Prevent Heart Disease and Live long

February 11, 2015Comments Off on Prevent Heart Disease and Live long

The heart may be just as small as the fist, but it is considered to be one of the strongest muscles in the human body. Aside from this, it is also one of the most important organs simply because of the fact that it controls the whole blood circulation. As small as it is, the heart can actually create enough energy to drive a truck for 20 miles, pump 1.5 million barrels of blood during a lifetime, beat 100,000 times a day, and many more. Aside from this, it is only the heart that has a special cluster of self-starting cells. These cells are responsible fro making sure that the heart is able to beat a specific pattern. This makes it even more important for us to make sure that we take good care of the heart to prevent heart diseases.

Regardless of age, the two best ways to prevent a heart disease are being physically active and following a healthy eating habit. To be physically healthy, the human body needs at least 150 minutes of aerobic physical activity like brisk walking or 75 minutes of an intensified aerobic physical activity like running or cycling or a combination of both activities. A muscle-strengthening activity every week is also ideal to have the muscle groups- legs, hips, back, chest, arms, abdomen and shoulders working. This includes activities like push ups, sit ups, and squats. While you’re at it,  you also need to make sure that you keep away from a sedentary way of life. This means limiting the amount of hours you spend in front of the TV as well as the computer.

Aside from having an active lifestyle, the food that people eat plays a vital role in the risk of having heart disease or stroke. A healthy diet contains fiber-rich whole grains, fish, nuts, seeds and fruits and vegetables. It is also advisable to avoid meat as much as possible or take meat only twice or thrice a week. As to dairy products, doctors suggest choosing fat-free and low-fat ones. Likewise, choose foods that are low in saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium, sugar and trans fat. Now, this does not have to mean that you would be eating bland food your whole life. The secret lies in how you prepare your food. For example, you can top your oatmeal with slices of your favorite fruit. You can prepare a tuna spread which you can put on top of crackers; or you can do canapes with some help from your leftover bread. If you have a sweet tooth, you can turn your favorite fruit into a smoothie and have it chilled.

Although heart diseases can affect anyone regardless of age, older adults are still advised to take extra caution. Some of the steps that you can take in order to better prepare yourself for the worst scenario would be to have a AED unit on hand as well as to undergo CPR training. It will be helpful also to learn the warning signs of a heart attack or stroke to know when to consult a doctor or not. Just as the old adage says, prevention is better than cure.

Fighting Heart Attack in the 21st Century

February 9, 2015Comments Off on Fighting Heart Attack in the 21st Century

A heart attack, or what is known as the myocardial infarction in the medical world, takes place when the flow of blood in a person’s heart is blocked with a clot, fat or cholesterol. Once the blood flow is interrupted, the heart muscle becomes damaged due to the lack of oxygen reaching it. What actually happens is that the cells in the heart muscle starts to die due to oxygen starvation. Although heart attack is one of the most common heart diseases and can sometimes be fatal, many people now survive this disease and get to return to active lives again.

Dr. Richard Lee of Harvard Heart Letter said in one of his papers that, during the 1970s, 40% of heart attack victims die from the attack or from further complications. Today, that percentage has been greatly reduced to around 10%. This significant change is attributed to the fact that there have been a number of advances made in drug therapy as well as effective public campaigns and higher awareness. The medical procedure called angioplasty has also gone radical changes that allowed it to better save lives. Of course, it also helps that more and more people have now become aware of the different first aid techniques that they can use while waiting for the paramedics to arrive.

In this time of modern technology and studies, the medical world was able to produce advanced drugs for treating blood-clod in the heart like streptokinase. Drugs like beta blockers and statins have also been shown to protect the heart after a heart attack. This was made apparent after using the said medication in a number of clinical trials.

Information and education campaigns have also made people more aware when it comes to the symptoms and signs not only of heart attack but also of other cardiovascular diseases. Knowing the classical symptoms like severe chest pain and profuse sweating can make people take action right away. Doctors also tend to include in their public campaigns the non-classical symptoms that usually happen to women including nausea, vomiting and shoulder pains.

Once a person feels the symptoms and a doctor confirms the situation, a procedure called angioplasty can be performed right away. This is the process of opening the blocked artery, thus restoring the blood flow. Though this procedure has become available in the 90s, not all hospitals have the equipment to perform angioplasty. Today, a lot of hospitals are now capable with this life-saving procedure along with the other wonders that technology brought to science.

Now, if you or someone you know is at risk for a heart attack, it would be to your advantage to have an AED unit on hand, or at least to learn about how to properly administer, at the very least, chest compression. Citywide CPR is one of the institutions that you can go to if you would like to know how to work your way around an AED unit as well as how to properly conduct a CPR.

CPR: The Life-saving first aid

February 5, 2015Comments Off on CPR: The Life-saving first aid

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, refers to a combination of techniques intended to manually pump the heart to get blood circulating in the body. The aim of doing so is to deliver oxygen to the brain of a person under sudden cardiac arrest until definitive measures are taken to get the heart working again. In most cases, these “definitive measures” are carried out by paramedics or medical professionals in the hospital.

If a person shows no signs of life or a person is unconscious, not breathing or just gasping, a CPR must be performed right away. According to the American Heart Association, if a person is not trained to do CPR, or has had training in the past but is not confident about carrying the whole cycle out, a hands-only CPR will do. Hands-only CPR is an uninterrupted chest compression of 100 a minute until an ambulance arrives. On the other hand, if a person received CPR training and performs CPR regularly, a CPR with 30 compressions can be started before checking the airway and giving rescue breaths. Now, for a chest compression to be effective, it has to be at least an inch deep.

The American Heart Association, also known as the AHA, has also crafted an acronym- CAB for people to always remember the procedure of CPR. C stands for Compressions that will restore blood circulation, A is for airway and B is for breathing or breath for the person under cardiac arrest. This was a re-arrangement of the previous A-B-C cycle that most first aiders have come to know about in the past.

Chest compression is done by placing the heel of one hand on the center of a person’s chest, placing the other hand on top of the first hand and pushing straight down the chest for at least 2 inches. It is important to remember to keep the elbows straight and placing the shoulders directly above the hands. The chest compression should also be done in a smoother manner, without the aider jerking on each pump. This is to prevent unnecessary pressure on the ribs of the patient.

In clearing the person’s airway, the head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver is done. By putting the palm on a person’s forehead, tilting it back and lifting the chin to forward, the airway is opened. Of course, in some cases, tilting the head and lifting the chin might not be enough. That being the case, you need to make sure that you do an inspection of the throat. Once airway is open, pinch the person’s nostrils and prepare to give a rescue breath. If the chest rises, give a second breath. Repeat the head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver. These instructions are not substitute for training, though. It is still best to undergo training to learn CPR and who knows, one might save a life.

If you are interested in knowing how to administer CPR, your best move would be to take advantage of the different CPR training programs currently being offered by Citywide CPR

Heart Attack: What It Is, Causes, Symptoms, and What to Do

February 3, 2015Comments Off on Heart Attack: What It Is, Causes, Symptoms, and What to Do

What is it and what causes it?

Heart attack claims millions of lives all over the globe every year. Myocardial infarction, or commonly known as heart attack, occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle is blocked. If this blood flow is not immediately restored, the heart muscle dies, thus causing heart attack. Heart attack is the result of coronary heart disease (CHD), which is characterized by the build up of plaque, a waxy substance, in the coronary arteries. If the plaque ruptures inside the arteries, it can lead to blood clot formation which grows overtime. As it grows, it completely blocks the passage of blood in the coronary artery. The plaque build up may count years so this heart damage may not be obvious at first but could cause long term problems in the future.

What are its symptoms?

Symptoms of heart attack can occur anytime and while some people would just shrug it off and dismiss it as a symptom, it is important to pay attention to it as it can save your life. Even if you are not sure, seek the help of your doctor if ever you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Chest pains are the most indicative symptom of a heart attack. This can be felt as a squeezing, burning, fullness, pressure, or discomfort on the left side of your chest that lasts for a few minutes.
  • Shortness of breath is another symptom to look out for. This can occur whether your body is at rest or doing strenuous activities. This could also go along with the chest pains or before it.
  • Upper body discomfort is another sign of heart attack. This can be characterized by a feeling of discomfort on your arms, back, shoulders, neck or above the belly button.

Symptoms of heart attack vary from person to person, from mild to severe. Thus, if you are feeling any or a combination of symptoms stated above, it is best to check with a specialist as treatments works best when it is given after a symptom has occurred and can save lives and prevent disabilities.

What do I do?

If you think you or someone you know might be having a heart attack, be alert and do not hesitate to call for help immediately. Call 911 for emergency medical attention. Acting fast can save a life. When it comes to heart attack, time is of the essence which is why CPR or cardio pulmonary resuscitation as first aid is very important if a person might be having a heart attack. While heart attack is the leading cause of death everywhere, many people would have higher chances of survival if they got help faster.

If you are not familiar with how CPR should be administered, your best option would be to make sure that you have an AED unit on hand. An AED unit can help guide you through determining whether a patient is in need of chest compression or the application of electric jolts in order to jump start the heart.

How To Perform Hands-Only CPR

January 27, 2015Comments Off on How To Perform Hands-Only CPR

CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is an important first aid technique that is performed to people whose heartbeat has suddenly stopped or is not breathing properly or at all. The objective of performing CPR is to delay tissue death by keeping the blood and oxygen circulating in the body. This is done when medical response is yet to come.

While there are two forms of CPR, chest compression (also known as hands-only CPR) and rescue breaths (artificial respiration), we are going to focus more on the hands-only CPR as it is the one recommended if the rescuer is untrained or is worried about giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a stranger. CPR through rescue breaths should only be conducted by people who are confident with their CPR skills.

To carry out the chest compression CPR, these are the following procedures:

  1. Put your hands together in the way that one of your palms is over the back of your other hand. Interlock your fingers together and put them over the breastbone at the center of the chest of the person you are to conduct CPR to.
  2. With your shoulders above your hands and using your body’s weight, press straight down on the person’s chest to 2 inches or 5-6 cm.
  3. Perform 100-120 chest compressions per minute on the person.
  4. Keep pumping on his chest until an ambulance or medical help has arrived.

Aside from these steps, a person who is left alone with an unresponsive victim who needs CPR and has no further knowledge about proper CPR can seek help from telephone systems. When you call for an ambulance, and while waiting for it to arrive, telephone systems also give basic CPR instructions that you can do to the victim including CPR and other life-saving techniques. The use of an AED can also prove to be helpful in situations like these.

This *case happened to 11-year old Kendall Stilwell in California. When she noticed that her grandmother Rita Lovato was unconscious and not breathing. Scared and not knowing what to do, she immediately called 911. Lovato had a cardiac arrest and no adult was around to perform CPR on her except the 11-year old girl. When Stilwell called for help, the 911 dispatcher on the other line helped calm the little girl down and gave her instructions to help resuscitate her grandmother and assured her that help is on the way. The dispatcher instructed her on how to perform hands-only CPR since she is untrained in CPR, and even helped her in counting the beats for her at the right tempo.

With the help of Stilwell’s composure and the detailed instructions given by the 911 dispatcher, Lovato was able to survive the cardiac arrest. This story proves that knowledge and skills in CPR can go a long way in saving a life. Whether you are medical professional or not, knowing how to conduct CPR is highly indispensable in cases of emergencies. If you are interested in knowing how to conduct CPR properly, you can always enroll yourself in any of the CPR training programs being offered by a number of institutions such as Citywide CPR.

Understanding The Importance of CPR

January 24, 2015Comments Off on Understanding The Importance of CPR

At this day and age, medicine and technology has truly improved in terms of improving the chances of heart attack survival. However, since heart attack usually comes unexpectedly, it is still one of the leading causes of deaths all over the world due to its suddenness. Heart attack chooses no time and place, and so, this is where the importance of CPR knowledge comes in.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, shortly known as CPR, is an emergency procedure which is done to manually preserve blood circulation in the brain, heart, and thus the body. CPR allows for the blood to circulate all over the body and maintain breathing in a person who is experiencing heart attack or unresponsiveness while professional medical help is still not available. Over the years, successful CPR stories have proven over and over again how basic CPR knowledge, alertness, and composure in times of emergency have managed to save many lives.

According to the American Heart Association, also known as the AHA, CPR is one of the links in what is known as the “chain of survival” . The chain of survival is a series of actions that, when performed correctly, can save a person experiencing heart attack. In order to raise the chances of heart attack survival, it is important to know what these links are in the “chain of survival”.

The first one is to recognize when a person is having a heart attack and immediately dialling 911 to get quick help. Next is performing CPR while medical help is not yet available. CPR can be done by putting both hands on top of the victim’s chest and manually pumping blood through the heart in order to keep the blood circulating. This method is also known as chest compression. Another CPR method is the artificial respiration; this is done by exhaling into the victim’s mouth in order to push air into the lungs. Since artificial respiration requires accurately checking pulse, chest compression is recommended to untrained rescuers. The next link of the chain of survival requires the use of defibrillators when available. The last link is the immediate life support care which medications and other advanced breathing devices.

While there are CPR trainings and certifications that can be achieved through accredited institutions for medical professionals, lay persons having the initiative to learn basic CPR can be helpful especially if a family member has a history of cardiac arrest. Hundreds of thousands of Americans die every year because they suddenly stopped breathing and no one around was there to perform early CPR. Anyone can learn CPR for a loved one in order to have the sufficient knowledge in emergency response.

While television shows and movies portrays effective resuscitation, this can give the general public an unrealistic expectation about CPR and its effectiveness and so it is still important to base one’s knowledge on founded facts and comprehensive training.

If you want to undergo a through CPR training, your best bet would be the CPR training programs currently being offered by Citywide CPR.

Tips To Prevent Heart Attack

January 22, 2015Comments Off on Tips To Prevent Heart Attack

Heart attack is like a thief in the dead of night; but unlike thieves who only get material possessions that you can replace with again over time, heart attack steals the most important thing in the world: life. We’ll never know when it’s going to come, and how fatal it can be. So it is always best to look out and do preventive measures to avoid this deadly disease.

Truth be told, preventing heart attack is as easy as a pie. However, the circumstances that we put ourselves into become instant hindrances that keep us from having a healthy, happy life. But if you can put close circuit television (CCTV) cameras at home to keep thieves at bay, why wouldn’t you do the same for your health? Here are some ways to keep this dreaded disease from claiming precious lives.

It is never too early to take good care of your health. In fact, statistics have shown that due to sedentary lifestyle, poor food choices and bad habits, heart attack does not only happen to adults, but can even happen in young ones as well.

Finding a doctor to assess your health is very important. We can always say we feel healthy and well, but some of the diseases nowadays come when you least expect it. They can only be detected with tests, so make sure to get an appointment for your heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol and be honest about your diet and lifestyle, so your doctor can give the right diagnosis. Make sure that you also know your family’s health history; this plays a big part in your overall health. Better safe than sorry.

Eat right. You have heard this time and again that eating right is important, but the reason that it has to be repeated is because it’s true. Lowering foods rich in bad cholesterol like trans fat, saturated fats and sweeteners can greatly help in your well-being. Foods rich in fiber, fruits, vegetables and lean meats are best for your body.

Be physically active. Find an active sport that you enjoy so you won’t deviate from doing it. Boxing, running, swimming, are just some of the things that you can do. Mix it up so you won’t feel bored. If you don’t like any of these, walking at least two miles a day is advised. So avoid those elevators and try taking the stairs for a change. Simultaneously, quit your bad habits like smoking, or from secondhand smoke.

Remember, you have to take responsibility for your own body. With the vast information that we can freely get our hands into today, ignorance is no longer an excuse. Keep yourself updated with the latest stories and breakthroughs as well. Be responsible for your body, you only have one of it.

As a secondary precaution, it would also be a great idea to have an AED unit around. This way, no matter what happens or how much you or the people around you know about CPR, you can be sure that someone would be able to administer, at the very least, chest compression.

How To Save A Life: Learn CPR

January 21, 2015Comments Off on How To Save A Life: Learn CPR

If you’re watching medical dramas like ER and Grey’s Anatomy, you have probably seen it done a couple of thousand times. Doctors perform hands-only chest compressions to the patient to keep the blood flowing, clear airways and do breathing. It looks easy as the patient comes back breathing for air and the doctors look calm and in control when they do it. You may think you can do it as you have seen it done one too many times, but can you really?

CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation is one of the most basic medical techniques taught to people who do not have a medical background as a first aider. CPR involves doing chest compressions in order to pump blood throughout the patient’s body. This is done in order to keep the blood circulation. Breathing air into the patient’s mouth can also be done to keep air into the lungs. Through this, oxygen in the brain and heart will keep flowing thus preventing tissue damage that will ultimately lead to brain damage as well as organ failure.

In the US alone, hundreds of people die every day due to cardiac arrest. If ever you encounter a person or a loved one suffering from cardiac arrest or drowning that needs immediate medical attention like CPR, you would just need to keep in mind these three steps. First, do not panic and keep your head cool. Call for emergency, 911, or the nearest hospital for rescue. The responders will teach you to effectively do the CPR, if you do not know how, until they arrive. Second, pump the victim’s chest hard and fast. Put your hand over the other and place them between the victim’s chest. Do it at the rate of 100 per minute. Alternatively, studies also say that singing the chorus part in the Bee Gee’s song, “Staying Alive,” has the perfect rhythm. Lastly, tilt the head of the patient, pinch his nose and blow air into his mouth to keep air in his lungs. Do it per second until his breathing returns. Do the chest compressions until the help arrives.

While some others have the ‘gross factor’ in doing the air rescue breathing for people they don’t know, studies show that this can be skipped. According to these, chest compression is sufficient enough when it comes to helping save lives. Patients who received CPR through strangers have minimal brain damage even if they did not receive rescue breathing. However, this is only applicable to teenagers and adult. For kids and infants, blowing air in the patient’s mouth is still advisable.

Learning how to perform the proper CPR is one of the best skills anybody can have. It’s useful and if done correctly, can save actual lives, maybe even your relatives’. After all, we cannot count on always having a McDoctor in every medical situation we find ourselves in.

One of the bet ways to learn CPR is to take advantage of the different CPR and AED management programs being offered by Citywide CPR.

Proper Exercise Regimen For Patients with Heart Disease

January 19, 2015Comments Off on Proper Exercise Regimen For Patients with Heart Disease

You need it but you may not like it; that’s what exercise exactly is. Aside from being seen as time consuming, it can also be physically challenging to keep a regular exercise regimen. Not many people may realize it, however, that exercise offers a lot of health benefits, especially if you happen to have a heart disease.

Now, not all exercise routines is recommended for those with certain heart conditions. That being the case, keeping in mind the following can help you figure out which cardiovascular exercises are just the right ones for you:

1. Check with your doctor first.

Your doctor would be able to tell you the different kinds of activities you can engage in as well as how often you should do these routines. In order to ascertain this, your doctor would have you undergo a number of physical exams including 2D echo and stress test.

2. Avoid isometric exercises

An exercise routine is considered to be an isometric one if it focuses more on strengthening the muscles. In most cases, these routines do not require much change in position. Some of the more popular forms of isometric exercise would include sit-ups and push-ups. Instead of going for an isometric exercise, choose an aerobic one. Some popular examples of the latter would include your usual activities like walking, running, biking, skipping rope, and even ice or roller-skating.

3. The 30-minute Rule

In order for your exercise routine to be effective, it needs to last for at least 30 minutes. Now, while most people think that you need to spend the whole 30 minutes in one go, that is not always the case. In fact, you can break down those 30 minutes in smaller amounts so that you can have around 5 minutes of break before you start the next routine. Once you have become used to the amount of time that you spend for your activities as well as for your breaks, slowly increase the former while decreasing the latter.

4. The 3-Step Rule

When doing an exercise, you do not immediately jump and start your activities. You need to make sure that you follow three steps in order to avoid straining your muscles – warming up, conditioning, and cooling down. The first step ensures that you would not be suffering from muscle soreness later on. It is known to slowly increase your heart rate as well as your breathing. The second step, on the other hand, is where you get the most out of your routine. Make sure, however, that you do not overdo it. The last one focuses more on allowing your heart and breathing rate to go back to its resting condition.

In all of this, however, you have to keep in mind that your routine should not be one that would have you short of breath. If, at any time, you feel heaviness on your chest or difficulty in breathing, you should stop and take a breather. If the feeling does not go away, it would be best to check with your doctor. Make sure that you have an AED unit on hand so that you can deal with any kind of situation.

Surviving A Sudden Cardiac Arrest

January 15, 2015Comments Off on Surviving A Sudden Cardiac Arrest

For most people, Sudden Cardiac Arrest, or SCA, might seem like a death sentence. After all, it comes without warning and could really cause death within a matter of minutes. As grave as it sounds, however, there is actually a way to survive a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. This “way” is what is known as the Chain of Survival.

The Chain of Survival is actually made up of five steps and was developed by the American Heart Association in the ’90s. It was disseminated by the said organization in the same year in order to arm people with the right knowledge when dealing with SCA cases that occur outside of the hospital.

Link #1: Recognize

As with anything else, you need to ascertain first that the patient is suffering from cardiac arrest. That means, you would need to check on how responsive the patient and if he or she is having difficulty breathing. In case the patient is unconscious or cannot breathe normally, your first step would be to have somebody call 911. While this is happening, you can already proceed with the second link.

Link #2: Chest Compression

AHA now recommends that, as soon as you have ascertained that the person is unconscious and has shallow breathing, you need to make sure that you administer chest compression. It is recommended that the chest compression should be at least 100 in a minute with a depth of about 5 centimeters each. It should also be done until the paramedics arrive. It should be kept in mind, however, that, by itself, CPR is not capable of restoring normal heart beat pattern. The longer the patient has to wait for the paramedics to arrive, the lesser the efficacy of chest compression is. The best way to even out those odds would be to make sure that you also have an AED unit that can help restore the normal beating pattern, which brings us to the next step.

Link #3: Defibrillation

Because SCA is commonly caused by an interruption in the normal beating pattern of the heart, you might need to apply electric shock in order to help it normalize. Now, if you have an AED unit on hand, you need not worry about how to apply electric shock, or if there is actually a need for one. While doing chest compression, you can have someone attach the pads of the AED. This would help you determine whether you need to continue with the chest compression or if there is already a need to administer shocks.

Link #4: ALS

In cases of SCA, time is of the essence. That means, the paramedic has to arrive on time and should be able to administer CPR, do defibrillation, and administer cardiac drugs. In some cases, they might also need to intubate the patient. This is the reason why you need to have someone call 911 immediately, while you start the chest compression.

Link #5: Post-SCA care

Getting the patient to the hospital does not mean that all would be well. Both paramedics and first respondents have to understand that every minute counts when it comes to pulling through an SCA episode. Each minute longer that the patient has to wait would mean a higher percentage of him or her not being able to make it through.