Good Sunday morning, everyone! In the last six months, I have known three men who had a heart attack in a public place.

I was at an eatery here in town when one occurred this summer, although bystanders immediately administered CPR or Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, while I called 911, he didn’t make it.

I am determined to relearn CPR this year and to stay certified and here is why. Immediate CPR can double or triple chances of survival after a heart attack.

In one year alone 475,000 Americans die from a heart attack. About 90 percent of people who experience an out-of-hospital heart attack die. Nearly 45 percent of those survived when bystander CPR was administered.

There is no way around it, if you don’t do CPR, the victim will die. If you do CPR, even if it isn’t perfect, there is a far better chance of survival. The choice is simple. If the person you are delivering CPR to does not survive, state laws are designed to protect well-meaning bystanders. Even if the patient does not survive, you will have given that person a chance.

And, since it is the new year and we have talked previously about healthy habits here are five things to do every day to keep your own heart healthy.

• Eat healthy fats, NOT trans fats. We need fat in our diets but one fat we don’t need is trans fat, which is known to increase your risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke over a lifetime. So, read the labels on all foods. Trans fat appears on the ingredients list as partially hydrogenated oils.

• Practice good dental hygiene, especially flossing your teeth daily. Dental health is a good indication of overall health, including your heart, because those who have gum disease often have the same risk factors for heart disease.

• Get enough sleep. One study looking at 3,000 adults over the age of 45 found that those who slept fewer than six hours per night were about twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack as people who slept six to eight hours per night. This is actual the same no matter your age or other health habits.

• Don’t sit to long at one time. Research has suggested that staying seated for long periods of time is bad for your health no matter how much exercise you do. So, it’s important to move throughout the day.

• Avoid secondhand smoke like the plague. Studies show that the risk of developing heart disease is about 25 to 30 percent higher for people who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work. This is because the chemicals emitted from cigarette smoke promote the development of plaque buildup in the arteries.

Follow these five tips and you’ll be doing your heart a favor and then do your friends and neighbors a favor and get CPR certified.

Give. Advocate. Volunteer. Live United.

Sherri M. Askren is president of United Way of Danville Area, Inc., 28 W. North St., Danville, IL 61832. Phone: 442-3512

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