Listen to Your Heart

By Erin Epstein

When people imagine heart disease, they usually think of older people. In reality, children of all ages can be affected by heart disease. Sudden cardiac arrest is the top cause of death among children on school property nationwide. That is why the Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation (CCF) has named September as Children’s Cardiomyopathy Awareness Month, and why national lawmakers are getting involved.

Children’s cardiomyopathy is a chronic and potentially life-threatening heart disease that affects how the heart muscle pumps blood. An estimated 30,000 children are living with cardiomyopathy, and 2,000 young people die each year of sudden cardiac arrest.

After losing two children to cardiomyopathy, Lisa Yue founded CCF, a nonprofit organization focused on education, awareness, advocacy and funding research for pediatric cardiomyopathy. The organization is now introducing Children’s Cardiomyopathy Awareness Month in the hope of raising awareness and prompting parents to investigate family history and risk factors, and get children tested for pediatric cardiomyopathy.

As the school year begins, a national legislative initiative called the SAFE PLAY Act – Supporting Athletes, Families and Educators to Protect the Lives of Athletic Youth – has been introduced. The SAFE PLAY Act will focus on issues such as heat exposure, CPR and AED training, concussion response and energy drink consumption. The goal is to keep children safe in athletics and on campus by supporting research and ensuring best practices.

Cardiomyopathy is the number one cause of sudden cardiac arrest and heart transplants among kids, which is why it is so important to listen to your heart.

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