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The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association Shoots Straight for the Heart

Dr. Vince Mosesso, the medical director of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association, offers heart healthy Valentine's Day gift ideas

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- February is American Heart Month, symbolized by the celebration of Valentine's Day and a great time to let your loved ones know you care. While many will splurge on jewelry, flowers and other luxuries, why not give a gift to help that special someone stay young and healthy at heart?

"Every two minutes, someone in the U.S. dies of sudden cardiac arrest because of risk factors like a previous heart attack, heart disease, diabetes, smoking or obesity," says Dr. Vince Mosesso, the medical director of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association. "This year, give a Valentine's Day gift both you and your loved one can feel good about."

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is the nation's leading cause of death and kills more than 300,000 Americans each year -- more than breast cancer, lung cancer and AIDS combined. Shockingly, during American Heart Month alone, 20,000 Americans will die as a result of SCA, which is often confused with a heart attack. The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association strives to lessen these statistics by offering heart healthy gifts this Valentine's Day. Dr. Mosesso makes the following gift suggestions:

Food and candy:

  • Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants which absorb molecules that contribute to heart disease. Of course, the secret is in moderation -- a little more than a Hershey's Kiss each day is all you need. Also, don't eat that candy with a glass of milk, which counteracts the benefits.
  • Enjoy that morsel of dark chocolate with a glass or red wine which is also high in antioxidants from the grape seeds and skin, which increases the "good" HDL cholesterol and helps prevent blood clotting and plaque formation in arteries. But again, moderation is the key (one glass per day for women, no more than two glasses per day for men) and if you do not already drink alcohol, then you should not start now just for the health benefit.
  • On Valentine's Day, serve a breakfast of hot oatmeal or another whole grains/high fiber cereal and top it with berries. High fiber foods help to lower cholesterol and berries are another good source of antioxidants. Then make this healthy breakfast part of a regular routine several days a week rather than the bagel or doughnut.
  • Finally, don't forget the fresh fruit and vegetable basket. Use carrots, celery or fruit as snacks and get rid of the chips and cookies. Instead of "breaking bread" with family or friends, find time to sit for a few minutes and visit while snacking on an apple or some melon.

Consumer goods:

  • Buy yourself and your Valentine a good pair of walking shoes. And then put them to use. Make a regular date and walk together several times a week. And it's okay to occasionally reward yourself with a treat or sweet for sticking to your diet and exercise regimen.
  • Complying with a doctor's order to take drugs to control blood pressure, cholesterol, irregular heart beats and other cardiac conditions is an important part of good heart health. Buy yourself or your loved one a weekly pill container so that medications and doses can be tracked. And set a daily alarm on your cell phone or PDA as a back-up reminder to take your meds.
  • Does your Valentine smoke? Some nicotine gum or nicotine patches along with your love and moral support may help to kick that bad habit! And is a great gift from and for the heart.

Other ways to show you care:

  • Take a CPR class. Some organizations offer training for free. There are also online programs, and the American Heart Association offers a CPR Anytime Kit that allows you and your family members to learn CPR at home with a small manikin and an instructional DVD.
  • Does your local school, church or community center have an automated external defibrillator (AED)? If not, make a contribution to help finance the purchase, or better yet, get a group of friends to jointly fund the lifesaving device.
  • Schedule a doctor's appointment. Has your Valentine been putting off a physical exam or ignored the advice to get a stress test? Make that appointment, take the day off from work, take them to lunch, and then go with them to the doctor. Perhaps you can make an appointment for yourself too.

SCA is different than a heart attack. A heart attack is essentially a plumbing problem (such as a blocked artery) and SCA is an electrical issue of the heart. SCA occurs when the heart's electrical system malfunctions and the heart goes into a rapid heart beat and then stops beating. Most deaths from sudden cardiac arrest occur with little or no warning. Risk factors include a previous heart attack, coronary artery disease, diabetes, obesity and family medical history.

SCAA is the nation's largest organization singularly devoted to SCA prevention through better public awareness, better emergency response and better access to health care for patients at risk.

For more information, please visit

SOURCE Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association
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