Tag Archives: Stroke

How Can I Prevent a Stroke?

Did you know that a majority of strokes are preventable? According to the American Stroke Association, up to 80% of strokes can be prevented by not smoking, making healthy food choices, getting enough physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and treating chronic conditions such as high blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure.

We’ve already covered the Key Differences Between a Heart Attack, Sudden Cardiac Arrest, and Stroke but in observance of American Stroke Month, we’re going to share some important facts about stroke, the warning signs of a stroke, and dive into a few ways you can reduce your likelihood of having a stroke.

5 Key Facts About Stroke

FACT #1: Stroke kills brain cells

A stroke happens when a clot or rupture interrupts blood flow to the brain. Without oxygen-rich blood, brain cells die.

FACT #2: There are three types of stroke

  • Ischemic (caused by a clot)
  • Hemorrhagic (caused by a rupture)
  • Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) or “mini-stroke” (caused by a temporary blockage)

FACT #3: About one in four stroke survivors is at risk for another

Fortunately, up to 80% of second clot-related strokes may be preventable.

FACT #4: Prevention is key

If you’ve already had a stroke, create a plan with your doctor to prevent another. Your plan may include managing high blood pressure and discussing aspirin (which is a blood thinner) or other medications. If you are at elevated risk for stroke due to chronic health conditions like high cholesterol, blood sugar, or blood pressure, you may want to discuss ways to manage your condition with your doctor.

FACT #5: Time lost is brain lost

Some brain cells start dying less than five minutes after their oxygen supply disappears, so it’s critically important to recognize the warning signs of a stroke and to act quickly.  

Source: American Stroke Association

Do You Know How to Spot a Stroke?

Face Drooping

Arm Weakness

Slurred Speech

Time to call 911

Ways to Prevent a Stroke

If you read 5 Strategies to Prevent Heart Disease, some of these tips for preventing a stroke may seem familiar. If not, we added a few for good measure!

Monitor your blood pressure

High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke and is one of the most telling risk factors. Normal blood pressure falls below 120/80 — if you have high blood pressure, work with your doctor to lower it.

Control your cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that occurs in blood and it can be produced by the body or found in the foods you consume. When your arteries are blocked by fatty deposits, normal blood flow to the brain can become blocked and may cause a stroke. Shoot for a total cholesterol count of under 200. If yours is high, talk to your doctor about changing your diet, developing an exercise plan, or taking cholesterol-lowering medications

Keep an eye on your blood sugar

A fasting blood sugar level less than 100 mg/dL is considered normal. Make sure your doctor is conducting regular screenings for diabetes, because diabetes more than doubles your risk of stroke!

Get active, stay active!

Aim for 150 minutes of moderate activity each week. You don’t need to do it all at once, either! Go for a quick walk after lunch, take the dog for an extra spin around the block, have a dance party with your grandkids, park as far away from a store’s entrance as possible, take the stairs, and just keep moving!

Eat better

Include fruits and vegetables with every meal. Try to eat the rainbow — don’t worry, fresh, frozen, and canned all count.

If you smoke, quit

We covered this at length in November, during the Great American Smokeout, but if you smoke, it’s time to quit. You can do it.

Make the “I will not have a stroke” pledge today! #StrokeAwarenessMoth

For more information on AEDs, First Aid, or CPR training, visit AED.com or call Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362. You can also email us at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

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5 Evidence-Based Benefits of Workplace Wellness Programs

Workplace Wellness

Great reasons to start a corporate wellness program

Corporate wellness programs are more popular today than ever before. In the late 1970s, a few major corporations kicked things off by launching fitness tracking programs that focused almost entirely on physical fitness. Since then, wellness programs have evolved into holistic programs that include mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.

Today, good wellness programs not only encourage physical activity and healthy eating (which are great ways to prevent heart disease), but they often include mindfulness workshops, lunchtime yoga sessions, tobacco cessation programs, weight loss competitions, healthy living seminars, and health screenings. Wellness programs are now standard components of many corporate — large, mid-sized, and small — benefits packages.

When well executed, wellness programs offer workers incentives, tools, social support, and simple strategies for adopting and maintaining healthy behaviors. Furthermore, research shows that promoting healthy habits to employees and encouraging healthy behaviors through on-site fitness centers or gym memberships, lunchtime wellness programming, health-centered competitions, bike-to-work incentives, and mindfulness seminars are effective ways  to benefit both employer and employee.

1. Healthy, Happy Employees Incur Lower Health Costs

Lower health costs are mutually beneficial for employer and employee alike. Some companies even pass a percentage of health cost savings along to the employees as an incentive or use the savings to keep employee health insurance costs down.

“In a case study of large companies, total medical spending at a company with an employee wellness program experienced slower growth in health costs than companies without a program. Employees saw meaningful reductions in chronic disease risk factors; and average annual savings per employee were $565 (in 2009 dollars), producing a return on investment equal to a range of approximately $2 to $4 saved per dollar spent on the program” (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion).

2. Wellness Programs Improve Productivity

There appears to be a strong link between physical activity and cognitive benefits like memory and focus. A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that employees who participated in a health promotion program and improved their health care or lifestyle regained an average of 10.3 hours in additional productivity annually and saved their companies an average of $353 per person per year in productivity costs compared to non-participants.

Evidence also indicates that instituting workplace health programs can reduce the average number of sick days taken, health plan costs, and workers’ compensation and disability insurance costs by approximately 25%.

3. Wellness Programs Improve Employee Engagement

In a Humana-sponsored report, the Economist Intelligence Unit found that wellness programs help bring employer and employee priorities and goals into alignment. In fact, 69% of those surveyed agreed that health and wellness programs are important to their organization’s culture.

“They [wellness programs] increase employee engagement with the company’s mission and goals. Employees are also more likely to see their own wellness as being linked with professional success. Companies that build a wellness culture thus acquire a workforce that is not only more focused and engaged, but that sees that culture as benefiting their careers.”

If that’s not enough, there’s also strong evidence to suggest that wellness programs can lead to improved employee retention and productivity.

4. Employee Wellness Programs May Decrease Depression

Wellness programs aren’t just for the body, they’re for the mind and spirit, too. Holistic wellness programs can help alleviate depression and the symptoms of depression, leading to higher rates of overall work/life satisfaction.

An article published by the National Institutes of Health revealed that those in the wellness study’s intervention group (as compared to those in the control group) were a whopping 63% more likely to show a decrease in their Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) score.

Depression is the leading cause of presenteeism — poor employee performance — in the workplace. By decreasing BDI scores, employers can help their employees become happier and more productive.

5. Wellness Programs Inspire Healthy Behaviors and Reduce the Risk of Chronic Diseases

Making lasting changes to behaviors is challenging for many Americans, but workplace wellness programs can make a tremendous difference. Employers and employees can enjoy all the benefits that accompany healthy weight loss, including lower cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure levels, and more. Wellness programs can reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, or cardiac arrest, and in as little as six weeks, health risks could decline dramatically leading to a healthier, happier, and more productive workplace.

Please contact Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362 to learn more about our AED packages and our first aid, CPR, and AED training courses — all important components of company wellness programming! We also welcome your email queries; you can reach us at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

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Key Differences Between a Heart Attack, Sudden Cardiac Arrest, and a Stroke

Infographic: American Heart Association

Is it a Heart Attack, Sudden Cardiac Arrest, or a Stroke?

They’re all serious conditions that require immediate medical attention but many people don’t fully understand the differences between these three common killers. Simply put, a heart attack is a circulatory problem, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is an electrical malfunction in the heart, and a stroke is caused by a blood clot or ruptured blood vessel in the brain.  

In this article, we’ll help you understand what’s happening within the body during each of these medical emergencies.

Although the risk factors may be the same from person to person, understanding the differences between these conditions can be a matter of life and death.

What’s a Heart Attack?

Heart attacks are, essentially, a circulation problem and they occur when blood flow to a person’s heart is severely reduced or blocked. Heart attacks can be relatively mild or very, very serious.

During a heart attack, an artery becomes clogged and cannot carry enough oxygen to the heart. The heart may continue to beat normally but if the blockage is not quickly resolved, parts of the cardiac muscle will begin to die from lack of oxygen. The longer a heart attack goes on without treatment, the greater the damage to the muscle.

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

You may be able to prevent a heart attack from occurring if you know what to look for and you listen to your body! Symptoms can occur hours, days, and even weeks before the heart attack itself. The most common symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Pain or discomfort in the chest
  • Lightheadedness, nausea, or vomiting
  • Jaw, neck, or back pain
  • Discomfort or pain in arm or shoulder
  • Shortness of breath

It’s well worth noting that women may experience symptoms of a heart attack differently from men. Even though heart disease is the number-one killer of women in the United States, women often fail to identify their symptoms as warning signs of a heart attack (American Heart Association).

In addition to (or instead of) the symptoms listed above, women may experience pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, lightheadedness, fainting, flu-like symptoms or extreme fatigue.

What’s Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Cardiac arrest is an electrical problem and is caused when an individual’s heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating, which prevents blood and oxygen from flowing to vital organs. Unlike a heart attack, SCA is always serious. Without the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) to shock the heart back into a healthy rhythm, death can occur within minutes.

Symptoms of Cardiac Arrest

A heart attack often telegraphs its arrival with clearly defined symptoms, SCA, however, can occur with little or no warning, as it did for SCA survivor Rob Seymour. Symptoms are immediate and dire: sudden loss of consciousness/responsiveness, lack of breathing, and no pulse. During a cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating and the organs of the body are deprived of oxygen.

When the heart stops beating, death can occur within minutes.

SCA can be caused by any number of events, such as ventricular fibrillation, a sudden blow to the chest, electrocution, drowning, drug abuse, heart attacks, cardiomyopathy, or hypothermia. Cardiac arrest can be reversible if it’s treated in the first few minutes with CPR and by using an AED on the victim.

What’s a Stroke?

A stroke is a “brain attack” that can happen to anyone at any time and occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked by a clogged or burst blood vessel. When blood flow to the brain is cut off, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory and muscle control are permanently lost (National Stroke Association).

Symptoms of Stroke

Using the acronym FAST, you just may be able to save someone’s life. If someone’s face begins to droop or they’re complaining of numbness, ask them to smile. If the person’s smile is lopsided, they may be having a stroke. If their arm is weak or numb, ask them to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Is their speech slurred or strange? If someone is showing any of these symptoms, it’s time to call 9-1-1 immediately.

What You Can Do to Assist Someone Who is Experiencing a Heart Attack, SCA, or Having a Stroke?

If you witness someone suffering from a possible heart attack, SCA, or a stroke call 911 immediately. The operator may be able to help you administer compression-only CPR to the victim. If possible, ask a bystander to locate an AED.

You never know when your actions could help save a life.

To become better equipped to offer assistance, sign up for first aid, CPR, and AED training today! Cardio Partners offers CPR, First Aid, AED, and bloodborne pathogen training courses in all 50 states in traditional classroom settings and in blended learning courses. To learn more about our courses or to schedule a training, call our team at 866-349-4362 or email Cardio Partners at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

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