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United States Senate Celebrates American Heart Month

Hosted by the American Heart Association (AHA), the US Senate celebrated American Heart Month on February 15 at the Hart Senate Office Building at a reception for members of Congress and staff. The American College of Cardiology (ACC), WomenHeart: The National Coalition of Women and Heart Disease, the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, and congressional staff and policymakers enjoyed an informational evening filled with music, heart healthy food, and heart health awareness. 

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Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, killing 2,200 people every day. This equates to a death every 40 seconds. This reception was an opportunity to bring these staggering statistics into the spotlight among Congress and staff. AHA’s Greater Washington Region was represented at the reception by You’re the Cure advocates Nancy Chapman, Gail Harris Berry, Neha Aggarwal, and Deb Wells.

A highlight of the event was the release of the American Heart Association’s recent report, “Cardiovascular Disease: A Costly Burden for America”. The report provides the troubling prediction that nearly half of the US population will have some form of Cardiovascular Disease by 2035 and will cost Americans over $1.1 trillion by the year 2035.

“People are living longer, but heart disease is still the number one killer,” You’re the Cure advocate Gail Harris Berry said while attending the reception. “Even though heart disease is 80% treatable, there’s a disconnect in being diagnosed and knowing what you need to do about it.”

AHA President Dr. Steve Houser provided remarks to the assembled lawmakers and staff, along with Director of the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute Gary Gibbons, M.D., President of the American College of Cardiology Kim Williams, and Vice President of WomenHeart Susan Campbell. Topics discussed during the speaking program included investing in biomedical heart research, continuing to improve emergency response systems and treatments, prioritizing funding for heart health research, medical care, and prioritizing heart health education in communities.

ACC’s President Kim Williams stated in regards to finding the root cause of heart disease through research, “If we don’t fix the underlying cause, we can’t do much better than we’re doing now.”

Advocate Nancy Chapman said, “My father, a cardiologist, was committed to clinical research that could help prevent as well as treat the number one cause of death in the US; and I am committed to work to keep adequate funding for cardiovascular research a high priority for this Congress and Administration.”

“The numbers in the AHA report are staggering,” You’re the Cure advocate Deb Wells said after the reception. “We know that 80% of women who have heart disease can prevent it because heart disease is preventable, so it’s very important to talk about heart health and research at the federal level.”

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Pictured, left to right: AHA volunteers Gail H-B, Deb W, Nancy C, Neha A, and Executive Director/Vice President of AHA GWR Soula Antoniou. 

 

<Special thanks for AHA intern Melissa Rohman for development of this blog post>

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