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NEWS // January 15, 2015

American Heart Association: A Partner in Heart Health

The why factor – it’s an important aspect to consider when it comes to your health. Why do we do the things we do? Why should you care about your heart health? For Eric Thompson, Senior Director of Communications and Marketing at the American Heart Association, his why is his family.  

“I’ve had family members die at a relatively young age from heart related issues. I don’t want to die young and I don’t want my kids to die young either,” says Thompson.

Thompson works for the nation’s oldest, largest voluntary organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular diseases and stroke – the American Heart Association (AHA). The AHA San Diego division, part of the Western States affiliate, has played a vital role in furthering the organization’s mission to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Their partnership with the County of San Diego’s Love Your Heart initiative is a natural fit – coming together to help increase heart health awareness and encourage San Diego County residents to get a free blood pressure screening and “know their numbers.”

 “Knowing your numbers is the key piece to heart health. We can’t look at someone and know about their heart health. Love Your Heart helps start the process to learning about heart health,” says Thompson.

The AHA has worked closely with the County on many heart health initiatives including Move More Month, formerly known as National Walking Day, and Go Red for Women.

 “The County has been there since the beginning, helping leverage our efforts to fight chronic disease. With Love Your Heart reinforcing the importance of knowing your numbers, it falls directly into what we are doing,” says Thompson.

Every year, the AHA San Diego division hosts the Go Red for Women Luncheon to kick-off its large scale Go Red for Women campaign to take a stand against heart disease – the number one killer of women.

“We help promote the Love Your Heart event at the Go Red for Women luncheon. The last two years, we’ve served as a screening site and conducted free blood pressure screenings on-site,” says Thompson.

The AHA works hard to help create healthy communities by raising funds for local research and providing residents an opportunity to give back to their community.

“As a volunteer driven organization, we’re always looking for volunteers to help drive what we do. Whether it be health fairs, community events, educating kids, raising funds – there is an opportunity for everyone,” says Thompson.  

“Speaking of fundraising, over $10 million came back to San Diego research institutions through AHA fundraising opportunities. Through fundraising efforts, we are able to fund a lot of research that helps people live healthier lifestyles, helps improve quality of healthcare – with the goal of eliminating cardiovascular disease and stroke.”

Thompson is excited for this year’s Love Your Heart event and is looking forward to seeing community members participate and take charge of their own heart health.

“Get your numbers checked,” says Thompson. “It’s important to have a baseline so you can make changes.  When you see positive changes in your numbers, it’s a great feeling.”

What’s your why for knowing your numbers?

Check out the American Heart Association Life’s Simple 7 to start taking steps toward a healthy heart today! And follow their efforts on Facebook and Twitter.