Cardiovascular Health, Nutrition and Physical Activity: What's New

October is Sudden Cardiac Arrest Month

Sudden cardiac arrest is an emergency in which the heart suddenly stops beating. It can happen to anyone at any age, even young people. Often there is no warning.

If a person suddenly collapses, is unresponsive, and is having difficulty breathing or has already stopped breathing, he or she is likely in cardiac arrest. Unless someone acts immediately, that person will likely die within minutes.

In fact, for every 16 Michiganders who have a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital, data show that only 1 will survive.

Here's what you can do to save a life:
  1. Call 9-1-1 immediately. Yell for someone to call 9-1-1 or, if you are alone with the person, call 9-1-1 before starting hands-only CPR.
  2. Perform hands-only CPR*. If a teen or adult is in cardiac arrest, push hard and fast in the center of the chest until EMS arrives. Watch this short 90-second video to learn hands-only CPR.
  3. If an AED** is available, use it. An AED is portable machine that delivers an electric shock to the heart. Anyone can use an AED; no special training is required - the device will talk you through the steps.

Don't let fear of COVID-19 prevent you from saving a life. Risk of transmission from hands-only CPR and AED use is low, and you can use a mask to cover your mouth and nose to protect yourself.

Remember: You may be a person's only chance of survival.

* cardiopulmonary resuscitation 
** automated external defibrillator

It is normal for your brain to change as you get older. Having healthy blood pressure can lower your risk for memory loss and confusion. Follow your healthcare provider's guidance to manage your blood pressure.

For more information about blood pressure, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention high blood pressure website.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Information

COVID-19 is a new kind of illness caused by a virus. It spreads easily between people, and can cause fever, coughing, and trouble breathing.

What should people with chronic diseases know about COVID-19?

Anyone can get sick from COVID-19, but people who are older than 65 and people of any age who have a serious chronic disease are the most likely to become very ill or die.

People who have one or more of these chronic conditions should be extra careful to protect their health from COVID-19:

  • Asthma and lung disease;
  • Heart disease;
  • Unmanaged diabetes;
  • Severe obesity (BMI of more than 40); and/or
  • Weakened immune systems because of diseases like HIV or because of cancer treatments.
What can people with chronic diseases and their families do to protect themselves from COVID-19?

Making healthier choices every day can help people prevent and improve their chronic disease, as well as their well-being overall. Some of the most important healthy choices include quitting tobacco use, getting more physical activity, and eating nutritious meals and snacks.

People with chronic diseases must be sure to:

  • Take regular medications on time and as directed. (Reach out to your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining an extra supply of medications in case you cannot get to the pharmacy or clinic.)
  • Make time to keep measuring your blood pressure if you have hypertension or your blood sugar if you have diabetes.
  • Use the telemedicine/telehealth option for a regular medical visit. (Your healthcare provider can tell you if your insurance company offers this option.)
If you or a family member starts to get a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, it may be because of COVID-19. This is what you should do next:

The information on this page is taken from the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors fact sheet entitled "Chronic Disease and COVID-19: What You Need to Know." The entire fact sheet, which includes additional facts about COVID-19, is available as a PDF file. Download the fact sheet.PDF icon

Additional COVID-19 Resources

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