The 5 Biggest Risk Factors for Heart Disease

There are things you can do (or stop doing) right now to prevent a heart attack

Even with all of the advances in medicine and the vast amount of information we have access to, health in the U.S. is not getting much better. In fact, statistics show that one crucial area – heart disease – is getting worse.

Heart disease kills about 630,000 Americans every year, which accounts for a quarter of all deaths. And it is estimated that 15 million people have coronary heart disease, which is the most common form of heart disease.

Why is heart disease so prevalent? While there are some factors we don’t have any control over – such as age, gender, and genetics – the truth is that this is a very preventable sickness. Here are the five most common causes of heart disease and how they can be remedied:

Lack of activity/Excess weight

Exercise is one of those things that can dramatically improve health, but it’s something that’s not done nearly enough. According to the American Heart Association, 69 percent of adults are overweight, and all of those extra pounds – plus the increased levels of cholesterol – put a severe strain on the heart. Even just moderate daily exercise like taking a walk can significantly reduce the chance of a heart attack.

Smoking

If you smoke, here’s a stat that will probably make you think twice about lighting that next cigarette: Smoking can increase the risk of heart disease by up to four times. And if you smoke around nonsmokers such as family members, you’re also putting them at a higher risk.

High blood pressure

When someone’s blood pressure is high, this puts pressure on the cardiovascular system and the coronary arteries. As damage accumulates from this pressure, so does plaque, which in turn can block blood flow to the heart and raises the chances of a heart attack. Around 60 million Americans have high blood pressure, making it the most common risk factor for heart disease. A better diet and more exercise, as well as medications, can help lower it.

Diabetes

People with diabetes are much more likely to develop heart problems. In fact, almost 70 percent of diabetics age 65 or older will die due to a form of heart disease. This is why controlling diabetes by eating well, exercising, and taking prescribed medications is vital.

Stress

While everything else on this list can be seen or will show up on a test, stress is one of those invisible killers. Stress in itself may not directly cause heart problems, but it often leads to things that can, including higher blood pressure, poor eating habits, and smoking. It’s important to recognize the warning signs of stress and find ways to relax.

In the U.S., someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds. If you live with or perhaps work with people who could be potential victims of a heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), it’s important to be prepared. One Beat CPR offers an assortment of classes covering a variety of life-saving measures, including CPR, using an AED, and first aid. These classes are taught by first-responders and can be conducted in your home or place of business. For more information, you can call us at 954-321-5305 or just fill out our online contact form.

Heart Disease: An Equal Opportunity Killer

Why women need to start listening to their hearts

A lot happens in 60 seconds: Lightning strikes the planet 360 times, 58 airplanes take off, 250 babies are born, 243,000 photos are posted to Facebook, 7,150,000,000 human hearts thump at various rates – and for at least one woman, hers stops. Approximately one woman each minute will succumb to heart disease, making it the leading cause of death.

Red flag symptoms every woman should know about

While there are risk factors, all women face the possibility of heart disease, so it’s important to be familiar with the symptoms. Though the condition can accrue with no symptoms, in general, women who have them tend to experience the following:

  • Pain in the neck, jaw, and/or throat
  • Pain in the back, or upper abdomen
  • Angina – chest pains that may be dull, sharp, or simply feel like discomfort.

One of the most clear consequences of untreated heart disease is a heart attack. Much like in the case of a stroke, the faster you recognize that you’re having one, the better. Heart attacks are less likely to present as chest pain in women than in men. Unfortunately, most women aren’t familiar with female heart attack symptoms, and assuming nothing is wrong, wait to seek help until there’s already damage to the heart.

A woman having a heart attack may experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the neck, jaw, shoulder, back, or upper abdomen
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in either or both arms
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Abnormal fatigue

If you’re experiencing these symptoms or otherwise suspect you’re having a heart attack, call emergency services immediately and follow their instructions.

When to be more cautious

High cholesterol levels, obesity, and high blood pressure are just as lethal to women as they are to men, so it’s important to keep track of those measurements. Other factors that increase risk include:

Smoking: The chemicals inhaled with cigarette smoke inflame the cellular lining of blood vessels, damage that directly contributes to a range of cardiovascular maladies, such as stroke, abdominal aortic aneurysms, and coronary heart disease.

Inactivity: If you’re not getting a minimum of 2.5 hours each week of moderate aerobic exercise per the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, you’re not getting enough. The heart is a muscle; the more you work it, the stronger it grows and the more efficient your entire system becomes. If you’re able to find an activity you enjoy, such as evening walks with a friend, those 2.5 hours will fly by.

Diabetes: Women with type 2 diabetes are three times as likely to incur a fatal cardiovascular disease-related death than women who aren’t diabetic. This is due to the damaging effects of high blood sugar on blood vessels and the nerves controlling the heart, in addition to increasing cholesterol levels.

Always be prepared!

Whether you’re a man or woman, heart disease is the biggest threat to our individual vitality and survival. Knowing the risk factors and recognizing symptoms early on can save lives – and so does knowing how to save a heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) victim.

The majority of heart attacks are survivable with quick medical treatment, built those that lead to sudden cardiac arrest are much more fatal. Only 10.6% of SCA victims treated by emergency medical services died, whereas the survival rate jumped to 31.4% if a trained bystander jumped in early to help. The more of us who know CPR and who have access to and use automated external defibrillator (AEDs), the more likely we are to be lifesavers.

One Beat CPR offers training for families, individuals, and medical professionals so we can all be prepared when faced with an emergency. Connect with us today to find out more.

Can Lifesaving Courses and Equipment Reduce Liability?

Can Lifesaving Courses and Equipment Reduce Liability? on onebeatcpr.com

CPR, AED, and First Aid training may reduce liability for schools, businesses, and other organizations

If you own or operate a business, making sure your employees receive lifesaving medical training could help reduce your legal liability. Research from the American Heart Association estimates that up to 70% of Americans do not know how to properly perform CPR or use an AED, rendering them helpless in several emergency situations. Unless you work in a specific profession that requires it or have already mandated training, there’s no reason to think that your employees are better educated about these lifesaving skills than the average American.

Many businesses and organizations simply hope that an emergency won’t occur on their property, or simply fail to plan for the possibility. Either way, ignoring the issue isn’t an effective risk management strategy. It pays to prioritize safety by investing in lifesaving training for workers – including CPR, the use of AEDs, and First Aid.

Lawsuits and settlements underscore the legal risks of an untrained staff

In today’s litigious culture, businesses rightly fear that a lawsuit could seriously hurt their finances – or even put them out of business. Personal injury and accidental death claims are a huge business, constituting a large portion of the 15 million lawsuits that are filed each year in the U.S. Add the expense of defending against a lawsuit and the fact that plaintiffs win approximately 55% of cases taken to trial, and it begins to make sense why so many business owners go to great lengths to avoid them.

Fortunately for businesses (who make up around one-third of personal injury defendants) the vast majority of lawsuits don’t go to trial. Instead, they’re usually settled via a confidential out-of-court agreement between the plaintiff and the defendant. But even if you can convince a plaintiff (such as the family of a deceased employee or customer) to settle, you may have to pay a lot in the process. In 2015, the death of Hollywood executive Mark Palotay in a Los Angeles-area gym led to a lawsuit which was eventually settled for an undisclosed amount. The family sued because they alleged the facility did not have any employees trained in CPR or AED use, and staff did not even know the location of the nearest AED.

Companies can mitigate the risk of tragedy with a minor investment

An unfortunate aspect about many of these incidents is the ease in which they could have been avoided. For a business like a gym, with hundreds (or thousands) of members exerting themselves on a daily basis, it’s even more important to have employees with lifesaving training on-hand – in fact, it’s the law in California for gyms to have an AED. A simple training course and a relatively small financial investment could have saved a customer’s life and prevented the gym from being forced into an expensive legal payout. Plus, accidental deaths are never good publicity, especially in the age of social media.

Beyond common sense, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration requires that “In the absence of an infirmary, clinic, or hospital in near proximity to the workplace which is used for the treatment of all injured employees, a person or persons shall be adequately trained to render first aid.” OSHA considers “near proximity” to be within 3-5 minutes of an emergency facility.

The federal agency also “recommends, but does not require, that every workplace include one or more employees who are trained and certified in first aid, including CPR.”

In addition, having at least some of your staff trained in lifesaving strategies will comfort both customers and employees. Make the investment in your workers and your organization – get them lifesaving training today.

To learn more about how lifesaving courses and equipment can reduce liability for your business or organization, contact One Beat CPR today for a free consultation.

Inside Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Technology

Inside Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Technology on onebeatcpr.com

Discover what lies at the heart of this live-saving device

According to the American Heart Association, 326,000 cases of cardiac arrest occur outside of hospitals every year, with 4 out of 5 of those occurring in the home. In more than half of those cases, the event goes unwitnessed and it’s fatal more than 90 percent of the time. An automated external defibrillator (AED) is an indispensable device designed to allow a fast and effective response in the event of an alteration in heart rhythm. To understand just why it’s so valuable, let’s take a look at how the heart works and how an AED tackles this problem.

The beat of the heart

Typically, the heart rate of an adult at rest is between 60 to 100 beats per minute (BPM). This will increase with exertion, of course, and if an individual is in good physical shape they may have a resting heart rate of less than 60 BPM. The rate at which all of our hearts beat can be influenced by fitness and activity level while also being affected by factors such as medication, body weight, and how we’re feeling emotionally.

If our hearts are not in rhythm, then we’re suffering from arrhythmia; an irregular and erratic heartbeat caused by changes in the organ’s electrical impulses. This irregularity can cause dizziness, fainting and potentially lasting damage to the brain and other organs through insufficient blood flow. In the best cases, it can be managed successfully with medication, but in a bad situation it can potentially lead to cardiac arrest.

How defibrillation works

Defibrillator pads are attached to the chest of a person (or sometimes both on their front and on their back) whose heart is behaving erratically. An electrical current is run through the pads and into the subject’s body with the purpose of “resetting” the heart’s electrical signals back into a normal rhythm.

The faster defibrillation can take place, the greater the chances of survival. For particularly high risk patients, an internal defibrillator may be fitted to help monitor and regulate arrhythmia. Thankfully, defibrilators are becoming more and more common in public spaces, especially in places such as gyms, airports, and other high-traffic areas. The presence of an AED is essential for preventing deaths by sudden cardiac arrests (SCA) that occur outside of a medical facility.

The AED in action

Portable and lightweight, the AED is an excellent tool for handling instances of ventricular tachycardia (rapid and regular beat) and ventricular fibrillation (rapid irregularity). Not only are they user-friendly (though training in both their use and CPR is highly recommended), they can be kept safely at home or in public spaces.

Other than its lighter weight and portability, the AED functions much like its larger cousins found in medical facilities. An AED’s fine-tuned computer can ascertain the need for a shock to correct irregularities in rhythm and it provides dynamic instructions to the user – anyone who can follow these directions can actively save a life.

Why you should own an AED

Dealing with any medical issue can be intimidating, especially when it deals with the heart. Owning an AED at home, especially when you or a loved one has a known heart condition, vastly increases the chance of survival in cases of SCA. And their wider adoption by individuals, corporations, governments, and other organizations in public and private settings will save lives.

One Beat CPR is Florida’s leading CPR and AED training center, as well as an Authorized Master Distributor of Philips AEDs. A family-owned business with over 12 years’ experience, we offer American Heart Association certified instructional courses and the best AEDs in the industry. To learn more about our services and products, call us at 954 321 5305, toll free at 855 663 2328, or get in touch via our contact form.