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Cook County Commission recognizes February as American Heart Month

On Feb. 10, Cook County Commission approved a resolution introduced by 6th District Commissioner Donna Miller to recognize February as American Heart Month in Cook County.

Miller has made it a priority to promote efforts to address heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in Cook County. The resolution is intended to help promote awareness of cardiovascular health and encourage Cook County employees to take virtual CPR and AED training.

“Heart disease accounted for nearly 11,000 deaths in Cook County in 2020 alone, and our African American community is disproportionately impacted by this health issue,” Miller said. “I hope that this resolution recognizing American Heart Month can raise awareness about the importance of prioritizing our cardiovascular health and encourage Cook County employees to take advantage of the trainings available for them to learn CPR and AED. Nothing could be more important than building healthy communities for all our Cook County residents.”

In 2019, Miller help develop a countywide CPR and AED training program that includes a hands-on practice component to equip employees with the information and tools needed to help someone suffering from cardiac arrest.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, she sponsored a resolution to create a virtual CPR and AED training as part of the on-boarding process for all new county employees. Since the initiative began in 2019, hundreds of Cook County employees have completed the training.

This effort is particularly important for African Americans, who have higher instances of heart disease, but are less likely to have bystander CPR performed when suffering from cardiac arrest, she said.

Nearly half of all non-Hispanic African American adults have some form of cardiovascular disease, but are 30-50% less likely to have bystander CPR performed than white adults. Having CPR initiated by a bystander when someone is suffering from cardiac arrest can almost double the chances of survival.

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in Cook County and across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates there are 805,000 heart attacks every year, with Americans suffering a heart attack approximately every 36 seconds.

The United States is currently on track to have more than 130 million adults, or 45.1% of the U.S. population, having some form of cardiovascular disease by 2035.

Efforts to raise awareness about this critical issue are crucial to encouraging positive behaviors and educating people on how to keep themselves and their loved ones healthy.

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