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February Declared American Heart Month in North Dakota
North Dakota Ag Connection - 02/08/2018

Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States dies of heart disease -- about 2,200 deaths each day. In North Dakota, more than 1,600 people die of heart disease and stroke each year. However, 80 percent of those deaths could be prevented. Governor Doug Burgum has proclaimed February as "American Heart Month" to help raise awareness of the risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) encourages citizens to become educated on the risk factors for heart disease and healthy lifestyle choices to prevent heart disease. It is important for citizens to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to recognize a cardiac arrest. Heart attack warning signs include:

- Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.

- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

- Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.

- Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Call 9-1-1 if you see or have any of these symptoms. Treatment can be more effective if given quickly. Every minute counts!

The NDDoH Division of Emergency Medical Systems (EMS) and the American Heart Association through the North Dakota Cardiac System of Care work to promote survival from cardiac events. Through the Cardiac Ready Communities project, communities in North Dakota are actively empowered to lower heart attack mortality rates. This effort works to improve survival from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) events that occur outside of the hospital in North Dakota.

Currently, there are five designated Cardiac Ready Communities in North Dakota, with 25 more communities working towards designation. These communities demonstrate dedication by educating their residents on the signs/symptoms of a cardiac event and how to respond appropriately including performing CPR and how to confidently use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). For more information on the Cardiac Ready Communities project, visit

"Seconds matter when a neighbor, co-worker, or family member has a cardiac event, and in rural North Dakota, there can be time delays before first responders can arrive on the scene," said Shila Thorson, State Stroke & Cardiac System Coordinator. "No one should lose a loved one because no one nearby knew how to help. Communities working together to create a chain of survival can make all the difference in whether a person survives a heart-related emergency and with less heart damage."

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