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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

New data show disconnect in understanding heart disease risks

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Monday, January 29, 2024   

As American Heart Month gets underway this Thursday, experts are trying to create more awareness in South Dakota and elsewhere.

But they're grappling with troubling data about the public's recognition of heart disease as a threat.

An annual report from the American Heart Association shows that heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the U.S. - just as it has for the past century.

But report authors say more than half of respondents - in a survey commissioned by the organization - did not identify that as the case.

The Heart Association's Regional Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, Chrissy Meyer, said what's more concerning is that roughly the same percentage of people are likely dealing with a heart issue of some kind.

"Nearly half of all people in the U.S. have some type of cardiovascular disease," said Meyer.

The report also notes that 38% of adults with high blood pressure are unaware they have it, creating more risk concerns.

Meyer said the good news is that the dramatic increase in cardiovascular deaths seen at the onset of the pandemic appears to have slowed.

However, researchers still have a lot to learn about COVID-19's long-term health effects, as well as the impacts of unhealthy habits people picked up during that time.

Heart disease also is the leading cause of death in South Dakota. Meyer said residents around the state should try to have more conversations with their doctor about any risks.

And she said it can't be stressed enough that CPR training should be prioritized when first responders have longer distances to travel.

"We are a rural state, and making sure that individuals, when faced with a cardiac emergency," said Meyer, "know exactly what to do to help save the life of most likely a loved one, is so vital and so important."

The report says overall, the number of cardiovascular-related deaths in the U.S. increased by nearly 3,000 last year to a total of more than 931,000.



Disclosure: American Heart Association of South Dakota contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Civic Engagement, Health Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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