Heart Disease Risks You Did Not Know About

May 13, 2014Comments Off on Heart Disease Risks You Did Not Know About

Unless you have been living under the rock, you are verily aware that the heart is considered to be one of the major organs of the body. Unfortunately, even though it is considered as a major organ, very few people are actually aware of the different risks that could lead to a heart condition.

Although most believe that switching from a sugar-laden food to the use of artificial sweetener is a healthy way to go, in the case of your heart, this might not be a good move. Recent studies have shown that drinks that claim to contain no calories in them as well as those that make use of artificial sweeteners actually increase the risk of heart problems especially in women.

It could be a combination of a number of other factors but individuals who travel more than 30 miles every day tend to have higher risk for hypertension and heart problems. The same study that puts forth the said findings have also noted a shorter lifespan. One reason for this might be the stress that one has to simultaneously deal with while driving down the road. This is aside from the constant pollution that one has to go through.

Pain medication is another culprit known for increasing the risk for certain conditions. While most people associate pain medications with stomach bleeding, it actually is also notorious for causing blood clot to form when it should not. This, in turn, could lead to stroke as well as heart attack. Aside from this, pain medications have also been known to cause the kidney to retain more water which lead to higher blood pressure. Fortunately, only those that have pre-existing heart conditions are prone to these.

Individuals who suffer from celiac disease might also want to consider keeping away from food made from high-fiber whole grains. Recent studies have shown that the said ingredient actually doubles the risk for heart problems for those with celiac disease. The same can also be said for the vegetable oil as recent studies have shown that replacing saturated fat with vegetable oils actually increase the risk for heart problems. This is opposite to common belief that vegetable oil is the healthier option.

Now, married life for many might seem like a lot of sacrifice. In truth, however, this might actually save you from a number of heart conditions especially if you are 50 and below years of age. Sitting too much, especially if you are being a couch potato, as well as having a low blood pressure are also two of the ways by which you can increase your risk for heart problems. While the former causes clots to form especially if you have been sedentary for long periods of time, the latter causes various organs to suffer from oxygen starvation. Left unattended, this could actually lead to tissue necrosis and, later on, to cardiac arrest.

If you find yourself at a higher risk for heart problem, it would be to your advantage to undergo CPR training as well as to have an AED unit on hand. This would help ensure that the people around you would be able to deal with situations that might arise from your condition.

What You Do Not Know About Your Heart

May 9, 2014Comments Off on What You Do Not Know About Your Heart

When it comes to sustaining life, one muscle carries much of the burden. That muscle is none other than the heart. For years now, men have always been fascinated how something the size of a fist can actually support a body more than 10 times its size. Now, while many books have been written about it, there are still actually some things that you might not be aware of.

One of the many things that not many people know about is the fact that the human heart actually does not start out as a fist-shaped muscle. In fact, the heart starts out as a tube-like organ not unlike the ones that can be found in gold fish. Because the other organs and muscles in the fetus are also growing at a phenomenal rate, the “tube” heart has to double back into a horseshoe-like shape. A few weeks more and this horseshoe develops two chambers. A few more weeks and a third chamber develops. This goes on until what started out as a “tube” heart becomes a four-chambered muscle, roughly the size of the person’s fist.

It is also a little known fact that, although the heart is considered to be at the center part of the chest, it is actually the left side that does most of the work. This is one of the reasons why a number of people in the past erroneously believed that the heart is located at the left side of the chest. Why does the left side pump harder than the right side? Because, the left part of the heart is responsible for delivering blood to the farthest parts of the body while the right is responsible for the lungs.

Ever had an argument about which one is more important – the heart or the brain? Well, you can now safely answer, “heart”. This is because, within the heart, one can find the Sino-Atrial Node, a group of neurons that are considered to be self-starters since they do not need external stimuli in order to work. Now, these neurons are the ones responsible for firing up and allowing the heart to keep a normal beating pattern. When the SA node fires up an electric signal, the heart muscles alternate between twisting and relaxing in order to open up the valves and, thus, allowing the blood to flow from one chamber to the next.

While most people make use of “heart attack” and “cardiac arrest” interchangeably, the two terms actually do not refer to the same thing. In a heart attack, the blood vessels going to the heart are blocked causing the heart to starve from oxygen. On the other hand, in a cardiac arrest, something causes the heart to, at the very least, skip a beat. Both, however, lead to the major organs suffering from tissue necrosis which, ultimately, would lead to the victim’s death.

In order to deal particularly with the last scenario, your best move would be to make sure that you have at least an AED unit on hand. An alternative to this would be to make sure that the people around you have undergone a CPR certification training program.

The Importance of Your Heart Rate

May 7, 2014Comments Off on The Importance of Your Heart Rate

One of the things that an athlete, as well as an active person, would typically monitor on a daily basis is his or her pulse rate. For an ordinary person, however, this might be something that he or she would have very little interest in. In truth, however, one’s pulse rate can be an indication of his or her well-being.

The heart rate is the number of heart beats in a minute. While there is no specific numbers that define what a normal heart rate is, the figures generally show a constant pattern in one person. One has to remember, however, that these numbers could change depending on a number of factors such as age and any existing heart condition. Other factors that could have an impact on your pulse rate would include the air temperature, the position of the body when the pulse rate was taken, and if the person is making use of any medication.

Although most people associate pulse rate with beats that can be felt from the pulse, there are actually other places where one can check the pulse rate. This would include the inside of your elbow, the side of your neck, and the top of your foot. Now, in order to get your normal pulse rate, you would need to take what is known as the resting heart rate. This can typically be taken when you are lying down and relaxed. All you have to do is count the number of beats that you have within a 60-second period. In most cases, the resting hear rate is within the range of 60 and 100.

So what does the heart rate tell you?

One of the many conditions that can easily be detected using one’s heart or pulse rate is arrhythmia. Arrhythmia is the medical term for an irregular heartbeat. People with this condition might experience either a very fast heartbeat, a slow one, or an irregular one. Although, in most cases, arrhythmia does not pose much of a threat, a person with an irregular heartbeat could be of risk for cardiac arrest. This is because each time the heart skips a beat, the needed oxygen supply being brought by the blood becomes insufficient. This, in turn, can lead to tissue necrosis on major organs.

In majority of the cases, a fast heart rate is also indicative of anemia as well as an overactive thyroid. On the other hand, a slow pulse suggests an underactive thyroid. Pulse rates that are weak are also an indication of blood clot in the limbs as well as the existence of certain heart conditions.

But when exactly do you call the doctor?

In most cases, you would need to see a doctor if you notice a slowing down of your heart rate, or if there is a sudden increase in your heart rate that does not readily go away or is not brought about by exciting events. Dizziness and fainting are also two signs that you might need to hurry to your local hospital’s emergency section. In all of these, you have to make sure that you have someone around you who is familiar with CPR techniques. It would also be to your advantage if you can have an AED unit on hand.

Warning Signs of A Heart Attack

May 5, 2014Comments Off on Warning Signs of A Heart Attack

When one mentions the word, “heart attack”, everyone seems to think of someone clutching their chest and having difficulty breathing before actually losing consciousness. In reality, however, this is not always the case. In some instances, a heart attack can be so instantaneous that the victim just suddenly falls unconscious, just like in the case of a Sudden Cardiac Arrest.

Now, while those who have medical knowledge would know that a heart attack and SCA, or Sudden Cardiac Arrest, are not one and the same the common person would not readily know the difference. This is one of the reason why many bystanders are quite hesitant to provide assistance to someone who might be suffering from either. That being the case, it is a good idea to make sure that you know the difference between the two.

In a situation involving a heart attack, a patient would usually have a number of signs and symptoms. This would include chest discomfort that lasts for more than a few minutes. In most cases, the discomfort radiates from the center of the chest, and could go away for a few minutes before coming back. Patients who have gone through a heart attack describe the feeling as squeezing sensation as well as a feeling of fullness.

Aside from chest discomfort people who are about to get a heart attack would also feel an uncomfortable sensation in other parts of their body such as the jaw, the arms, the back, or the neck. There are those who report a tingling sensation in the said areas while some might feel a general weaknesses on these body parts. Gripping objects can be a problem for some of the patients about to get a heart attack.

Shortness of breath and lightheadedness are also some of the signs that a person is about to have a heart attack. He or she could also break out into sweat and become nauseous.

So how does a heart attack differ from a cardiac arrest?

In a heart attack, what happens is something blocks the arteries leading to the heart. This interrupts the supply of oxygen to the heart muscles causing the affected portion to suffer from tissue necrosis. On the other hand, cardiac arrest involves the regular beating pattern of the heart. In a cardiac arrest, something interrupts the normal electric impulses that maintains the regular beating pattern of the heart. This “hiccup” in the pattern can actually rob other vital organs of the timely delivery of the oxygen that they need which, if not dealt with properly and in a timely manner, can also lead to tissue necrosis.

Since most people have a hard time distinguishing between a heart attack and a sudden cardiac arrest, the best way to deal with this situation is to treat as if the patient is suffering from a Sudden Cardiac Arrest, which happens to be the more serious of the two. Now, if you would like to make things easier, having an AED unit around would be the best move. An AED, or Automatic External Defibrillator, is a portable device that can guide even the most unaware of how to handle a patient suffering from what could be a heart attack.

Taking Care of Your Heart

April 29, 2014Comments Off on Taking Care of Your Heart

In the US, heart diseases and conditions are considered to be one of the top reasons for mortality. While it can prove to be quite a serious condition, it is actually one that can easily be prevented as well as dealt with.

Preventing Heart Problems

In majority of cases, a heart problem coexists with another medical condition. In such cases, the risk for early mortality is increased. That being the case, it can be said that preventing one could lead to the management of the other.

As clichéd as it may sound, the best way, still, to make sure your heart is healthy is to ensure that you eat right and get plenty of rest. Some of the food varieties that you might want to incorporate in your meals would include dark chocolate, berries, and red wine. If you have a high risk for heart condition, you need to make sure that you are aware of your numbers. This means that you have to make sure you regularly monitor your blood pressure as well as your pulse rate. You would also need to keep an eye out for your cholesterol level as well as your blood sugar and inflammatory markers.

Doing regular exercises can also do wonders for your heart. If you are the type who dread hitting the gym, you might want to consider hitting the pool instead. It is also a good idea to make sure that you manage your stressors well. You may not realize it but heavy stress, both physical and mental, can actually take a toll on your heart. This is very much true in the case of the broken heart syndrome.

If you are already in your 40s, you might want to watch out for snoring. In majority of the cases, people who snore in their sleep tend to have circulatory problems. Snoring is also known to lead to sleep apnea. During sleep apnea, the patient momentarily stops breathing. While breathing pattern resumes a few seconds after, the lack of oxygen for a second more can actually have a dire impact on the tissue of major organs. It could also lead to hypertension.

Individuals who are already in their 50s, on the other hand, would need to make sure that have a regular treatment and prevention plan in place. This should include regular monitoring of the heart via ECG. Individuals at this age should also be aware of the various signs of a heart attack as well as other heart conditions. Keep in mind that, as one ages, the risk for a heart problem also increases. That being the case, those who are in their 60s should definitely have ankle-brachial index test in order to ascertain the presence of peripheral artery disease.

If, at any point in time, you feel that your chances for a heart attack or cardiac arrest has increased, it would be best to have you as well as the people around you undergo a CPR training. You might also want to consider having an AED unit around.

Little Facts About Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)

April 25, 2014Comments Off on Little Facts About Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)

Most people know Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) as one of the major causes of mortality in the US. As the name implies, SCA rarely gives the patient enough time to realize what is happening. Because of the suddenness of the situation, most people are unaware of what to do, eating up previous minutes that could have been used in order to revive the victim. That being the case, it is only right that you arm yourself with the right information that you can use in better dealing with this medical emergency.

First thing’s first. You have to realize that Sudden Cardiac Arrest is different from a heart attack. While both affect the heart, Sudden Cardiac Arrest generally takes place if something causes the heart beat to become irregular. There are, however, other reasons for why it happen including injury and rupturing of the blood vessels in the heart. On the other hand, a heart attack typically takes place when an artery is clogged and there is not enough blood reaching the heart. This causes the heart to starve which, in turn, causes it to have trouble pumping blood properly. Because it happens over time, a heart attack typically leaves tell-tale signs – pain in the chest, difficulty breathing, and a tingling pain that spreads throughout the limbs.

While heart problems typically concern adults, there have been cases of teenagers and even children who have succumbed to Sudden Cardiac Arrest. This is typically the case if the child happens to have a congenital heart condition such as arrhythmia and long Q-T Syndrome. In a long Q-T Syndrome, the patient has ion channels that either do not work well or are insufficient causing the transmittal of the electric impulses that control the heart beat to become erratic; thus, an irregular beating pattern. Now, even though most cases of Long Q-T syndrome are congenital, there are some that have actually developed the said condition through the years due to unhealthy leaving. You have to keep in mind that a disruption in the beating pattern can cause the heart to stop pumping. Four to six minutes after the heart has stopped pumping, the patient’s brain tissue would start dying. A few minutes more and the effects could become irreversible. At this point, even if the patient is able to pull through, there could be damage to his movements and brain activities. If there is no help given within the next few minutes, the patient would already succumb and die.

If at least chest compression is done on an unconscious victim of SCA, the chances of him or her being able to survive almost doubles. The numbers could even go up in the case of a VF (ventricular fibrillation) patient if electric shock is applied as soon as his or her condition has been ascertained. It is in cases like these that the use of an AED can prove to be important.

To be better prepared when handling patients who have suffered from SCA, it is a good idea to have an AED unit on hand. If you are not sure how to work with your AED unit, head to Citywide CPR and they could help you with your AED management.

Differentiating Sudden Cardiac Arrest from Heart Attack

April 23, 2014Comments Off on Differentiating Sudden Cardiac Arrest from Heart Attack

Sudden Cardiac Arrest, or SCA, is considered to be one of the top causes of mortality in the US. Currently, around 95% of people who suffer from it do not make it by the time they reach the hospital. In some cases, the survival rate is only around 2% to 5% especially if defibrillation is not done within the next 12 minutes after the patient has become unconscious. Because of its gravity, it comes as no surprise that most people treat each case of heart attack as one and the same as that of Sudden Cardiac Arrest. In truth, however, Sudden Cardiac Arrest is different from a heart attack.

Generally, a cardiac arrest means the heart stopped beating. This could be due to an illness or an injury, or due to an existing medical condition. In most cases, the cardiac arrest leaves a number of signs and symptoms before the attack actually happens. There are, however, cases where the heart stops abruptly. This is what is known as the Sudden Cardiac Arrest. While SCA and heart attack both concern the same organ, the reasons leading to the two are rarely the same. For one, in a Sudden Cardiac Arrest takes place when something causes the normal beating patterns to go haywire. Some of the common reasons why this happen include thickened heart muscle, arrhythmia, and long Q-T Syndrome. In a heart, attack, however, the culprit is typically a clot in one of the blood vessels that denies the heart the much needed oxygen. This then leads to death of the heart tissue which causes the heart to stop working efficiently and die. Some of the common causes of heart attack include Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), Aneurysm, and drug misuse. In a heart attack, the organ does not altogether stop beating. The symptoms usually last for a few days to more than a week before the heart eventually gives up. That being the case, there tends to be a lower mortality rate when it comes to heart attack.

Now, just because a heart attack is different from a Sudden Cardiac Arrest does not mean that they could not exist together. In fact, there have been cases wherein SCA followed a heart attack. That being the case, it can be said that the occurrence of a heart attack actually increases the chances of a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. This only means that, as soon as a victim falls unconscious, you need to treat the situation as if you are sure that what you have on hand is a Sudden Cardiac Arrest.  Keep in mind that most cardiac arrests are reversible if chest compression is done within the next few minutes. For those who lack sufficient training in CPR, this means that you only need to pump the victim’s chest 100 times per minute until he or she becomes conscious or until help arrives. The situation becomes even more bearable if there is an AED device nearby that could provide instructions on what needs to be done.

If you would like to make sure that you are ready for any situation, your best move would be to get your own CPR certification. Companies like Citywide CPR offer this kind of service, plus more.

Fighting Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)

April 21, 2014Comments Off on Fighting Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)

The heart has always been considered as one of the vital organs of the body. One wrong beat and it can already spell a disaster for the person. After all, it is the heart that controls how efficient the whole circulatory system is. That being the case, it is only understandable that medical professionals put extra effort in making sure that it functions properly. Now, in order to understand the importance of the heart, one must first understand how it functions.

The Anatomy of the Heart

The heart is considered to be a hollow muscle, hardly the size of a fist, which is divided into four chambers. Two of these chambers can be found at the right side of the heart, while the other two occupy the left side. The upper chambers are known as the atria, and the lower chambers are the ventricles. Now, leading to the right atrium are two major veins – the superior vena cava and the inferior vena cava. These veins carry blood TO the heart FROM all of the blood vessels in the body. Since the blood that flows through these veins have low oxygen content and high carbon dioxide level, the blood tends to be dark red in color. This blood then passes through the tricuspid valve and then travels to the right ventricle. The blood travels further passing through all of the chambers of the heart as well as various blood vessels including those that can be found in the lungs. There the blood gets to be oxygenated. It then travels an opposite path, passing through the heart again, and the aorta where it gets expelled to various blood vessels. Now, the oxygen in the blood gets “fed” to the various organs of the body. Without the said oxygen, the cells would die and the organ would suffer from tissue necrosis. When this happens, the organ would not be able to function properly causing a domino effect of organ failures. Without intervention, the person could die.

“Rebooting” the Heart

In some cases, a heart’s regular pattern can become disrupted. This can be due to an existing heart condition or could be due to some other reasons. A skip or two is usually something that you do not have to worry about. However, this becomes a problem if the irregular pattern continues or if the heart stops beating altogether. The latter is typically known as the Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Because of its nature, SCA (Sudden Cardiac Arrest) could lead to the person’s death if not attended to immediately. Fortunately, there a number of ways by which one can deal with this.

The use of AED as well as the application of CPR are just some of the ways by which medical professionals and ordinary persons can deal with a person suffering from such heart conditions as the Sudden Cardiac Arrest. AED, or Automated External Defibrillator, is a portable device that can be used in order to help the heart regain its natural rhythm. Regardless of the model and brand, the AED includes an electronic console, two pads, and wires that lead from the console to the pads.

If you want to learn about the proper use of the AED as well as secure a CPR certification, you can always head to Citywide CPR.

The Development of the AED

April 17, 2014Comments Off on The Development of the AED

For more than a few years now, one of the many things that a man has to content with is the abundance of medical conditions that are quite hard to predict. One such is the case of the cardiac arrest, particularly tat condition known as the Sudden Cardiac Arrest.

As the name implies, a Sudden Cardiac Arrest typically takes place without warning. One moment, the person would be feeling okay; the next, he would already be unconscious. There are, however, cases where the patient would first feel nauseous, light-headed, weak, and would have difficulty breathing. Cases like these, unfortunately, are rare. What makes SCA all the more dangerous is the fact that, during a Sudden Cardiac Arrest, the patient actually suffers from tissue necrosis. Having said, it comes as no surprise that the medical community have exerted all efforts in making sure that everyone is prepared to deal with someone suffering from Sudden Cardiac Arrest. This is the reason for why AED, Automated External Defibrillator, came into being.

AED, or Automated External Defibrillator, is, simply put, a portable device used in order to deal with a patient suffering from a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Now, in order to comprehend just how an AED works, you would first to make sure that you understand how the heart works. For example, you have to understand that the heart makes use of electric impulses in order to ensure its natural rhythm pattern. Without this electric impulses, the heart could stop beating. When that happens, the AED is used in order to send electric impulses and help the heart go back to its pattern. An AED, however, does not just send electric impulses to the heart. In fact, even a person without training on how this device is used can handle it quite well.

The Components of An AED

AEDs typically come in various models and designs. Regardless of this, however, an AED would have a portable electronic console, two pads, and two wires that run from the console to the pads. Generally, the consoles of these AED units come with a visual display that help cue the user on what to do next. In some models, the console also provides audio instructions on what the user needs to do next.

While most people think of an AED as a complicated device to use, nothing could actually be further from the truth. In fact, most responders would recommend the use of the AED first when dealing with an unconscious victim. This is because an AED would be able to assess whether there is still a need to apply CPR or if the AED would be enough in order to resuscitate the patient.

When using the AED, there are a number of things that one has to keep in mind. For example, before the AED pads can be placed on the patient’s chest, he or she should first be placed on a flat surface, away from any liquid. There should also be no metal items on his body, particularly around the chest area.

 You can learn more about AED and how to make use of it during emergency situations when you go to Citywide CPR.

Performing CPR on An Infant

April 15, 2014Comments Off on Performing CPR on An Infant

While most people are aware of the different steps involved when it comes to doing CPR on an adult, very few are aware of the steps involved when carrying it out on a child. Now, the steps are basically the same. However, the exact way of doing it i somewhat different with an infant.

If what you have on your hand is an infant, the first thing that you would need to do is verify whether the baby is responsive or not.  You can do this by stroking the the feet of the infant. If there is no reaction whatsoever, make sure you have someone call for 911. If the baby is showing signs of choking, allow the child to cough the object out. However, if there is a visible blockage but the child is no longer coughing, turn the baby over to his stomach and carefully do chest thrusts or back blows in order to dislodge the object. Once the object has been dislodged, check for pulse and check for breathing. If there is pulse and breathing, you need to put the baby in a recovery position. This is done by having the arm closest to you at right angle with the body. The palm of the said arm should be facing upwards. Now, put the other palm on the baby’s chest and have the knee on the same side pulled towards you. This would allow the baby to roll towards you. Have the free hand, the one that you placed on the infant’s chest earlier, rest under the head and make sure that the patient’s mouth is open. Make sure that the chin is away from the chest in order to keep the air way clear.

Now, if the baby is not showing signs of breathing and is not exhibiting any pulse, you would need to do the A-B-C of CPR. First, you have to open the airway by tilting the baby’s head back and opening the mouth. heck for breathing. If there is none to be found, pinch the nose and proceed with two rescue breaths. Let go of the nose to let the air out. If, while doing rescue breathing, the baby’s child is not moving, there might be some blockage that is not readily visible. If that is the case, go back to the steps in dislodging the object.

Check for the pulse once you are done with the rescue breaths. If there is none, proceed with the chest compressions. Keep in mind that the body of a child is smaller than the adult and is, consequently, more frail. That said, you would need to use two to three fingers from one hand instead of the heel of your palm. There is also no need to interlace your fingers as you would need your other hand, to support the infant’s head. With two or three fingers, compress the center part of the infant’s chest below the nipple area. As with an adult, you would need to administer 100 compressions per minute at a depth of 1 to 1 1/2 inches. After 30 cycles of compressions, do another set of rescue breaths. You might need to repeat all of these five times. After the fifth time, the baby should start showing signs of responsiveness. If that is not the case, you might need to make use of a defibrillator or continue with the cycle until a paramedic arrives.

Things like these are easier to do if you have undergone CPR certification. Companies like Citywide CPR can be depended upon when it comes to CPR trainings and AED management.

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