A Special Valentine Gift … The Heart You Save May Be Your Own by Charlene Sands
Hey, today is Friday the 13th! But I don’t mind. Friday the 13th has always been lucky for me. My parents married on Friday the 13th and let’s face it, without them I wouldn’t be here! My husband and I moved into the house we adore on Friday the 13th, so the date holds good memories.
Tomorrow is the day we celebrate love and romance on Valentine’s Day. So much has been written about it, poems, and odes and stories and each year we try to show our love and appreciation for our beloved ones with homemade gifts, gorgeous flowers or fancy dinners. Perhaps that’s why February has also been deemed, American Heart Month. There’s one more thing you can do to honor your loved one. You can learn how to save a life, maybe his/hers, or maybe your own. And that’s the best gift of all!
For the past 15 years I’ve been a CPR instructor with the American Heart Association. Since I teach childbirth and baby care in the community my main focus has always been with infants, but I’ve also taught and recertified nurses, doctors, office employees about being Heart Healthy as well as the mechanics of CPR. Here are some facts you may not know … and if you do, it’s a good reminder.
·About 75 percent to 80 percent of all out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen at home, so being trained to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can mean the difference between life and death for a loved one.
·Effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after cardiac arrest, can double a victim’s chance of survival.
·CPR helps maintain vital blood flow to the heart and brain and increases the amount of time that an electric shock from a defibrillator can be effective.
·Approximately 95 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital.
·Death from sudden cardiac arrest is not inevitable. If more people knew CPR, more lives could be saved.
·Brain death starts to occur four to six minutes after someone experiences cardiac arrest if no CPR and defibrillation occurs during that time.
·If bystander CPR is not provided, a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chances of survival fall 7 percent to 10 percent for every minute of delay until defibrillation. Few attempts at resuscitation are successful if CPR and defibrillation are not provided within minutes of collapse.
·Coronary heart disease accounts for about 450,000 of the nearly 870,000 adults who die each year as a result of cardiovascular disease.
The very best thing you can do to save someone’s life is to recognize the warning signs. Denial plays an important role. Heart attack victims, often don’t want to believe they are having a heart attack. They will make excuses – it’s the spaghetti I ate last night or I’m too young to have a heart attack. I know, my uncle died because he refused to acknowledge the signs. He stayed at home with chest pains for 2 hours before his attack which eventually led to his death.
Here are the signs to look for:
Chest Discomfort – a squeezing pain or fullness, may come and go, or may last several minutes. At times, it’s been described as it feeling like an elephant sitting on the chest.
Discomfort in other parts of the body such as one or both arms, neck, jaw and back.
Shortness of breath with our without chest pain.
Cold sweat or nausea and lightheadedness
Though women do experience chest discomfort too, they may often have shortness of breath, nausea and back and jaw pain.
REMEMBER LADIES – It’s not just a man’s disease.
So what can you do? Well for you and your loved ones to stay heart healthy, here’s some things to ALWAYS DO.
Eat Healthy – it’s the old addage but it’s true. Check food labels. Make sure you’re limiting fats and high calories from your diet. Eat baked, not fried. Eat fruits and vegetables fresh if possible, or steamed.
Exercise – It’s not a 4-letter word! Make it fun. Take the dog for a walk. Play tennis. Swim. Chase your kids or grandkids around the park. Did you know that the AHA recommends 30 minutes of moderate to intense activity a day. It’s not a lot and you can break it up if you’re not an active person. Do something for 10 or 15 minutes a few times a day. Make the time. The benefits are invaluable and include, improving your blood cholesterol levels, reducing high blood pressure, manages diabetes, reduces depression and anxiety and acts as a stress-buster. CHOOSE TO MOVE!
Stop Smoking – We all know it’s bad, but the risks of smoking and damage it does to your body are horrific. You are twice as likely to have a heart attack if you smoke. Women who smoke have a higher risk of coronary heart disease compared to nonsmoking women. Smoking puts added strain on the heart because it causes vessels to clamp down or constrict. If some of the blood vessels have already been narrowed or damaged by heart disease, smoking makes the problem worse.Smoking also causes temporary changes in your heart; it beats faster, raising your blood pressure and reducing blood flow. Smoking also increases the level of carbon monoxide in your blood, which robs your heart and other tissues of vital oxygen.
Manage Your Weight – obesity is a major risk factor to heart attack. But if you eat healthy and exercise and lose your excess weight, you will reduce that risk factor and feel better overall.
Act fast if you suspect someone is having a heart attack.
CALL 911 or whatever your emergency number is in your area.
Take a CPR class or renew your skills.
Visit the AHA website for more info on exercise, staying heart healthy, meal plans, CPR, risk factors, events and classes in your area.
REMEMBER the heart you save might be your loved one’s or may even be your own!
Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone …Oh and did I mention that reading a romance novel, can also reduce stress, put a smile on your face and help you lose calories, (if you read it while on the threadmill) Check out my current book guaranteed to make your heart throb, in a good way! Oh and tomorrow I’m the spotlight author on our dear friend Pam Thibodeaux’s Blog. Please make 2 stops tomorrow, Petticoats and Pam’s Blog!
How many of you know CPR? When’s the last time you’ve taken a class? And do you believe you’re heart healthy? Are you trying to be?