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A new study shows health disparities cost Texas billions of dollars; Senate rejects impeachment articles against Mayorkas, ending trial against Cabinet secretary; Iowa cuts historical rural school groups.

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The Senate dismisses the Mayorkas impeachment. Maryland Lawmakers fail to increase voting access. Texas Democrats call for better Black maternal health. And polling confirms strong support for access to reproductive care, including abortion.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Black Arkansans urged to prioritize heart health

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Tuesday, February 27, 2024   

During Black History Month, the American Heart Association is emphasizing the significance of heart health education and establishing a heritage of wellness among people of color.

Heart disease caused more than 8,500 deaths in Arkansas in 2021, making it the number one cause of mortality in the state.

Dr. Anthony M. Fletcher, an interventional cardiologist at CHI St. Vincent in Little Rock, said Arkansas ranks in the top five in the nation, for deaths from cardiovascular disease, whether it be stroke, heart attacks or heart failure. He emphasized prevention includes recognizing the risk factors and then taking action.

"What I would tell Arkansans is that we need to know those numbers, weight, blood pressure, sugar level, cholesterol level, waist circumference," Fletcher outlined. "Those are very important numbers. You keep those numbers controlled, you'll be less likely to succumb from cardiovascular disease. "

Fletcher stressed the importance of getting regular health screenings. He recommended people visit their primary care physician or local clinics early in life for checkups. He noted cardiovascular disease could be prevented through education and modest lifestyle changes such as exercising 150 minutes a week, eating healthy foods, and managing blood pressure.

According to the American Heart Association, 90% of people who suffer cardiac arrest are outside a hospital. Fletcher pointed out the importance of all people knowing how to do CPR, because if performed immediately, it can triple a cardiac arrest victim's chance of survival.

"Recently in Arkansas, we passed legislation encouraging students to be trained in CPR before they graduate," observed. "I think that's a national campaign that's picking up momentum, so that everybody who's graduating learns how to do CPR. And obviously, if the children know, they can spread that on to their family members."

Fletcher added CPR has gone from the pumping and the breathing to just hands-only CPR. He suggested recognizing the patient's breathing, assessing for a pulse, seeking assistance to calling 911 and initiating chest compressions.

"People who have heart attacks, 33% of them never get to the hospital because of the fact that they have an arrhythmogenic event, and sudden death," Fletcher explained. "CPR will help maintain that individual until help can get there."


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