Monday, December 6, 2010

Sex, race, place of residence influence high blood pressure incidence

American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report:

DALLAS, Dec. 6, 2010 — High blood pressure may help to explain why deaths from heart disease and stroke vary according to geography, race and sex, researchers reported in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

“Where you live, your race, and your gender strongly influence your risk of developing high blood pressure as you move from young adulthood into middle age — and hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke,” said Deborah A. Levine, M.D., M.P.H., lead study author and assistant professor of internal medicine in the Departments of Medicine and Neurology at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor.

Between 1968 and 2006, deaths from heart disease and stroke fell an impressive 65 percent, but everyone didn’t share equally in the positive trend, she said. Cardiovascular deaths are still higher in the southeastern United States, in blacks compared with whites, and in men compared with women.

“The gaps may be widening, particularly for blacks,” Levine said. “The reasons for the variations are not clear, so we examined whether high blood pressure might help to explain it.”

The researchers examined data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study that followed young people from Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Ill., Minneapolis, Minn. and Oakland, Calif., from the time they were 18-30 years old. Each center began the study with groups similar to each other for race, sex, and age. Among 3,436 participants who didn’t have high blood pressure when the research began, and were followed for 20 years (when average age was 45), hypertension was diagnosed in:

• 37.6 percent of black women; 34.5 percent of black men; 21.4 percent of white men and 12.3 percent of white women;

• 33.6 percent of Birmingham residents; 27.4 percent in Oakland; 23.4 percent in Chicago and 19 percent in Minneapolis.

After adjusting for multiple risk factors, living in Birmingham significantly increased the chance that a person would develop high blood pressure.

“In addition, independently of where they live, blacks — especially black women — are at markedly higher risk of hypertension even after we took into account factors that are known to affect blood pressure, such as physical activity and obesity,” Levine said.

More research is needed to understand the geographic and racial differences in high blood pressure documented in this study as well as the potential biological, environmental and genetic mechanisms, Levine said. “In the meantime, people at higher risk can benefit from close monitoring of their blood pressure and paying attention to risk factors such as obesity and physical activity.”

Co-authors are: Cora E. Lewis, M.D., M.S.P.H.; O. Dale Williams, Ph.D.; Monika M. Safford, M.D.; Kiang Liu, Ph.D.; David A. Calhoun, M.D.; Yongin Kim, M.S.; David R. Jacobs Jr., Ph.D.; and Catarina I. Kiefe, Ph.D., M.D. Individual author disclosures can be found on the manuscript.

The research was supported in part by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Health Care Reform: What it Means for You

If you’re like most Americans, you have questions about how the new health reform law, the Affordable Care Act, will affect you and your family. The American Heart Association has produced a series of brief videos with questions from real consumers and responses from experts about how the new law will impact patients with heart disease or stroke. Learn more by visiting:

Here are some videos that you may find helpful:

"Will health care reform make coverage more affordable for families like mine? How will it work?"

“How will healthcare reform address the needs of patients like me, who have lost their jobs and employer insurance?”

"Will the new health reform law make prevention and preventive coverage an integral part of health care and place more emphasis on preventing disease, rather than treating it?”

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Smoke-Free San Antonio Updates

Monday, August 9th at 2:00 p.m.
City Council’s Quality of Life Committee meeting, Municipal Plaza Building, Conference Room B, 114 West Commerce Street.

At this Committee meeting, the City of San Antonio’s Metro Health Department will lay out the proposed language of the smoke-free ordinance. We will need a large show of support to ensure that the Quality of Life Committee votes the ordinance out of committee where it will then be voted on by the entire city council.

Thursday, August 19th at 9:00 a.m.
City Council Meeting, City Council Chambers, 114 West Commerce Street.

At this meeting, City Council will vote on the smoke free ordinance. We need everyone to attend and to show their support!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Smoke-Free San Antonio Rally July 29

Smoke Free San Antonio Coalition members and supporters,

Smoke Free San Antonio will be having a rally in support of a smoke free city on Thursday, July 29th from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Aldaco’s in Stone Oak. At the rally, there will be free food and drinks (adult drinks can be purchased separately). We will provide free t-shirts to supporters; petition cards to be signed; up-to-date information on the efforts; and other ways to get involved in making San Antonio smoke free.

Join us for a fun event for an important cause!

Who: Smoke Free San Antonio members and supporters
What: Rally in support of a smoke free city
When: Thursday, July 29th, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Where: Aldaco’s Restaurant in Stone Oak, 20079 Stone Oak Parkway

Please feel free to let anyone know who is interested in making San Antonio smoke free.

If you have any question, please feel free to contact us at (210) 831-2143 or at

Monday, June 7, 2010

Smoke-Free San Antonio: Public Hearing this Thursday

The San Antonio City Council will hold a public hearing to discuss strengthening the current smoking ordinance this Thursday. This is our opportunity to show the City Council that all workplaces deserve to be smoke-free and if you are in the area, you are invited to attend.

Thursday, June 10
6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
City Council Chambers
Municipal Plaza Building 114 W. Commerce

A strong show of support and force is critically needed at this public hearing to show City Council a large number of supporters in favor of a smoke free San Antonio. Numbers talk and a large gathering will further reinforce to city leaders that there is strong support for this cause.

Supporters will not be asked to speak, unless they want to. If you wish to speak on the issue, we definitely encourage you to do so. Speakers will be allowed up to 3 minutes. PLUS, arrive early and be the first to an exclusive t-shirt and enjoy a mixer at which you can meet fellow supporters.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Research + Prevention = Lives Saved. Tell Congress Today!

Senator Bob Casey (PA) is circulating a letter that asks for $35 billion for the National Institutes of Health. This is the same amount requested by the American Heart Association to ensure continued progress in medical research, and Senator Casey’s office has requested our help in getting his fellow Senators to sign onto the letter. You can help by encouraging volunteers to visit Research Saves Lives to send a quick email to their Senators.

Ask your Senators to support $35 billion for the National Institutes for Health. These funds could support medical research leading to new treatments and even cures for heart disease and stroke. Act Today. Link: =

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s WISEWOMAN program screens low-income women for heart disease and stroke risk and provides follow up for those who need it. Right now, WISEWOMAN only has enough funding to operate in 20 states while millions of women across the country are forced to wait. Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death for women, and we know that this program has been effective in giving at-risk women the tools they need to prevent heart disease and stroke. The program, sadly, remains woefully underfunded.

More than 432,000 women die each year from CVD, but so many of those deaths could be prevented. Ask Members of Congress to fund WISEWOMAN, a program that helps women prevent heart disease and stroke. Take Action Today. Link=

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

More Positive Media for Smoke-Free San Antonio

Market forces alone won't make city smoke-free
SA Express News-May 25

Opponents of a stronger smoking ordinance like to wave the Economic Impact Flag when they argue that businesses are being regulated to death and that the city's tourism industry is likely to suffer from stiffer rules against lighting up.

If opponents are going to hang their hats on potential lost revenue as the heart of this debate, it's important to see the full picture.

The dangers of tobacco addiction and second-hand smoke, as well as the cost to communities in medical care, are attention-getters. Texas currently spends almost $1.5 billion a year in Medicaid funding on direct tobacco-related health care costs.

Curious to know whether smoking was a deal-breaker for conventioneers, I called Alcoholics Anonymous' General Service Office in New York about the group's upcoming international conference here. To be held over the July 4 weekend, the gathering is expected to draw 40,000 people. Smoking isn't on the organization's radar when it decides, more than 10 years out, where to hold its conventions, said a public information staffer for the group. “Most major cities don't allow smoking in the venue (and) many of us come from cities where smoking is banned,” the staffer said. “It's a nonissue, actually.”

But it is on the radar for the American Heart Association, the American Medical Association and about two dozen other national groups that won't consider cities that aren't smoke-free as convention sites. The AHA alone draws an estimated 30,000 people to its conventions.

The San Antonio Restaurant Association opposes the local ordinance under review but supports a statewide smoking ban, reasoning that no community should have a government-imposed edge over another in keeping and attracting businesses. That “edge” didn't materialize in Houston, where the city strengthened its smoking ordinance in 2007. Despite the bar and restaurant industry's protests to the contrary, it also seems unlikely that such an advantage would materialize locally.

Working with the San Antonio Tobacco Prevention and Control Coalition, the UT Health Science Center's Institute for Health Promotion Research conducted a telephone survey of area restaurants and bars that smoking patrons could, in theory, use as alternatives because they are located in communities that don't ban indoor smoking.

Smokers in Bexar County would be out of luck in most places.

Does that prove the market already is working by imposing smoking restrictions that customers support? Yes. So, too, does the statistic hailed by the restaurant association that 97 percent of eateries in town don't allow smoking indoors.

The numbers also prove that the market forces aren't strong enough to protect public health. For one, the restaurant association's numbers don't take into account local bars, their employees or their patrons. And, what of the hundreds of employees who work for the 3 percent of eateries that aren't smoke-free?

Even if employees truly were, in this economic environment, free to “vote with their feet,” why force someone to choose a paycheck over her health?

Report says smoking ordinance wouldn’t snuff out SA restaurants and bars
WOAI-May 25
SAN ANTONIO — If San Antonio ends up prohibiting smoking in indoor workplaces, would restaurants and bars likely lose patrons to other establishments outside the city limits that do allow smoking? According to a new analysis by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio the answer is no.

The report states that of the 165 licensed-to-serve alcohol establishments in 30 incorporated towns outside San Antonio, but within Bexar County, the vast majority (117) are already smoke-free. Plus, the remaining 48 are geographically separated from each other and don’t have the capacity to sustain an influx of smoking customers if San Antonio prohibits smoking in its bars and restaurants.

“Our analysis and data show that a comprehensive smoking ordinance would not have a detrimental effect on the city of San Antonio’s bar and restaurant industry,” said lead author Courtney A. Denton, research associate with the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR), whose researchers authored the report on behalf of the San Antonio Tobacco Prevention and Control Coalition. “We believe the ordinance would actually benefit the industry, help smokers kick the habit and improve air quality.”

San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro said he would push for a strong anti-smoking ordinance during a May 7th press conference, and polls show the move would be supported by two-thirds of registered voters.

CLICK HERE to view the UTHSC news release.

CLICK HERE to view the report.


Anti-smoking measure would not put San Antonio bars out of business, report shows
San Antonio Business Journal

If San Antonio’s City Council adopts an ordinance that prohibits smoking in indoor workplaces, the bar and restaurant industry is not likely to lose patrons to nearby businesses outside city limits that do allow smoking, according to a new report by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Earlier this month, Mayor Julian Castro announced at a news conference that he would push for a strong anti-smoking ordinance that prohibits smoking in indoor workplaces. Bars and restaurants currently can permit smoking if their establishments allow for a smoker’s section that doesn’t impact the rest of the patrons.

The institute identified and mapped the locations of the 165 licensed-to-serve alcohol establishments in 30 incorporated towns outside San Antonio but within Bexar County. The reports showed that the vast majority — or 117 of those bars — are already smoke-free. The remaining 48 businesses outside San Antonio that do allow smoking, would not have the capacity to sustain an influx of smokers if San Antonio prohibits smoking in bars and restaurants altogether.

“Our analysis and data show that a comprehensive smoking ordinance would not have a detrimental effect on the city of San Antonio’s bar and restaurant industry,” says lead author Courtney A. Denton, research associate with the Institute for Health Promotion Research, whose researchers authored the report on behalf of the San Antonio Tobacco Prevention and Control Coalition. “We believe the ordinance would actually benefit the industry, help smokers kick the habit and improve air quality.”

The Institute for Health Promotion Research investigates reasons why cancer and chronic disease among Hispanics in San Antonio, South Texas and the nation. The institute was founded by the Health Science Center in 2006. The Health Science Center is one of the country’s leading health sciences universities and is the top research institution in South Texas.

The full report is available here.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Smoke-Free Texas: Senate Committee

During the 2009 Legislative Session the Senate Health and Human Service committee passed the Smoke-Free Texas by 5-3 vote.  Here is video of that vote:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

San Antonio: We’re Ready for Smoke-Free Workplaces

On Friday May 7 the Smoke-Free San Antonio Coalition held a press conference and rally to announce their efforts to make San Antonio the next smoke-free city in Texas.

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro advocates for smoke-free workplaces

Members of the Coalition joined forces with San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and District 7 City Councilman Justin Rodriguez to support a stronger clean air policy, citing evidence that smoke-free laws are good for public health, good for business, good for workers, and good for reducing local health care costs.

Members of the San Antonio Smoke-Free Coalition gathered at Baptist Medical Center to urge San Antonio leaders to adopt a stronger smoke-free ordinance that would prohibit smoking in all indoor public and work places, including all restaurants and bars. Many worksites in San Antonio continue to expose workers and the public to secondhand smoke, which is proven to increase the likelihood of cancer, heart disease and illnesses.

San Antonio first passed a smoke-free ordinance in 2003. That ordinance allows smoking in restaurants, stand-alone bars and restaurants/bars if they follow several guidelines. Other areas not covered in the current smoking ordinance include bingo facilities, bowling alley’s, convention facilities, educational facilities (private and public), gaming facilities, comedy clubs and private clubs.

More Pics:

Councilmember and smok-free champion Justin Rodriguez

From left to right: American Cancer Society staff member, Mayor Julian Castro and AHA Sr. Government Relations Director Joel Romo

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

CPR Day at the Capitol

On May 7 the American Heart Association along with the Texas Society of Anesthesiologist and AT&T held a special training for all lawmakers and staff on how to perform CPR and use an AED. We wanted all Lawmakers and Capitol staffers to be trained on the lifesaving techniques of CPR and AEDs.

Last Spring a tragedy was avoided in the halls of the Capitol when State Representative Edmund Kuempel suffered a massive heart attack one evening. Minutes after he collapsed fellow State Rep. and physician John Zewas performed CPR and used an AED to shock Kuempel's heart back to a normal rhythm.

St. Representative Edmund Kuempel

Despite the severity of the event and spending days in ICU afterwards Edmund Kuempel survived the heart attack and is now doing well. Without the fast action of courageous bystanders and knowledge of CPR and AEDs, Representative Kuempel would like likely not be here today.

Throughout the years the American Heart Association has strongly advocated for public access to defibrillators. Now AEDs can be founded at nearly every airport, school, shopping mall, and sporting event. We even helped get AEDs placed throughout the State Capitol.

Have you been trained in CPR?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hold Em or Fold Em….Just Don’t Double Down

Anybody seen this new menu item from KFC? It’s basically a bacon and cheese sandwich but with fried chicken breasts instead of bread (also available in a grilled version). I know, great for all the low carb diets out there. What do you think? Is it a culinary train wreck or will it become one of your new guilty pleasures (only in extreme moderation – I hope).  Nutritional information below...

Sandwich                                             Calories       Fat (g)          Sodium (mg)

KFC Original Recipe Double Down       540              32                 1380

KFC Grilled Double Down                      460               23                1430

Monday, April 5, 2010

Dine Smart During Public Health Week

April 5-11 is National Public Health Week - - what are you doing to celebrate?

You could start walking during your lunch break at work, or find out your numbers like cholesterol and blood pressure, or make it a point to start eating healthier. Today we’d like to offer some tips on how to eat healthier when dining out.

Studies show that Americans typically underestimate their daily caloric content by almost 25% because they are not paying attention to portions and serving sizes. The easiest way to determine a serving size is to read the Nutrition Fact or menu label. If you do this every time you dine you will know if you are eating the right amount of food.

Here are some tips when dining at a restaurant:

Get tips on choosing a restaurant with healthier options.
Learn More

Turn your waiter into an ally in your quest to order a healthy, nutritious and tasty dish when you dine out. These questions can help you get started.
Learn More

I spy … something healthy! Learn the meanings behind common words found on menus so you can order nutritious dishes.
Learn More

How you order your dish cooked can have as much of an impact on its nutritional value as the dish itself.
Learn More

Fast food can be heart-healthy if you know what to look for. Follow these tips to get healthier meals on the go.
Learn More

Indian, Italian, Chinese? What's your favorite fare? Check out some great eating tips based on differnt types of cuisines.
Learn More

Tell us - - what are you doing this week for National Public Health Week?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Heart Month is Upon Us

We are always asking our lawmakers to vote one way or anther and you do a great job of helping us spread our message. But we thought now would be a good time to make sure they know how to prevent heart disease or stroke in their own lives.

Let your lawmakers know that February is Heart Month and we're thinking of them!

February is American Heart month, a time to raise awareness about heart disease and how we can do things to prevent it. Cardiovascular disease is the number 1 killer in Texas, but it doesn't have to be that way. In fact we have just developed 7 Simple Solutions for healthy living. Here are some examples of them:

Exercise - walking just 30 minutes a day can improve your heart and increase your lifespan

Nutrition - trim things like fat, sodium, and cholesterol from your diet and reduce your risk of heart disease

Know Your Numbers - being aware of your weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels can allow you to manage your body. Know your numbers to control your risk.

Signs and Symptoms - chest pains could mean a heart attack and loss of feeling on one side of the body might indicate a stroke. Fast treatment is key so know the signs and symptoms to take action quickly.

These are just a few things you can do to reduce your risk. Please check out for more on the fight against heart disease and stroke. Remember to share this with your friends and family click here to share with your lawmakers.

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