The Need to Re-learn CPR

January 13, 2015Comments Off on The Need to Re-learn CPR

When it comes to First Aid procedures, one of the most important things that you would need to learn is CPR. This is because CPR can be used in a number of cases including drowning and heart attack. That being the case, most people think that getting a CPR certification is the be-all, end-all. In truth, however, it is just the beginning. In fact, once you have been certified, you need to make sure that you constantly re-train and update yourself about the latest in CPR.

So what are the newer procedures when it comes to saving life?

1. Hands-only CPR

Not many people may know it but you actually do not have to do the whole CPR cycle in order to save a life. At the very least, you only need to do chest compression at the rate of 100 to 120 per minute with a depth of about 5 centimeters. By doing this until the paramedic arrives, or until the patient gains consciousness, you are actually increasing the chance of his or her survival.

2. The CAB Cycle

In the past, most first respondents are taught that the correct way of reviving an unconscious patient would be to follow the A-B-C cycle. This means, you would need to check and make sure first that the Airway is open. This is typically done by tilting the head back. You would then need to check for look for chest movement and listen for any sign of breathing. At times, you might also need to feel for pulse. Once you have ascertained that the airway is open, you would need to do a mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (or Breathing). When you do this, make sure that you are creating an air-tight seal around the patient’s mouth to ensure that the air is being pushed properly. After that, you would need to do artificial Circulation. This is usually achieved with the help of external chest compression. By pushing on the lower part of the patient’s chest, you are forcing the heart to pump blood around the body.

Currently, however, studies have shown that the ABC cycle is not as effective when it comes to increasing the chances of the patient in pulling through a cardiac arrest or heart attack. What most medical professionals suggest is rearranging the order to C-A-B. This means, you would need to perform chest compression first before checking the airway and doing artificial resuscitation.

3. Focus on the Quality of Chest Compression

If the focus of the CPR in the past is more on making sure that the proper steps are followed, today, medical professionals are putting the highlight more on the quality of the chest compression. That means, you would now need to push harder and more frequently without interruption.

The Bottom Line

No matter how confident you are with your skills, you need to make sure that you still undergo CPR training every now and then. It also helps to ensure that you familiarize yourself, too, with the AED management so that you would have an idea on how to make the most of the said device.

Why You Should Watch Out for Psoriasis

January 9, 2015Comments Off on Why You Should Watch Out for Psoriasis

Whether you admit it or not, when it comes to psoriasis, the farthest thing that would come to your mind would be heart problems. After all, psoriasis typically concerns only your skin. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is the medical term used to define a chronic inflammatory skin disease. It usually shows up as thickened, red skin that appears to scale every now and then. Some of the most common areas where you would probably experience psoriasis would include the area around the elbow, knees, and the scalp. That being case, very few are aware that there are actually different kinds of psoriasis – plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, pustular psoriasis, erythrodermic, nail psoriasis, and Psoriatic arthritis.

While it is clear among medical professionals how to deal with psoriasis, there is still very little information when it comes to what could be causing it. Doctors, however, have ascertained that the predisposition for this kind of tends to run in the family. A number of studies have also shown that the immune system of an individual could have a role in one’s risk for psoriasis.  Not many people may know it but, a number of researches have also found a link between psoriasis and your risk for heart diseases.

First thing’s first. You need to understand that psoriasis is basically your immune system going haywire due to a perceived threat. In most cases, this “threat” causes the immune system to trigger inflammation. In most cases, the inflammation could involve your blood vessels. When this happens, there is actually an increase in the risk for artherosclerosis, or the build-up of plaque along the walls of the blood vessels. Left on its own, the plaque could hinder the flow of the blood which, later on, could lead to s number of heart diseases as well as heart attack. Fortunately, there is a way to better deal with psoriasis:

1. Healthy Lifestyle

You might have heard it a million times but, if your psoriasis increases your risk for a heart problem, you need to make sure that you live a healthy lifestyle. This would mean planning your diet and making sure that you have a regular exercise regimen. Having food rich in Omega-3 fatty acid is a good idea.You might also want to cut down on your smoking.

2. Stress Management

Although studies have shown that stress is rarely the direct cause for a heart attack, it can still increase the risk for one. That being said, you need to make sure that you keep yourself calm in everyday situation. It is also wise to take a breather every now and then from the daily hustle and bustle of your world.

3. Readiness

If you are at risk for cardiac arrest or heart attack, you need to make sure that those around you would know what to do. This would include encouraging them to undergo CPR training or at least having an AED unit at home. At the very least, you should be able to teach them how to do a simple chest compression.

Myths of Heart Health

January 7, 2015Comments Off on Myths of Heart Health

Ask anyone what they think are the things that could keep your heart healthy, and you would probably end up with answers that include dark chocolates, red wine, bottles of aspirin, and even some nightcap. The question now is, are all of these things true for your heart? You might be surprised at the answer:

Myth #1. Dark Chocolate

Now, before you panic, you might want to hear us out first. The reason why dark chocolate is good for the heart rests on the fact that there were actually minor studies made about it. However, you have to keep in mind that there are different kinds of studies involved in the medical field before something could be considered as a reliable practice. In this case, for example, most studies published were merely observational studies. Having said that, there is some truth to these claims though. Unfortunately, while dark chocolates might be good for the heart, its effect is not as significant as what most people presume. It is also good to keep in mind that chocolate itself contains a lot of sugar as well as calories.

Myth #2. Stress

In general, stress is bad for your heart. However, you need to understand that it is not the sole factor for determining whether you are at risk for cardiac arrest. As what most medical professionals would tell you, the human body has the capacity to adapt to changes in his or her environment. That being the case, stress can increase the risk for cardiac arrest but it would most likely be not the sole reason for it.

Myth #3. Fish Oil and other Food Supplement

Not that food supplement is bad for you but, you have to keep in mind that most food supplements out in the market are not regulated by FDA. Having said that, one of the most common food supplements that people buy is fish oil. Unfortunately, although most people believe it to be good for the heart, that is not always the case. In fact, instead of lowering your LDL, also known as the bad cholesterol, it actually increases it. This is aside from the fact that there is a probability the food supplement could have contraindications with whatever medication you are currently having.

Myth #4. Eggs

For quite a long time, people have believed eggs, the whites in particular, to be so laden with cholesterol that consuming more than one each day could lead to hypertension and, possibly, heart attack. Recent studies, however, have shown that there is very little truth to this. Far from it, eggs are actually a natural source of omega-3 which could lower your risk for a heart attack. Of course, it goes without saying that this is only true if you eat in moderation.

No matter the case, however, you need to make sure that you are ready at all times. This can be done by making sure you undergo CPR training programs or, at least have an AED unit on hand. That way, whether you are having a heart attack or someone needs help, you would always know how to deal with the situation.

What is CRP?

January 5, 2015Comments Off on What is CRP?

Whenever you feel unwell or simply need to know if you are still of sound body, your doctor would have you undergo a number of tests. In some cases, you might come across what they call as the CRP test, but what is exactly is CRP?

CRP, or what medical professionals refer to as C-Reactive Protein, is actually kind of protein that can be used by doctors in order to assess the level of inflammation in the body. Generally, a high amount of C-Reactive Protein would mean an existing infection as well as the probable presence of long-term diseases. Now, while the CRP Test could not clearly point to where the infection is coming from, it is typically used by medical professionals in order to monitor the progress of such conditions as Lymphoma, Lupus, Osteomyelitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease. There is, however, a certain form of CRP, the hsCRP, or high-sensitivity CRP, that is currently proving to be useful for cardiologists.

Your Heart and the CRP Test

Recent studies have seem to indicate that the level of CRP in one’s body can be used to determine that person’s risk for certain heart diseases. Aside from that it has been shown that CRP tests can also be as reliable when it comes to predicting cardiovascular risk as cholesterol levels. Based on observation, women, especially those who are already post-menopausal, who had high numbers of CRP were four times at risk for heart attack or stroke.

So how does this happen?

Most medical professionals believe that, as the plaque build up along the walls of the blood vessels, the latter becomes injured and could become inflamed. When this happens, the body experiences a rise in CRP. This now allows medical professionals to determine just how high a risk someone is for a heart attack. All they have to do is draw blood from you and have it analyzed. You need to keep in mind, though, that there are also other factors that could affect the result of a CRP Test. This would include obesity, the presence of an IUD, if you are pregnant, and if you have just finished exercising.

How do you treat an elevated CRP?

In relation to cardiovascular disease, there is actually now way to treat CRP itself. Your best move would be to understand the underlying causes and then deal with those. For example, if what is causing your elevated CRP is artherosclerosis, you should consider watching what you eat. It would also be beneficial to you to make sure that you indulge in regular exercise. Depending on the gravity of your case, your doctor might also prescribe medications that would help lower your cholesterol level. Some of the medications which they could prescribe would include aspirin as well as statin.

Now, since heart attack as well as sudden cardiac arrest could both happen with very little to no symptoms, you need to make sure that you are ready for anything. This would mean undergoing CPR training programs so that you would know how to administer one, as well as keeping an AED unit on hand.

Heart Rate: Myths and Facts

December 24, 2014Comments Off on Heart Rate: Myths and Facts

One of the signs that you are alive is the presence of heart beat. At about 100,000 beats per minute, however, very few people are aware that one grave hiccup in the normal pattern of the beats can actually prove to be fatal. Here are some more myths and facts about your heart that you should know about in order to keep it healthy:

1. Heart attack happens when you have an abnormal heart beat pattern.

Not many people know it but your heart actually does skip a beat from time to time. This does not, however, mean that you are suffering from a heart attack. In the same line, while skipping a beat might happen every now and then, if it is something that has been happening to you on a regular basis, you should consider visiting the doctor. Keep in mind that arrhythmia is considered to be one of the top causes of Sudden Cardiac Arrest.

2. When you have a fast pulse, you are stressed out.

For most people, having a very fast beating pattern could signal stressful situations. This, however, is not always the case. Consuming coffee as well as experiencing a number of medical conditions including anemia and a number of thyroid conditions can also cause your heart to have a faster beating pattern. One of the cases where you should seek a medical professional would be when you experience faster heart beat even when you are at rest.

3. A heart beat rate between 60 to 100 beats per minute is healthy.

Although the medical profession considers these figures as the normal beating pattern, a heart beat rate that belongs to the higher end of the spectrum could already signal a higher risk for a number of heart conditions. Studies have shown that a heart beat rate of around 80 per minute could already be a sign that you are at risk for obesity and heart diseases later on.

4. If you have a slow heart rate, you might have a weak heart.

Truth be told, a slower heart rate, for as long as it does not fall outside of what is considered a normal range, might actually be healthier. This is because, as with any muscle that is used to constant exertion, it has already managed to pump blood using very little effort. However, this scenario is typically true for younger individuals. In the case of the elderly, a slower heart rate could be a case for concern and should warrant a visit to the doctor.

5. A normal beat rate means a normal blood pressure.

Although the beat of the heart produces the pressure needed in order to get blood going, it is not a good indicator of whether you are prone to high blood pressure. In fact, there are cases of individuals with a normal resting heart rate who are actually suffering from hypertension.

Knowing the different myths and facts about your heart beat is one thing, and being prepared is another. To make sure that you are ready for any problem, it would be a good idea to attend CPR trainings and certification programs.

Breaking Your Heart: Habits That Can Harm Your Heart

December 22, 2014Comments Off on Breaking Your Heart: Habits That Can Harm Your Heart

Although most people relate a broken heart with someone losing their loved one, breaking your heart can happen in more ways than one; and some of these ways can ultimately lead you to a heart attack. Now, while factors such as your predisposition might be beyond your control, the following is actually something that you can work on your own:

1. Sitting for a long period of time on a regular basis.

Not many people may know it but sitting for extended periods of time on a regular basis actually doubles your risk for developing heart diseases. Without exercise, you run the risk of developing hypertension and unhealthy cholesterol levels. This is because the body takes time in burning unwanted fats. What you can do is make sure that you get up every now and then, or at least engage in a 30-minute exercise on a daily basis.

2. Paying little attention to body signs.

More often than not, your own body would let you know that there is something wrong with it. Some of the common signs would include shortness of breath, chest pains, constant tiredness, and an uncomfortable feeling in the extremities. Unfortunately, when these signs do show up, we tend to push them aside and not pay attention. In truth, doing so can actually increase the likelihood of you suffering from a heart attack. This is because most of these are already signs that a heart attack is about to take place.

3. Paying little attention to your weight and waist size.

Recent studies have shown that there is a correlation between your waist size as well as the health of your heart. That being the case, if your waist measurement happens to be more than 94 cm for men and 80 cm for women, then you might want to start taking those exercises recently. Most medical professionals are of the opinion that a waist that measures more than the said numbers is indicative of a high risk for certain heart diseases. It is a good thing to note, however, that this is primarily applicable only to adults, most especially Caucasian men and women.

4. Not taking the effects of smoking seriously.

While it has been told time and again that smoking is bad for your health, there are still very few people who take these warnings seriously. This leads to these individuals having an increased risk for hypertension as well as heart attack. Now, while most people believe that quitting does not have any impact on your health anyways, that is actually not the case. Studies have shown that quitting smoking can actually reverse any harmful effect it had on the body in the first place. Although the reversal does not happen over night, you can still expect to have lower risks for heart attack as well as a longer life span.

5. No regular check-up.

For most people, a visit to the doctor is out of the question especially if doing so would mess up their work schedule. Unfortunately, very few understand that some of the high-risk heart conditions oftentimes do not present any sign or symptom. This underscores more the importance of making sure that you have your regular check-up.

If you have been doing most of these activities for a long time now, you might want to consider making sure that you have an AED unit on hand. Companies like Citywide CPR provide AED management training in order to help you learn how to make use of an AED.

The D.A.S.H. Diet

December 18, 2014Comments Off on The D.A.S.H. Diet

High Blood Pressure is considered to be one of the growing concerns of most adults worldwide. Unfortunately, while many are aware of how rampant it is, very few actually have an idea on how to prevent it, or, at least, deal with it. For most medical professionals, one of the proven ways when it comes to dealing with hypertension is what is known as the DASH Diet.

What is the DASH Diet?

DASH in the DASH Diet actually stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Basically, the diet is based on three principles – increase intake of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products; the decrease in the intake of food items that are high in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol; and, the decrease in the intake of food rich in sodium as well as those with high sugar content. According to studies, undergoing the DASH Diet can greatly reduce your blood pressure in a matter of two weeks.

How should I go about the DASH Diet?

If you are interested in lowering your blood pressure level with the help of the DASH Diet, you need to understand first that the change in what you eat can be gradual, allowing your stomach and taste buds to get used to the new food items. For example, you can focus first on limiting the amount of sodium that your food has. Now, some of the tips that medical professionals would give you when it comes to DASH Diet would include the following:

  • Make sure that your plate always has a serving of fruits,vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods. You can do this by adding a serving of vegetables during lunch and dinner. On the other hand, you can make use of canned or fresh fruits as your snack. In the case of the former, however, watch out for the amount of sugar used in the syrup or in the preparation of food.
  • Increase your intake of foods that are made up of whole grains.
  • Fish, poultry and nuts are also good for you but make sure you cook them in a healthy manner.
  • If you are going to use butter, margarine, or salad dressing, try to cut back on the amount that you are going to use. If possible, go for a low-fat or fat-free condiments.
  • Cut back on your meat intake to about 6 ounces per day
  • Go for yogurt and unsalted pop corn as your snack options
  • Read food labels. This would give you an idea whether the food you would be eating can be too much for your body to process efficiently.

Now, while watching what you eat can help you better deal with hypertension, it is not a fool-proof plan in preventing hypertension as well as heart attack. You also need to consider a number of other factors including how active your lifestyle is and your predisposition towards certain medical conditions. That being the case, you need to make sure that you also get yourself as well as those around you should something happen. This would include undergoing CPR training programs and having an AED on hand.

 

Understanding High Blood Pressure

December 16, 2014Comments Off on Understanding High Blood Pressure

Also known as hypertension, High Blood Pressure is generally considered as the most common of all cardiovascular diseases. Although it is quite infamous, there are still very few people who have come to understand its implication as well as how one gets to have it. That being the case, it comes as no surprise that hypertension can affect even those who are still young. If you are one of those who think you might be at risk for hypertension, you might want to keep a few things in mind first.

What is Hypertension?

In order to understand hypertension, you first have to realize that blood pressure refers not to the amount of force used by the heart in order to get blood circulating but to the amount of force exerted by the blood against the walls of the artery. Having said that, it is now easy to see that too much blood pressure can cause blood vessels to weaken and, later on, rupture.

Generally, medical professionals consider normal blood pressure to be around 120/80. Having said that, if your blood pressure is anywhere between 121 and 139 over 81 to 89, you are already considered to be on the throes of hypertension. Now, if your blood pressure is between 140-159 over 90-99, then you are considered to be  already at Stage 1 of hypertension. On the other hand, you are considered to be under Stage II Hypertension if your blood pressure is consistently more than 160 and above over 100 and above.

Causes of Hypertension

While hypertension can be hereditary in nature, there are still other factors at play. Some of these factors would include:

  • Smoking
  • Overweight
  • Sedentary Living
  •  Stress
  • Too much alcohol
  • Too much salt intake

There have also been situation where the cause of the hypertension could not be determined by the doctors. This is what medical professionals would generally call as an essential hypertension. A number of studies, however, have shown that essential hypertension is made worse by one’s diet as well as lifestyle. The risk for hypertension is also higher in the following situations:

  1. African-Americans
  2. Pregnant Women
  3. Adults more than 35 years of age
  4. Women who take birth control pills

Dealing with High Blood Pressure

There are actually two ways you can deal with hypertension, depending on how serious your condition is. If it is still in its early stage, making a lifestyle change can help you better control your blood pressure. On the other hand, if yours is already interfering with your normal, day-to-day activities, you should consider getting a prescription from your doctor.

In the case of a lifestyle change, medical professionals recommend not only watching what you eat but also indulging in a more active lifestyle. This would mean exercising on a regular basis in order to control your weight, slowing down or quitting smoking, and limiting your alcohol intake. You would also need to make sure that your diet does not call for a lot of sodium or salt, and that you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. You might also need to make sure that you cut back on your meat and pork intake.

Since, hypertension is one of the causes of heart attack, it is a good idea to get to know how an AED works as well as to have one on hand especially if you are at risk for heart attack.

Multiplying Your Risk for Heart Diseases

December 12, 2014Comments Off on Multiplying Your Risk for Heart Diseases

The heart is considered to be an important major organ. One of the reasons for this is the fact that it is the only organ in the body that has a self-starting clump of cell. Aside from this, it is also the heart that is considered to be responsible for ensuring that needed oxygen and other minerals are distributed properly to other organs. That being the case, it comes as no surprise that majority of medical professionals put much emphasis on keeping  a healthy lifestyle in order to keep the heart going.

Now, when it comes to taking care of your heart, you need to, first, make sure that you are aware of the different factors that could increase your risk for a heart disease. One of these factors is what is known as Metabolic Syndrome.

Understanding Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic Syndrome is actually the term used y medical professionals to describe a group of metabolic factors that could significantly increase your risk for heart diseases. In order to be diagnosed for metabolic syndrome, you would need to be positive for at least three of the following:

  • A waist circumference of more than 40 inches in men, and more than 35 inches in women
  • A triglyceride level of more than 150 mg/dL
  • An HDL of no more than 40 mg/dL in men, or lower than 50 mg/dL in women
  • A systolic blood pressure of at least 130 mm Hg and a diastolic blood pressure of 85 mm Hg or more
  • Fasting glucose level of no less than 100 mg/ dL

What happens now?

The best way to deal with metabolic syndrome is to make lifestyle changes. This could include:

1. Regular exercise

It may sound cliche but exercising at least 30 minutes each day can actually lower your risk for a number of heart diseases. This is because exercise has been known to lower blood pressure while improving your cholesterol level. Now, your exercise regimen need not be a strenuous one. In fact, by just doing brisk walking on a regular basis, you are already able to control your risk for a heart attack.

2. Healthy diet

For most people, healthy diet would mean bland and boring food. This does not have to be the case. What you can do is just make sure that you have the right balance between each food groups. Generally, you would need to have a meal that is low on trans fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol; while having bigger portions of vegetables and fruits as well as beans and whole grains. If you are not sure on how to go about this, you can always seek the help of a dietitian.

3. No smoking

If you are a smoker, make sure that you quit. Not only is smoking bad for your lungs, it can also help increase the risk for diseases concerning the blood vessel and the hear. Quitting smoking does not have to be immediate if you are not up to it. You can choose to do so gradually.

If you think you or someone near you is at risk for a number of heart diseases that could lead to a cardiac arrest or a heart attack, make sure that you have an AED unit on hand. It would also be a good idea to make sure that you undergo a CPR training.

Cholesterol: The Good and the Bad

December 10, 2014Comments Off on Cholesterol: The Good and the Bad

Whenever heart problems and diseases are mentioned, one of the things that get discussed is the importance of having the right kind of cholesterol. In order to understand the different kinds of cholesterol, however, we first need to understand the importance of cholesterol to our body.

Cholesterol can actually be found in all cells of the body. It is a fatty, wax-like substance that is used by your body in order to create hormones and vitamin D crucial to food digestion. Now, these cholesterol travel along your blood vessels alongside your blood in packages known as lipoproteins. These lipo-proteins come in two different kinds – the Low Density Lipoproteins or LDL, and the High Density Lipoproteins or HDL. While most people think of HDL as the good cholesterol, the secret actually lies in keeping a good balance between these two kinds of lipoproteins.

So why is the LDL known as the bad cholesterol and HDL, the good cholesterol?

LDL is considered to be the bad cholesterol due to the fact that when white blood cells try to dissolve it, it becomes converted to toxic form. Aside from this, LDL also tends to build up along the walls of the artery. Over time, this could result to a narrower pathway for the blood cells. On the other hand, HDL is considered to be the good cholesterol due to the fact that it is the one responsible for carrying the cholesterol all the way back to your liver where it is removed from the body.

What happens when there’s too much cholesterol?

One of the things that you have to understand is that cholesterol does not readily dissolve in the blood stream. While the liver is able to remove excess cholesterol in HDL, it is unable to process LDL cholesterol. That being the case, there is a high risk of LDL cholesterol building up along the blood vessels. This, in turn, could greatly increase the risk of getting a coronary heart disease. Over time, the build of plaque could lead to what is known as artheriosclerosis. Since the pathway has already become narrowed by the hardened plaque, the blood now would have a hard time passing through the blood vessel. With pressure coming from the heart, and with no place to go, there is now an increased possibility for the formation of blood clot as well as the subsequent rupturing of the blood vessels.

How do I monitor my cholesterol level?

Generally, your cholesterol level can be tested using a blood test. Depending on your condition, the doctor might request you to fast a few hours before the blood is to be drawn. The blood is analyzed in a laboratory and would be interpreted by the doctor with reference to your age and family history, among other things.

If you, or anyone you know, has a high risk for developing high cholesterol level, you need to make sure that you are prepared to face any type of situation. One way of doing this is by having an AED unit on hand. It also pays to attend a CPR training so that you know what to do should someone around you suffer from a heart attack.