiring. “Looking back, [one woman] is struck with the knowledge that out of about 100 people, no one else came forward to help. Still shaking from her resuscitation effort, she yelled to bystanders, ‘Everyone needs to know CPR.’”

HOME AED FOR A CARDIAC EMERGENCY

Newer on the scene is the portable Automatic External Defibrillator. The American Heart Association explains, “An AED is an electronic device that recognizes a heart rhythm that requires a shock, and then prompts the rescuer to deliver the shock simply by pressing a button. AEDs are small, lightweight, simple to operate and extremely reliable.”

Hospitals are equipped with AED machines, as are most public spaces such as airports and train stations. These days, however, you might know someone with a machine stored in the coat closet. A friend of mine purchased an AED machine. She took a CPR/AED preparation class, and watched the training video that came with the device. “It’s daunting at first,” she reported. “But it only delivers a shock to the patient if a shock is needed, so you can do no harm. Only good can come of it.” She says once she learned how to use it, she spread the word to her neighbors to let them know the machine was available if emergencies occurred in their neighborhood.

AED machines are costly, but worth it when one considers the lives that might be saved. If you’re interested to learn more, you can find more information here.

SUPPORT AWARENESS

For cycling enthusiasts, one great way to support awareness is to register to participate in the American Heart Ride. This event raises funds for research, awareness, and advocacy, all of which have the potential to save lives.

If you’re not a cyclist, consider supporting someone who is registered this year. I’ve participated and I know how it helps, and the sense of community it creates.

HAVING A HEART

Every day I endeavor to live with heart, to listen with my heart, to live life and find connection. The heart is more than a muscle. It’s math, keeping its number of beats per second. It’s linked to your mood, speeding up and slowing down as emotions come and go. It’s key for both movement and meaning. But most of all, it connects us to each other. As long as my heart beats, I’ll listen for the sound of yours, and we can support the life we hear and see all around us.

How big is your heart?

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Rose Caiola

Inspired. Rewired.

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