9 Heart Conditions You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

9 Heart Conditions You Probably Haven’t Heard Of on onebeatcpr.com

While the chances of having any of these issues are rare, it’s not impossible

The word “rare” can help calm our inner hypochondriac. Arming yourself with the knowledge of rare diseases can also help individuals recognize the warning signs of an uncommon ailment. Here are 9 heart conditions that most people aren’t aware of:

  1. Tricuspid atresia. While this may sound like a deep-sea creature, it’s actually a very serious condition. The “tricuspid” is a heart valve; tricuspid atresia is when this valve is either missing or deformed.
  2. Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC). ARVC causes fibrofatty replacement in the heart’s right ventricle and in the subepicardial of the left ventricle. Symptoms may include heart palpitations or loss of consciousness and can lead to sudden cardiac arrest.
  3. Kounis syndrome. This is the clinical name for an allergic reaction that causes angina (severe chest pain) or a heart attack. When histamine is released by the body, it can cause spasms in the heart’s blood vessels, restricting blood flow and producing chest pain.
  4. Cardiac syndrome X. While originally identified as “Syndrome X,” today, most cardiologist know it as the more descriptive “microvascular angina.” The condition is characterized by abnormalities in the heart’s micro-arteries that lead to angina.
  5. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. “A pot used for trapping octopus” – that’s what “takotsubo” means in Japanese. Sometimes referred to as “stress cardiomyopathy” or “broken-heart syndrome,” people suffering from this condition have an abnormally-shaped heart. The syndrome is thought to be a reaction to emotional stress and can manifest in chest pain and shortness of breath.
  6. Prinzmetal angina. Also known as coronary artery spasm, variant angina, or angina inversa, this particular type of chest pain is caused by spasms in the vessels that nourish the heart muscle. Similar to Kounis syndrome, these spasms restrict blood flow to the heart, resulting in angina.
  7. Right heart hypoplasia. This congenital defect of the heart is marked by underdevelopment of the right atrium and ventricle. The abnormality can prevent the lungs from receiving adequate blood flow.
  8. Torsades de pointes. The name of this condition refers to the ECG patterns produced by the heart in these cases. The abnormal heart rhythms expressed by these ECG readings can have life-threatening implications. While in most cases there’s not an imminent risk of sudden cardiac arrest, as the condition advances, the risk increases.
  9. Barlow’s syndrome. When any of the mitral valve flaps fail to close as they should or one is floppy, the patient is diagnosed with Barlow’s syndrome. Although many patients don’t present with symptoms, it’s one of the more common of these uncommon heart conditions.

A broader view of heart disease

Of course, these conditions are rare. However, all forms of heart disease combined are the leading cause of death for both men and women, with Coronary Artery Disease (CHD) being the leading contributor. CHD is caused by the build-up of plaque in the walls of arteries that lead to the heart – meaning it can often be mitigated or prevented with healthy lifestyle choices.

In general, diseases affecting the heart are classified into separate genres. If you’d like to learn more about the primary types of heart disease, we encourage you to read our blog, “Defining the Five Types of Heart Disease”.

What’s a ‘Silent’ Heart Attack?

What's a 'Silent’ Heart Attack? on onebeatcpr.com

It’s a surprisingly common occurrence, which is why it pays to know the warning signs

What do you think about when you image somebody having a heart attack? Most likely you picture someone (probably a man) clutching his chest or breathlessly saying his left arm hurts. And while not entirely wrong, these are not the only signs of someone having a heart attack. In many cases – almost half, in fact – people experience what’s known as a silent heart attack.

What exactly is a “silent” heart attack?

A silent heart attack, also known as a silent myocardial infarction (SMI), gets its name due to the fact that the symptoms aren’t over; there isn’t intense chest or neck pain or sudden dizziness. In many cases, people don’t even know they’re having a heart attack, says Dr. Jorge Plutzky, director of the vascular disease prevention program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“SMI symptoms can feel so mild, and be so brief, they often get confused for regular discomfort or another less serious problem,” Plutzky explains. “People can even feel completely normal during an SMI and afterward, too, which further adds to the chance of missing the warning signs.”

The warning signs of a silent heart attack

Many signs of a silent heart attack are subtle, so it’s important to know what to look out for:

Tiredness

When someone is having a heart attack, less blood flows to the heart, which often makes the person feel extremely tired. This is one of the most common signs of any heart attack, especially for women.

Shortness of breath

The heart is instrumental in getting oxygen to all parts of the body, as well as eliminating carbon dioxide from the tissue. When blood flow to the heart is blocked, this could have an impact on breathing. Feeling short of breath upon waking is a particularly bad sign.

Soreness in certain areas

Though the sharp pain common with a typical heart attack doesn’t happen, there can be some minor pain or soreness. This is because when heart muscle cells lose oxygen, they transmit pain signals. Because of the proximity to the heart, people may feel discomfort coming from their chest, back, arms, neck, or jaw.

Upset stomach

Everyone has an upset stomach now and again, which is why it is often overlooked as the sign of a heart attack. But in many cases, nausea or vomiting could be heart attack symptoms.

Heartburn

Like an upset stomach, heartburn is pretty common with a lot of people. But if you rarely get indigestion or it comes on unexpectedly, this could be a red flag.

Just not feeling right

This one may be a little vague, but nobody knows your body like you do. If you feel off, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, says Dr. Stacey R. Rosen, a cardiologist at North Shore-LIJ Health System.

“Heart attack patients have told me they have a feeling of doom—like something’s just not right,” Dr. Rosen said. “Listen to that little voice in your head. If something feels off, it’s always better to be overly cautious and call a doctor.”

Whether it’s for yourself or someone you live or work with, knowing the signs of a silent heart attack can help ensure that treatment is given as soon as possible. At One Beat CPR, we are dedicated to educating everyone about heart issues and providing expert CPR and first aid training. To see what we offer, you can check out our class schedule.

Defining the Five Types of Heart Disease

Defining the Five Types of Heart Disease on onebeatcpr.com

Differentiating the root causes of heart issues

The term “heart disease” is used to describe numerous ailments that affect the heart. The term is often used synonymously with “cardiovascular disease,” which describes problems with the heart and blood vessels that can lead to chest pain, a heart attack, sudden cardiac arrest, or a stroke.

The five primary types of heart disease are:

  • Coronary artery (atherosclerotic) heart disease
  • Valvular heart disease
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias)
  • Congenital heart disease

Let’s take a closer look at the causes and symptoms of these five types of heart disease.

Coronary artery (atherosclerotic) heart disease

Coronary arteries provide the heart muscle with the nutrients and oxygen it needs. Coronary artery disease (CAD) occurs when plaque build-up or a clot clogs the arteries to the heart, causing the heart to get less of these nutrients and oxygen. Plaque is made up of several elements, including cholesterol and byproducts of inflammation.

As plaque builds up over several years, the arteries become narrower, causing the blood flow to the heart to be slowed or blocked. Reduced blood flow can eventually lead to blood clots, angina, or a heart attack.

Coronary artery disease can stem from a number of different controllable and non-controllable factors. The non-controllable ones include gender (men have a higher risk) and aging. The controllable factors include smoking, high blood pressure, lack of physical activity, high cholesterol, and being overweight.

There aren’t many symptoms of coronary heart disease in the early stages. As the disease advances, angina or a heart attack may occur, which may lead to a diagnosis of the CAD.

Valvular heart disease

The heart contains four valves that open and close in order to lead blood in and out of the heart. Valvular heart disease occurs when these valves get damaged, which affects how the valves control the flow. This can involve narrowing, leaking, or improper closing.

Much like CAD, valvular heart disease can be caused by a variety of controllable and non-controllable factors. Non-controllable factors include being born with a deformed valve or genetics that cause valve tissue to decay faster with age. Valvular heart disease can also be caused by rheumatic fever, a heart attack, bacterial endocarditis, or rheumatoid arthritis.

More controllable factors include having high blood pressure, taking the migraine medicine Methysergide or certain diet drugs, and radiation therapy.

Symptoms of valvular heart disease include shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, chest pain, swollen feet or ankles, and fainting.

Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle which makes it harder for the muscle to squeeze and pump blood through the rest of the body. There are three main types of cardiomyopathy: dilated, hypertrophic, and restrictive. Cardiomyopathy can lead to other heart conditions such as blood clots, valve problems, cardiac arrest, and heart failure.

Causes of cardiomyopathy include long-term high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, pregnancy complications, nutritional deficiencies, long-term alcohol abuse, and the use of some chemotherapy drugs and radiation.

Similar to CAD, there aren’t many symptoms of cardiomyopathy in the early stages. As the disease advances, symptoms may start to appear, such as swelling of the legs, ankles, or feet, extreme fatigue, breathlessness, dizziness, and fainting. These symptoms can get progressively worse if cardiomyopathy is not treated.

Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias)

Arrhythmias occur when the electrical impulses that control the heart aren’t functioning properly, causing the heart to beat too fast, too slow, or irregularly.

Arrhythmias may be hereditary but can also be caused by an infection, extreme stress, anemia, thyroid disease, other heart conditions, and the abuse of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, or drugs like cocaine or amphetamines.

Some symptoms of heart rhythm problems include a racing heart, a slow heart, chest pain, and shortness of breath, dizziness, or fainting. But, as with other conditions, arrhythmias may also have no noticeable symptoms until an emergency happens.

Congenital heart disease

Congenital heart disease (CHD) stems from a congenital heart defect that causes a problem with the heart’s structure. Heart defects are one of the most common types of birth defects and can involve an abnormality in the walls of the heart, the heart valves, or the arteries and veins near the heart. They can disrupt blood flow through the heart – either slowing it down, causing it to go to the wrong place or in the wrong direction, or blocking flow entirely.

These defects manifest during fetal development. Some researchers say there is no known reason for them, while others posit they can be related to specific genes or environmental factors while in the womb.

Severe defects can be found during pregnancy or after birth, while others can go undiagnosed until the child is older. Symptoms of severe defects include rapid breathing, fatigue, and poor blood circulation, while the less severe cases can have no symptoms at all. Congenital heart disease can go undetected until it causes sudden cardiac arrest, which “is a major cause of mortality in adults with” CHD.

Spotting, managing and preventing heart disease

Heart disease is easier to treat when diagnosed early, so it is important for you to know your family’s medical history, discuss it with your doctor, and get regular checkups that may spot any hidden issues. In addition, many of the causes of heart disease – including the most common, atherosclerosis – can be mitigated or prevented altogether with lifestyle changes, including a healthy diet and regular exercise.

And should you ever be in a position to witness someone with heart disease having a heart attack or undergoing sudden cardiac arrest, it’s important to know what to do.

One Beat CPR + AED provides American Heart Association CPR and AED training for groups and individuals. For more information or to sign up for a class, call us at 954-321-5305.

Deconstructing a Heart Attack

Deconstructing a Heart Attack on onebeatcpr.com

What happens before, during, and after a heart attack

While most people are familiar with the general symptoms of a heart attack – chest pain, shortness of breath, and fatigue, among others – the dynamics of the event aren’t quite so well-known.

Heart attacks cause permanent damage to the heart’s muscle fibers. “Infarction” is when the blood supply to bodily tissues is cut off, causing those cells to die. The medical term for a heart attack is a myocardial infarction (MI). “Myo” refers to muscle.

While a myocardial infarction can lead to cardiac arrest (when the heart stops beating) or heart failure (when the heart isn’t strong enough to support the body), the three conditions are not synonymous.

What exactly is a heart attack?

If you answered with “a blockage to the heart’s arteries, such as a build-up of plaque” you’re partially correct. The most common type of heart attack is just that; however, there’s another variety.

Spasms in the coronary arteries – although uncommon – can restrict blood flow enough to result in myocardial infarction. Severe coronary spasms can be caused by stress, drugs, allergic reactions, smoking, or pharmaceutical interactions with certain health conditions.

What happens during a heart attack

Regardless of the cause, the results of a myocardial infarction, in general, are the same.

Our hearts deliver themselves oxygen and nutrients via an encompassing network of coronary arteries. When one of these arteries becomes clogged or spasms enough to restrict blood flow, it causes a myocardial infarction.

During an MI, nerve signals to the brain can become disrupted, causing what’s known as “referred pain.” The most frequently reported referred pain associated with heart attacks is felt in the left arm.

Angina – pain or discomfort caused by a lack of oxygen – is another symptom to be aware of. When the heart isn’t pumping enough blood to keep muscles functioning properly, muscles in the neck, jaw, and shoulders can become painful.

Other heart attack symptoms include:

  • Tightness and/or pressure in the chest
  • Cold sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nervousness
  • Sense of impending doom
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nausea or abdominal discomfort
  • Acid indigestion-like symptoms
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy

If you or someone you’re in the presence of experiences these symptoms, get help immediately.

The road to recovery

Treatments and recovery periods vary based on the patient and any specifics of the attack. For those who make it to a hospital and get treatment, the first two days after a heart attack are the most dangerous. Most patients require between three and five days of care in a CCU (coronary care unit).

After an MI, the heart may not be as efficient as it used to be, thereby causing poor circulation and fatigue. Doctors require patients to rest and eat lightly in the days after a heart attack to allow the heart and body to begin recovery.

Damage to the heart might also disrupt its electrical control. In such cases, a patient might need to have a pacemaker implanted to help the heart maintain a proper rhythm.

For mild to moderate heart attacks, usually, the heart will settle back into a healthy rhythm within two days. From there, physical activity should be gradually increased to rebuild the heart’s strength. At this point, the risk for a second attack becomes significantly less.

What to do if someone is having a heart attack

How witnesses respond to a heart attack victim is often the difference between life and death. Recognizing the symptoms and calling 911 is a crucial first step, but not always enough, especially if the individual goes into the sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

To learn more about helping a heart attack victim, we encourage you to read our blog, “Heart Attack Safety Begins With knowing What to Do.”

But I Was Only Trying to Help: Do Good Samaritan Laws Cover CPR?

But I Was Only Trying to Help: Do Good Samaritan Laws Cover CPR? on onebeatcpr.com

Every state in the country has Good Samaritan laws. These laws were enacted to protect you if you administer CPR or other emergency help in good faith

It’s a bad scenario. You render aid to someone who’s in distress, possibly saving their lives. The next thing you know, you’re hit with a lawsuit.

In a perfect world where people act with good intentions, this scenario shouldn’t even be possible. You might wonder why anybody who’s been trained to administer first aid and CPR would do it when there’s a possibility of this happening.

Here’s reassuring news. If you’re trained to administer CPR – and you’re delivering it in an emergency situation – you are most likely protected by what’s known as a Good Samaritan law. Here’s what you need to know:

Good Samaritan laws aren’t the same in every state

Every state in the country has Good Samaritan laws. They were enacted to protect you if you administer CPR or other emergency help in good faith. It’s important to note that the information you’re reading here should not be taken as legal advice – especially because Good Samaritan laws vary by state.

Most of these laws, however, cover the same general aspects:

Why you’re acting

Good Samaritan laws protect those of us who selflessly agree to help. This means you’re performing life-saving services like CPR without any expectation of a reward. These laws generally do not apply to medical or emergency rescue staff. These professionals are paid for their services, whereas you’re likely acting out of the goodness of your heart.

Some states have Good Samaritan laws constructed in such a way that your protection may be revoked if you end up being given a reward for your efforts – even when there was no expectation.

Do you need to be certified?

Being certified to perform CPR is, unfortunately, a requirement in some states in order to be protected under their specific Good Samaritan laws. But many states have shown a higher commitment to encouraging their residents to feel comfortable about responding and rendering aid in emergencies.

While it is very important to be properly trained in the CPR technique, survival rates for victims of cardiac arrest are boosted even when someone administers this aid in a less-than-perfect fashion. If anything, this should be the reason that you decide to undergo formal training and receive certification.

The consent requirement explained

You must have someone’s permission to legally provide CPR or other first aid. The loophole is that someone who has gone into cardiac arrest or is otherwise unconscious is unable to provide this consent.

Because every minute counts, Good Samaritan laws generally protect you by permitting you to assume consent would be given to save someone’s life. This may include the use of an automated external defibrillator.

For this reason, you should immediately determine whether someone is conscious. Call out to them and ask, “Are you okay?” Do this even before checking to see if they have a pulse. Even people who aren’t trained in CPR can save a life by performing just chest compressions.

First things first

If you’ve taken a CPR certification course, you know that you should immediately call 911 and report the situation before attempting to render aid unless it’s an infant or small child who isn’t breathing or lacks a pulse; this situation calls for two minutes of immediate CPR. It’s also crucial to make sure both you and the person you’ll assist aren’t in any danger.

The ability to save a life should never be put into doubt by concerns about liability. It’s why all 50 states have Good Samaritan laws in place. Get certified and then keep your CPR certification current – and follow your training in an emergency.

To review Florida’s Good Samaritan Act, click here.

Hands-Only CPR vs. Traditional CPR

Hands-Only CPR vs. Traditional CPR on onebeatcpr.com

Despite the recent approval of the hands-only technique, mouth to mouth is still a crucial element of CPR

The American Heart Association (AHA) recently revised their CPR guidelines to de-emphasize mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. While there are studies backing this decision, it doesn’t mean the technique is no longer recommended.

In general, CPR is the combination of two techniques: rescue breathing (mouth-to-mouth) and chest compressions. Hygienic and other concerns regarding mouth-to-mouth make performing it an obstacle for those not properly trained in CPR. This reluctance, unfortunately, can come at the expense of saving lives.

Something is often enough – and always better than nothing

Incorporating mouth-to-mouth with chest compressions can be difficult even for trained paramedics. For untrained bystanders, the demand can be prohibitive. Regardless of the reason behind not performing mouth-to-mouth, viewing it as a requirement is thought to prevent bystanders from helping at all.

A study led by Dr. Ken Nagao at Tokyo’s Surugadai Nihon University Hospital examined the implications of this failure to respond. Cardiac arrest victims on whom no CPR was applied (approximately 70% of 4,068 incidents) were not only far less likely to survive, their chances of suffering brain damage from the incident increased if they did pull through.

18% of the victims in the study received traditional CPR that included mouth-to-mouth. Those patients saw an improved survival and recovery rate. 11% of those in the study had the chest-compression-only technique applied – and they were 2.2 times less likely to experience brain damage than those who didn’t receive any CPR at all.

Aside from the reluctance to perform rescue breathing, compressions are often all that is necessary – in certain situations. In these cases, the body already has enough oxygen to survive until emergency services arrive, but only if chest compressions are administered.

Infant victims, drownings, and other scenarios in which mouth-to-mouth is still required

The new guidelines are definitely not a one-size-fits-all approach. When cardiac arrest is caused by asphyxiation – a lack of respiration – mouth-to-mouth can be the difference between life and death.

The following are examples of when compression-only CPR is not recommended:

  • Children and infants. In a majority of pediatric cardiac arrests, breathing ceases before the heart stops beating. In other words, asphyxiation causes cardiac arrest, rather than the other way around. Respiratory problems are the most likely cause of cardiac arrest in children and infants –unlike adults, for whom heart problems are typically the cause.
  • Upon discovering a cardiac arrest victim. When someone encounters a person already in cardiac arrest, there’s no way of knowing how long it’s been since their breathing stopped. The body is likely to already be starved of oxygen, therefore, including mouth-to-mouth may improve the chances for resuscitation and recovery.
  • Non-cardiac arrest respiratory failure. Drownings, allergic reactions, asthma attacks, choking – if the heart stops due to a respiratory event, mouth-to-mouth combined with chest compressions can help maintain oxygen levels in the victim’s body.

Training and practice save lives

As those trained in CPR know: the first step is calling for help. After that, it’s time for training to kick in. American Heart Association CPR and AED (automated electronic defibrillator) instruction teach you how and when to perform CPR based on the condition of the patient.

One Beat CPR+AED offers AHA certified CPR and AED courses to South Florida businesses, schools, medical professionals, families, and individuals. To learn more about what’s involved in our AHA–certified classes, we encourage you to read our blog, “CPR Training Demystified”.

CPR for Babies and Children: What You Need to Know

CPR for Babies and Children: What You Need to Know on onebeatcpr.com

Critical knowledge can save a young life

If you’re a parent or someone who takes care of young children, you probably think about their safety constantly. Whether they’re just crawling, taking their first steps, or ready to hop on a bike, you’re filled with a little trepidation about what could possibly hurt them.

This is why it’s always good to plan ahead. And while you may have done plenty of baby-proofing and taken other precautions, would you know how to respond in a real emergency?

According to statistics from the American Heart Association (AHA), over 7,000 children suffer a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital every year. For kids under the age of one, choking and suffocation is the leading causes.

Sadly, only about six percent of infants survive. Those numbers could be much better if parents and caregivers know CPR. It’s important to realize, however, that while similar, CPR for adults isn’t exactly the same as it is for children. Let’s go over the differences:

Before beginning CPR

For someone of any age, the first thing to do is assess the situation and see if they are okay. For adults, you’re supposed to shake or tap them, and you can do the same – although a little more gently – for kids. However, infants should never be shaken. Instead, you can flick the bottom of their feet to get a reaction.

If the person is unresponsive, you’ll need to do CPR. If you’re with someone, have them call 911. However, if you are alone, you will need to start CPR immediately. You should perform it for two minutes on a child or infant before making a call.

CPR steps

1.  Airway management

With the child or infant lying on their back, you’ll want to tilt their head back a little and lift the chin. For 10 seconds or less, listen carefully to determine if the child is breathing. If they’re not, take a look inside their mouth; it’s possible something is blocking their airway. If you don’t see anything, move on to step two.

2.  Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation

When doing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on an adult, you would pinch the nose and breathe into their mouth. The same is true for children. But because infants are so much smaller, you will need to put your mouth over both their nose and mouth.

For both children and infants, you should first give two rescue breaths. If there is still no response, it’s time for compressions.

3.  Chest Compressions

Compressions for adults and children are pretty much the same; you’ll put the heel of one hand on the center of their chest, the heel of your other hand on top of that one, and lace together your fingers. For smaller children, it may be easy just to use one hand. Do 30 fast compressions, going about two inches deep.

When doing compressions on infants, just use two fingers, placed about one finger length below the nipple line. Do the same number of compressions, but only go about 1.5 inches deep.

4.  Keep going

After the compressions, you’ll give two more rescue breaths and then repeat the process until either the child starts breathing or a trained professional can take over. If you are in an area with an AED, you’ll need to stop performing CPR while that is being administered.

What about hands-only CPR?

Recently the AHA re-examined their CPR guidelines and decided that in many instances, mouth-to-mouth might not be necessary and just doing compressions would be as effective. However, when it comes to children, standard CPR should still be used. This is because a lack of respiration is commonly the cause of cardiac arrest in children and infants, meaning they are likely deprived of oxygen.

Get certified for your family

While familiarizing yourself with the basics can be a big help, getting hands-on training will enable you to know exactly what to do if you need to perform CPR. At One Beat, you’ll be trained by experienced first responders in CPR as well as the use of AEDs.

Take a look at our classes to find a time that fits into your schedule.

Heart-Healthy Diets: What You Should Be Looking For

Heart-Healthy Diets: What You Should Be Looking For on onebeatcpr.com

You may be having an improper relationship with the word “diet” and not even know it

We tend to announce we’re “going on a diet” when we gain unwanted weight. It’s usually just a temporary thing.

The true meaning of a diet may be different than what you think. The word itself is based on the Latin diaeta. It means “a manner of living or a way of life.” Diet is not something we take up for a while. It’s a fundamental choice.

Here are some choices you should make when you decide to eat the foods that make up a heart-healthy diet.

Portion control

You might get away with blaming this on your mother. She’s probably the one who made it mandatory for you to eat everything on your plate. She had good reasons, though. Your mother was making sure that you were consuming enough food to assist with the growth of your young body.

Our need for healthy food never changes, but our caloric intake does. How much you eat is just as important as what you’re eating. Restaurants can often take the place of your mother in enticing you to eat more than you need.

Any heart-healthy diet includes controlling the amount of food you eat. Use a smaller plate or bowl to help you reduce the size of serving portions. Choose larger portions of low-calorie fruits and vegetables. Significantly cut down on the size of high-sodium, refined processed foods.

Making this a conscious effort often helps people start to lose weight. A commitment to eating this way permanently helps them start to live healthier.

Another way to develop a permanent change in the way you approach portion control is to keep track of the number of servings you eat. There are many online sources that can help you determine a serving size and even help you track them.

Just be warned that initially, those serving sizes might be a bit surprising and depressing. A standard serving of pasta is about only half a cup – or about the size of a hockey puck. A standard serving of meat is only about two to three ounces – or about the size and thickness of a deck of playing cards.

Eat more fruits and vegetables

Sure, no major surprise about this tip. They’re “good for you.” What you might not know is why they’re good for a heart-healthy diet. Most plant-based foods contain substances that have been shown to help prevent cardiovascular disease.

Vegetables also tend to be low in calories but high in dietary fiber, the latter of which may help you feel full.

One of the easiest ways to increase your dietary consumption of fruits and vegetables is to give them the starring role in your food preparation. A bowl of fruit in the kitchen isn’t just a decorative prop. It’s a regular reminder – every time you pass by – to help yourself to something that’s low in calories but great for your health.

Make vegetables the main ingredient in your dinner entrée. Sure, sautéed mushrooms are a great topping for a grilled steak. But have you ever tried a marinated and grilled portabella mushroom? You might decide you like the flavor and the texture as much as that medium-rare cut of beef.

Fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits are the best choices. If you do opt for canned vegetables, look for ones that are labeled as having low sodium content. Often, the canning and preparation process uses high amounts of sodium. Look for canned fruit that’s been packed either in plain water or juice from the fruit itself.

Grainy days

Much of the breads and grain-based foods we find at the grocery store have been highly processed – to make them look and sometimes taste better. Unfortunately, this processing removes the parts of grains that provide us with beneficial heart-healthy nutrition. That favorite white bread you remember eating as a kid? It’s so highly processed that the manufacturer actually adds nutrition back into it.

Whole grains are excellent sources of fiber and nutrients which play a role in regulating blood pressure – but only when they are unprocessed. It’s easy to increase your intake – just look for breads and other grain-based products that say they are made of whole grain.

For breakfast, look for high-fiber cereal made of whole grains, or better yet, opt for oatmeal. Avoid frozen waffles or biscuits. They’re usually made with highly-processed grains.

Seeking out whole grain alternatives doesn’t mean you have to give up pasta. It is possible to find delicious whole-grain versions of your favorite types. You may not even be able to taste a difference – but over time, your heart will thank you.

Fat attack

Saturated and trans fats are bad news for your heart. Removing them from your diet now is an important step to reducing blood cholesterol and lowering your risk of heart disease. Eating food high in these types of fats is believed to lead to a buildup of plaque in your arteries. This can put you at a higher risk of a stroke or heart attack.

Check the nutritional labels of the food you plan to eat. The American Heart Association recommends that you limit your daily consumption of saturated fat to no more than about 13 grams. That’s going to be about 6% of total daily calories. As for trans fats, the American Heart Association recommends you avoid them altogether.

Limit your intake of creamy sauces, nondairy creamers, food made with hydrogenated shortening or margarine, and fast-food products made with palm, cottonseed, or palm-kernel oils.

Processed foods like cookies, cakes, frostings, chips, and crackers might be listed as “reduced fat,” but often it means they have been made with trans fats, instead. Avoid foods which state they have been made with oils that have been “partially hydrogenated.”

Fat of any kind is high in calories. Monounsaturated fats like olive or canola oil are wise choices when consumed in moderation. Fish, avocados, seeds, and nuts contain polyunsaturated fats. Both of these types of fats may help you to lower your total blood cholesterol.

Choose protein wisely

Lean meat, poultry, and fish are excellent sources of protein. Diets high in protein are good for heart health. Beware, though, of how much fat you consume as a result of this protein. Chicken breasts are great – until they become fried chicken patties at your favorite fast food outlet.

Also, opt for legumes. Lentils, beans, and peas are excellent sources of protein – but they contain far less fat and no cholesterol.

Shy away from sodium

Many highly-processed foods don’t taste like much of anything. They also must be highly seasoned to make them appealing. The most common seasoning used for this purpose is sodium.

Consuming too much sodium can contribute to high blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends that we consume no more than about 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily. That’s only about half a teaspoon of salt.

Avoiding canned or processed foods can help you to stay in this optimal sodium-intake range. Many canned soups or prepared meals have high sodium contents – and don’t be confused by labels boasting that sea salt was used instead. It has the same sodium value as regular salt.

Ease into your heart-healthy diet

A diet should be a way of life. It’s a permanent shift, and these choices can help you to make a long-standing move toward better heart health. Some of the advice might be a bit hard to handle if you do it all at once – and maybe you’re just not ready to give up on those highly-processed egg noodles yet.

A diet is supposed to reward you with a better way of life. Allow yourself an indulgence from time to time as a way to reward yourself for eating well. You’ve earned it.

One Beat CPR + AED provides American Heart Association CPR certifications for groups and individuals. Our programs cover advanced, basic, and infant CPR courses. For more information, or to sign up for classes, contact us today!

The Recovery Position: What It Is, and Why Everyone Should Know About It

The Recovery Position: What It Is, and Why Everyone Should Know About It on onebeatcpr.com

The recovery position guards against a restricted airway

Would you know what to do if an individual had been rendered first aid, but was still unconscious?

You’re waiting for emergency professionals to arrive and take over. Is there anything else you should do? There often is, and it’s called the recovery position. Here’s what you need to know:

When to use the recovery position

Unconscious and breathing – these are the two conditions which indicate it’s time to take this next step in providing first aid. The recovery position keeps an individual’s airway clean and open, ensuring that the tongue or fluid won’t make them choke. This is a real and serious possibility.

When an individual is unconscious and lying on their back, the jaw tends to slump, which allows the tongue to fall to the back of the throat. This could block the airway and make it impossible to breathe. Likewise, someone may vomit while they’re unconscious, also blocking their airway.

There are 7 steps to placing someone in the recovery position. While that might seem like a lot of steps to remember, they all make sense in getting someone into the position you see in the photo above.

  1. If you’ve administered CPR, the person will already be on their back. Otherwise, move them to this position. Then, kneel on the floor next to them.
  2. Place the arm nearest to you at a right angle to their body. Angle their hand upwards, towards their head.
  3. Tuck the other hand under the side of their head. The palm of this hand should be facing down so that the back of their hand is touching their cheek.
  4. Now, bend the knee farthest from you as close to a right angle as possible.
  5. Carefully roll them onto their side. Use the bent knee to help you with this.
  6. You’ll see why you started by positioning their arms first. The top arm will support their head, while the bottom arm will keep them from rolling over too far.
  7. You’ve successfully maneuvered this person into the recovery position – but your job isn’t done yet. Now, you’ll want to open their airway by positioning their head to assist with breathing. Gently tilt their head back and lift their chin. Check to see that nothing has blocked the airway.

When NOT to use the recovery position

Moving someone into the recovery position is dangerous and may cause further harm if you have any reason to believe they’ve suffered a spinal injury. It’s best not to try to move them at all until emergency professionals arrive to assess the situation.

It’s still important, however, to open their airway. Remember that you want to prevent any movement to their neck while doing this. Put your hands on either side of their head. Then gently lift their jaw with just your fingertips.

It’s best to receive professional training to apply for the recovery position correctly. When it’s done right, it can save a person from death or lasting injury due to a restricted airway.

One Beat CPR + AED offers professional, accessible, American Heart Association-approved CPR coursesFor more information or to find a training facility near you, connect with us online or give us a call at 954.321.5305.

What is Hands-Only CPR and Who Can Do It?

What is Hands-Only CPR and Who Can Do It? on onebeatcpr.com

Recent AHA CPR changes emphasize a chest-compression-only technique for certain conditions

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), 90% of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) victims who aren’t under medical supervision don’t survive. The good news is that immediate administration of CPR can as much as triple the chance of surviving cardiac arrest.

In response these tragic statistics, the AHA re-analyzed their recommended CPR techniques. Research had indicated a reluctance of bystanders – due to hygienic or knowledge concerns – to perform the mouth-to-mouth aspect of CPR. While doing away with assisted breathing might seem like a massive change, the technique might not have been as necessary as formerly thought.

Compression-only CPR and the Bee Gees

In general, the hands-only approach is only recommended if nobody on the scene knows full CPR, the individual isn’t an infant or small child, or if performing mouth-to-mouth is otherwise inadvisable. The technique involves two basic steps:

  1. Call 911. The first step in any emergency should always be to call for professional medical help. The dispatcher will need to know the address, details about the state of the victim, and may provide medical instruction.
  2. Once the individual is in position, pump the heart. Chest compressions manually circulate blood through the body. The compression point should be about parallel with the nipples on an adult, in the center of the chest. The beat to the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” is about the perfect rhythm for chest compressions (other popular songs that will work are “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira and Johnny Cash’s “Walk the Line”). Compressions should be applied with locked arms and be maintained until help arrives, and the chest should be depressed approximately 1½ to 2 inches, again for an adult.

Why make the change?

Surprisingly, the AHA’s inquiry revealed that focusing entirely on chest-compressions is about as effective as incorporating mouth-to-mouth – at least within the first few minutes. In addition, when it comes to cardiac arrest, doing something is always better than doing nothing. Most people feel more comfortable with compression-only CPR, and dropping the mouth-to-mouth requirement increases the likelihood of help from bystanders.

Another aspect the AHA found favorable is a confidence boost in applying CPR. When bystanders don’t know what to do, they’re often concerned that attempting CPR could only make matters worse. The compression-only technique is so simple, people are more likely to remember how to do it – and therefore, more likely to take action.

Is it really just as effective?

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine assessed 1,941 instances of out of hospital cardiac arrests. Approximately half were given chest-only CPR. The study’s authors concluded, “we observed no significant difference between the two groups in the proportion of patients who survived to hospital discharge.”

Those with CPR certification are still advised to perform traditional CPR. Furthermore, the AHA continues to recommend mouth-to-mouth, or “rescue breathing,” for infants, children, and in cases of drug overdose, drowning, or for victims who collapse due to difficulties breathing.

Who can do hands-only CPR?

As previously stated, the compression-only approach is only recommended for bystanders without CPR training, or in cases where bystanders might not be willing to perform mouth-to-mouth.

In short: Almost anyone can perform hands-only CPR.

Hands-only CPR is only the beginning for South Florida

The AHA campaign to promote the hands-only approach is bound to save lives, however, there’s more to proper CPR than this simple approach.

Full CPR training includes knowing how to recognize when CPR should be administered, how to properly apply the full technique, and what to do when a victim is revived. Classes also include automated external defibrillator (AED) training.

One Beat CPR + AED sets the standard for South Florida’s AHA and American Safety Health Institute certified training facilities. We offer group and individual classes for everyone from medical professionals to new parents.

For more information about lifesaving classes, connect with us online or give us a call at 855-663-2328.