Monthly Archives: January 2019

How Cold Weather Affects Your Heart

Are you and your heart ready for the frigid depths of winter?

Cold Weather and SCA

Photo Courtesy: NBC News

Brrrrr! With great swaths of the country feeling the icy effects of January, now is the perfect time to make sure that you and your heart are staying warm this winter.

Winter can present its own special set of challenges and can be especially treacherous if you’re over 65, have already had a heart attack, or have been diagnosed with heart disease. Regardless of whether or not you have heart disease, though, taking care of your heart and body during bitterly cold months is a smart move.

Why is Winter So Hard on Your Heart?

Our bodies naturally react to cold environments by making certain physiological adjustments. Put another way, your body works harder when it’s cold. And that’s generally a good thing! The extra effort your body puts into staying warm protects your vital organs and helps maintain your core body temperature. However, while natural and necessary, these changes can be challenging — and perhaps even dangerous — for people with heart disease.

Heart Attacks are More Common in the Winter

Cold temperatures can cause your blood vessels to contract and your blood flow to speed up. In fact, that’s what helps keep you warm.

However, it may also cause your heart rate and blood pressure to increase. When this occurs, your heart is working significantly harder than it does under more temperate conditions. If you factor additional exertion like slogging through heavy snow or shoveling a snow-covered walkway into the equation, it could be a recipe for a heart attack.

“According to a study published in JAMA Cardiology in November, which analyzed information on about 274,000 people living in Sweden, the risk of having a heart attack was greatest on days when the temperature was below freezing. Another study, published in PLOS One in 2015, found up to a 31 percent increase in heart attacks in the coldest months of the year compared with the warmest” (Consumer Reports).

Risk of Stroke Increases in the Winter

If that’s not enough to make you head for the coat closet (or Florida), frosty temps can also increase the likelihood of blood clots which, in turn, increases the odds of suffering from a stroke or embolism.

Fortunately, many of the causes that are commonly believed to be behind the increased incidence of stroke during the colder months, whether infection, lack of sunlight, depression, or sedentary lifestyle, are preventable. Just remember to wash your hands, take your vitamin D, and get some exercise. If you think you may be suffering from depression, talk to your doctor!

Hypothermia Can Lead to Heart and Respiratory System Failure

When your body temperature dips below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, things get pretty ugly pretty fast. When this happens, hypothermia sets in and your heart, circulatory system, nervous system, and other organs cannot function properly.

Left untreated, hypothermia can result in death.

Symptoms of moderate to severe hypothermia include:

  • Shivering
  • Lack of coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Weak pulse
  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Drowsiness
  • Unconsciousness

How to Protect Yourself from the Cold

Now that we’ve established that winter is a bleak and frozen landscape dotted with danger and peril, it’s time to offer a few fail-safe recommendations for staying warm and protecting your heart.

Keep Your Home Cozy

If you haven’t conducted a home energy audit, now may be the time. Look for (and seal) obvious air leaks, upgrade your insulation, and inspect your furnace and ventilation systems to make sure you’re not wasting your warmth. Then, crank up your furnace to a toasty 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Stay Active Indoors

If you’re staying indoors because it’s just too cold outdoors, be sure to stay active! Move around at least once every hour and avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time. This gets the blood flowing and helps keep you warm.

Splurge on Some Tasty Tea

Go ahead and indulge a little. Just be smart about it! We recommend warm, wholesome meals and a nice cup of flavonoid-rich black or green tea.

“Short-term studies have shown that drinking tea may improve vascular reactivity—a measure of how well your blood vessels respond to physical or emotional stress. There’s also evidence that drinking either black or green tea may lower harmful LDL cholesterol levels” (Harvard Health Publishing).

Layer Up!

Not only is it like giving yourself a nice, warm hug, but wearing a number of thin layers can keep you warmer than one thick layer. Thin layers trap air and create a natural insulation barrier. And if you’ve never been called a hot head, we’re happy to do the honors. You can lose a ton of heat from your head, so don’t forget to don that stocking cap!

Shovel Smart

If you’re heading outside to clear a pathway, err on the side of caution. Let someone know what you’re up to so they can keep an eye on you, give yourself plenty of breaks, use an ergonomic snow shovel or snow pusher, avoid alcohol (which can make your body think it’s warm when it’s not), and above all else, listen to your body!


For more information about AEDs, CPR training, or First Aid certification, contact contact Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362. We also welcome your emails; you can reach us at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

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3 Great Reasons Why You Should Care about AED Compliance Management

What is AED compliance management and why should you invest in an AED compliance management system?

AED Compliance Management

AED compliance management systems are specialized tools that help AED program managers and occupational health and safety officers by tracking AED registration, sending performance check reminders, and by making sure AED owners are updated on the latest AED laws and regulations for their state.

Last week, we covered a few AED best practices, and this week we’re going to dive a little deeper into the importance of AED compliance and AED compliance management systems.

Reason # 1: Simply having an AED May Not Be Enough to Save a Life

Each year, more than 360,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States (American Heart Association). Sudden cardiac arrest — an electrical malfunction in the heart that disrupts the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and other vital organs — is a leading cause of death among Americans (AHA).

In fact, 95% of sudden cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital. While incredibly grim, there’s no reason why we can’t turn these statistics around. Cardiac arrest victims who received a shock from a publicly-available AED that was administered by a bystander had more than double the odds of survival to hospital discharge (EHS Today).

Perhaps as a result of these hopeful numbers, many states have mandated the installation of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in public and government buildings, and more and more employers across the United States are installing AEDs to protect their employees, customers, and visitors.

However, if your AED is out-of-compliance and is not rescue-ready, it’s not going to get the job done. Batteries and pads can expire, rendering your costly piece of equipment into little more than a high-tech wall decoration.

Reason #2: AED Compliance Management = Peace of Mind

Health and safety officers and facilities managers have plenty of systems and operations to keep in good running order. Whether your organization has one or dozens of AEDs, leave your AED compliance and maintenance to the AED professionals!

Compliance management systems make it easy to register and track your life-saving devices. It’s easy to overlook AED maintenance checks. With Cardio Partners’ online AED compliance management system, LifeShield, however, you’ll never forget another check-in. Our system sends an email reminder every 30 days so you can enjoy peace of mind while keeping your focus on your business. It also offers unit readiness, expiration tracking, and medical direction. A 24-hour AED use helpline helps you train new employees and get the most out of your devices.

Reason #3: Out-of-Compliance AEDs Can Result in a Lawsuit

Last year, the family of a woman who died on a 2016 American Airlines filed a lawsuit claiming that the airline was negligent in handling the medical emergency suffered by their daughter. Potential rescuers on board the aircraft attempted to use an automatic external defibrillator on the passenger, but the device failed (Inc.com).

AED owners are subject to State and Federal regulations meant to ensure medical devices operate as intended, and regular inspections and performance checks are necessary to ensure that medical devices are in compliance with those regulations. AEDs that don’t work not only cost lives, but they result in tragic and entirely preventable lawsuits. Keep your AEDs in good working order with a reliable compliance management system such as LifeShield Compliance Management System.

User-friendly online AED Compliance Management Systems are the safest way to make sure that your equipment is up-to-date and is ready to save lives. Dramatically reduce your legal liability by investing in a complete compliance system.

At Cardio Partners, we’re dedicated to making sure that your workplace and your communities are well-prepared and well-protected in the event of a medical emergency. For more information on our CPR and first aid training courses, our AED and defibrillator service and preventative maintenance programs, or LifeShield, our online compliance management program, contact Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362 or email us at customerservice@cardiopartners.com

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So Now You Have an AED, What’s Next?

Are you following AED best practices? Let’s find out!

Congratulations, AED owner! You’ve taken a very important step in maintaining the well being and safety of your employees, community members, and loved ones by purchasing an AED. Now let’s make sure that you’re following AED best practices to ensure that you’re getting the maximum benefit from your AEDs.

Are Your AEDs in Plain Sight?

Did you know that more than half of 2000 employees surveyed by the American Heart Association (AHA) cannot locate an AED at work?

Timing is critical when it comes to administering CPR or defibrillation. For every minute that passes without CPR or defibrillation, the chances of survival decrease 7-10% (AHA). By keeping your AED in a convenient, well-trafficked, and highly visible location, bystanders are more likely to respond in a timely fashion. Specialized AED wall cabinets and signage can also help dramatically.

Here are a few OSHA-ratified recommendations for optimal AED placement:

  • Areas where many people work closely together, such as assembly lines and office buildings.
  • Areas where electric-powered devices are used.
  • Outdoor worksites where lightning may occur.
  • Health units where workers may seek treatment for heart attack symptoms.
  • Company fitness units and cafeterias.
  • Remote sites, such as offshore drilling rigs, construction projects, marine vessels, power transmission lines, and energy pipelines.

For more location tips, take a peek at Finding the Best Location for Your AED.

Are Your Employees or Potential Rescuers Well-Trained and Ready?

AEDs are now widely available, safe, effective, and portable. They’re also increasingly affordable and easy to use. These devices provide the critical and necessary treatment for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) caused by ventricular fibrillation. For the best chance of survival, an AED should be used within three to five minutes after collapse.

The same AHA survey that we mentioned earlier also found that more than half cannot get first aid or CPR and AED training from their employer and that more than 90% of the employees said they would take employer-sponsored CPR and first aid training courses.

If you have an AED, you’ll want to make sure that your employees know how to use it (and feel confident in doing so). You’ll also want to make sure they know how to recognize a sudden cardiac arrest and how they should go about activating your emergency response plan.

Improve safety by boosting your employees’ confidence. Enroll your team in CPR, First Aid, and AED courses today!

Are Your AEDs in Compliance?

Out-of-compliance AEDs cost lives. Keep your AEDs in good working order with the LifeShield Compliance Management System. AED Compliance Management Systems are the easiest and safest way to make sure that your equipment is up-to-date and are ready to save lives. You can also dramatically reduce your legal liability by investing in a compliance management system.

These online systems send monthly AED check reminders and include AED logging, AED unit readiness and expiration tracking, EMS/First Responder notification,  24-hour AED use helpline, resource library access, medical direction, AED prescription maintenance, AED oversight, AED legislation tracking, courtesy overdue calls, and more.

Are Your AEDs Well-Maintained?

Although modern AEDs require very little maintenance, we recommend leaving AED preventative maintenance to the professionals. Most state AED laws require that equipment is maintained in accordance with the individual manufacturer specifications, and professional maintenance providers have the experience and resources to ensure that your equipment meets its original manufacturers’ specifications.

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Don’t have an AED? Make 2019 the year you take the plunge. Each year, more than 356,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) occur in the United States and shockingly, 90% of the people who experience an OHCA will die. While these numbers are nothing short of tragic, the AHA has found that immediate, high-quality CPR and the timely deployment of an automated external defibrillator (AED) can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.

If that’s not reason enough to invest in an AED for your home, community center, or office, we don’t know what is. If you’re thinking about purchasing an AED, we recommend downloading our free AED Starter’s Guide. You can also check out our post, Which AED is Right for You?

To learn more about AED best practices, our AED and defibrillator service and preventative maintenance programs, or LifeShield, our online compliance management program, contact Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362 or email us at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

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