It’s official – the warm weather has arrived here in sunny Santa Cruz, California! There’s no better time of year to get outside and take advantage of our gorgeous scenery, from the beaches to Pogonip, the Henry Cowell Redwoods to DeLaveaga Park. Whether you prefer walking, biking, hiking or horseback riding, you find plenty of places to do it in the Santa Cruz region.
But getting active offers more benefits than simply an enjoyment of nature. Did you know that exercise has a direct effect on your heart – and your overall – health? Studies show that regular physical activity that increases your heart rate decreases the risk of heart disease by 20 to 60 percent.
And that’s not all – just 30 minutes of exercise per day works to lower blood pressure, decrease LDL – “bad” – cholesterol levels, and keep your arteries more elastic. However, even light to moderate exercise has a beneficial effect on heart disease risk.
If you haven’t exercised for a while, ease into your new routine slowly. You may want to start by taking a stroll on one of the many walking paths around Santa Cruz, such as the nature trail that connects the Monarch and Moore Creek Trails in Natural Bridges State Park. This easy walk is just 1.2 miles long, yet it includes beachfront views, a butterfly preserve and a eucalyptus grove.
And, if you’re new to exercise, you may want to take a friend along. After all, studies show that when people receive (BLS) basic life support – like CPR and defibrillation from an AED – immediately after a cardiac event, the higher their survival rate.
We’re lucky enough to live in one of the most beautiful places on the West Coast, so get out there and get moving! Your heart will thank you.
High blood pressure: It’s known as the “silent killer” for a reason. One in three adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure – that equals 68 million Americans who are at a greater risk of heart disease and stroke, the leading killers in the country.
But despite the prevalence of high blood pressure, it doesn’t have symptoms or warning signs — unlike most other chronic diseases — so it often goes unchecked.
That’s why it’s so important to have your physician take your blood pressure regularly, as it’s an indication of heart health.
If you’re keeping up with those blood pressure check-ups, congratulations! But you may be asking yourself what do all of those numbers really mean?
If the words “systolic” and “diastolic” have you shaking your head in confusion, here’s a simple explanation.
The first, or top, number in a blood pressure reading is systolic. A systolic reading measures the pressure in your blood vessels each time your heart beats or contracts. The systolic number is the higher of the two numbers in a blood pressure reading.
The second, or bottom, number is diastolic. A diastolic reading measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart is resting between beats, when the heart muscle is resting and refilling with blood. The diastolic number is the lower of the two numbers in a blood pressure reading.
When the systolic and diastolic numbers are put together to create a blood pressure reading, you would say the reading as, for example, “110 over 70” or write the blood pressure reading as “110/70 mmHg.”
This chart reflects blood pressure categories as defined by the American Heart Association.
mm Hg (upper #)
mm Hg (lower #)
|Normal||less than 120||and||less than 80|
|Prehypertension||120 – 139||or||80 – 89|
|High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 1
|140 – 159||or||90 – 99|
|High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 2
|160 or higher||or||100 or higher|
(Emergency care needed)
|Higher than 180||or||Higher than 110|
Source: American Heart Association
Though your physician will let you know what a healthy blood pressure reading is for you, “normal” blood pressure for adults over age 20 has a systolic reading of 120 or less and a diastolic reading of 80 or less.
If you get a single high reading, don’t panic: Stress, exercise, sleep or even your posture can affect blood pressure. Your physician may want to take a series of readings over time to accurately determine your blood pressure.
The good news is that lifestyle changes – like getting more exercise — lowers blood pressure naturally! Here in Santa Cruz, we’re lucky enough to live in a community with an abundance of outdoor exercise venues, from the beach to biking trails, hiking hills to boardwalks, making lowering that blood pressure more enjoyable.
I’ve been a Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation – or CPR – instructor for almost 20 years. One of the most important things I share with my CPR students is the importance of recognizing the early signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
My CPR training paid off that day.
When I arrived at the emergency room, the rapid response team determined that my electrocardiograph – also known as EKG or ECG — and blood work showed no indication that I was experiencing a cardiac event.
However, I was a 51-year-old female with a family history of heart disease, so the ER physician took my symptoms seriously. Throughout the evening, the ER staff monitored me closely and checked my blood for heart enzymes, a common indicator of a heart attack. Finally, a negative stress-test definitively indicated that, despite my symptoms, I was not experiencing a cardiac event.
My own mother wasn’t as lucky.
Twenty-three years ago, I rushed my mom to the same ER. She was experiencing angina and shoulder pain, but — despite her symptoms and her history of heart disease – the ER doctor sent her home because her labs and electrocardiograph were “normal.”
My mother died four days later.
Fortunately, healthcare providers today recognize that female cardiac events can look very different than those of men; in fact, women’s cardiac events are often atypical.
However, 8.6 million women die from heart disease every year, making it the number one killer of women worldwide. In order to raise awareness of this deadly – and preventable – disease, the American Heart Association created Go Red For Women – a passionate, emotional social initiative designed to empower and inform women about heart health.
Author: Eva Tordoff
source for image: http://healthwebonline.com/womens-health/signs-of-heart-attacks-for-women/
Although the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) has been proven to be an incredibly valuable asset for Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) emergencies not all SCA is due to a shockable rhythm. According to a recent study about %75 of SCA is non-shockable. This means it does not respond to a shock. When the rhythm is non-shockable the survival rate is very low. With the guidelines that American Heart Association (AHA) has adopted since 2005 that focuses on more compression’s with less interruptions we have seen survival rate increase by approximately %45. This means we are saving more lives. With the 2010 guidelines that start with chest compression’s, CAB sequence, chest compression’s are started sooner. The CAB sequence is taught all levels, including Heartsaver(R), Basic Life Support (BLS) for Healthcare Providers, Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS). It will be interesting to see how this simple rearrangement of the sequence will affect survival. Go here for the full article
Did you know that someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds? In the U.S. alone, more than 800,000 people die from a stroke or cardiovascular disease each year – that’s one person every four minutes. And for those who survive, the after-effects of a stroke can cause long-term disabilities.
But the news isn’t all bad: Knowing the early signs and symptoms of stroke and making preventative, heart-healthy lifestyle changes reduce the risks.
May is National Stroke Awareness Month. This spring, make a goal to educate and enlighten yourself about how to best prevent stroke.
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S., but it’s the leading cause of severe, long-term disabilities – like paralysis and speech problems — that negatively impact quality of life. Fortunately, following a heart-healthy lifestyle can make a big difference to your stroke and heart disease risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control, top risk factors include:
Of these, high blood pressure is a major predictor of stroke. Often called the “silent killer” because it doesn’t have any visible symptoms, high blood pressure is easily controlled with a combination of lifestyle changes and medications. Start by visiting a healthcare professional to determine your blood pressure.
Other lifestyle factors, such as smoking, inactivity and obesity, also increase risk of stroke. These behaviors result in the narrowing of blood vessels, hardening of arteries and reduced blood flow to the brain. madelinemullinst5fg33.blogspot.com When a clot blocks blood flow or a blood vessel bursts, stroke can occur.
Knowing stroke’s early signs and symptoms is important, too, as quicker treatment tends to have much better results. Early signs include sudden:
The image of a healthy, physically fit athlete in their teens or 20s is probably the last thing that comes to mind when you picture someone dying of cardiac arrest.
But did you know that more than 180 young athletes have died of sudden cardiac arrest while playing sports in the last 15 years? This phenonmenon is called commotio cardis – a condition caused by a sudden blow to the chest by a fast-moving object, like a ball or a puck — and more than half of the time, it’s fatal.
Though it’s not a common household term, commotio cardis mostly affects athletes who play sports like baseball, lacrosse and hockey. When a youth receives a blow directly over the heart during a certain segment of their heart rhythm, they go into fibrillation. As if that’s not scary enough, the mean age of victims is only 13.6 years – a sobering statistic for any parent or Little League coach.
Fortunately, there’s an effective solution to this problem: Quick use of an Automated External Defibrillator or AED.
At one time, this would be considered an Advanced Cardiac Life Support action; however, in recent years, AED technology has become a Basic Life Support – or BLS — intervention that’s not just for healthcare providers, but rather is becoming standard equipment on sports teams across the country.
Commotio cordis can happen to anyone: Even completely fit, healthy athletes.
As parents and coaches become more aware of the risks, they’re calling for continuing education and encouraging leagues and teams to implement AED programs.
This year, local Little Leagues including Aptos, Capitola/Soquel and Hollister have added AED programs to their leagues, and Above Bar CPR has provided them with American Heart Association’s Heartsaver AED training. Parents can sleep easier knowing that the children in these leagues have access to early CPR and AED.
Prevention is important, too — for less than $30 you can protect your athlete with a chest protector – but when it comes to Commotio Cordis, AED means the difference between life and death.
Do you think AEDs should be mandatory in Little League and other sports with fast moving balls or pucks?
Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women? Each year in the U.S. alone, 25% of all deaths were related to heart disease; that translates into more than 1.2 million heart attacks each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
But there’s good news: Most heart disease is preventable. In fact, a new campaign by the American Heart Association (AHA) proposes to reduce American’s deaths from cardiovascular diseases and strokes by 20% while improving cardiovascular health by 20%, all by the year 2020.
At the heart the campaign is My Life Check, a website designed to help you make lifestyle changes that will not only improve your heart health, but have an impact on your overall health and long-term quality of life.
My Life Check measures seven key areas of life – known as Life’s Simple 7 – that you control, including:
The Life’s Simple 7 are designed to help improve heart health through preventative lifestyle changes. The Simple 7 share several attributes, including:
Together, these suggestions propel you toward the goal of a long, productive and healthy life. To help you get started, My Life Check offers an online assessment tool that measures exactly where you stand on the road to heart health and helps you decide where to focus your efforts.
Though prevention is key, almost 50% of sudden cardiac events take place outside of a hospital – which means that victims must be treated immediately. Studies show that heart attack victims who receive defibrillator — AED — shocks within six minutes have a better survival rate, and those treated with CPR tend to have a higher quality of life a year after the event.
The crowd gasped audibly when 24-year-old pro-soccer player Fabrice Muamba collapsed during a match. The Bolton midfielder suffered a cardiac arrest on the field; fans watched in awe as a team of doctors swarmed to his side and immediately began administering Advanced Cardiac Life Support — or ACLS — CPR to the unconscious athlete.
Muamba’s heart didn’t start beating again for over an hour.
It took 48 minutes to transport the soccer player to a London hospital. On the way, doctors administered repeated chest compressions, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and 15 defibrillator shocks from an AED device. They kept up the hard work for another 30 minutes after they arrived in the Emergency Room, and finally – after being declared “in effect dead” by a team doctor – Muamba was resuscitated.
A little more than a month later, a recovering Muamba was discharged from the hospital and even stepped onto the soccer field to watch his team members play a match.
Without CPR, he wouldn’t have survived to watch another game.
According to Dr. Benjamin Abella, clinical research director at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Resuscitation Science, Muamba’s survival and recovery are solely due to the CPR and defibrillation — a combination of Basic Life Support and ACLS techniques — that the first responders provided.
In fact, studies show that CPR increases the survival rate by more than 50 percent. Unfortunately, only about 30 percent of people that experience cardiac arrest receive the help they need .
That’s why Dr. Michael R. Sayre, a professor of emergency medicine at Ohio State University, recommends that bystanders act immediately to perform CPR – and take CPR classes in order to be prepared.
If just 20 percent more people learned – and practiced – CPR, that could translate into about 40,000 more lives saved each year. You can help save lives by earning your certification in CPR, ACLS or other first aid classes through Above Bar CPR.