Tag Archives: Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness

5 Things You Need to Do After a Heart Attack or Cardiac Arrest

Tips for Maintaining Whole-Body Wellness After Heart Attack or Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Regular readers of this blog know that heart attacks and cardiac arrest are not the same; however, some may be surprised to learn that a heart attack may lead to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA.) In what seems like a cruel twist of fate, it’s not at all uncommon for SCA to follow a heart attack. The greatest risk of a post-heart attack SCA is during the first 30 days after a heart attack (Duke Clinical Research Institute). Take heart: in this post, we’ll share a few tips and resources so that you can get back to living your best life and reduce the risk of post heart attack cardiac arrest.

Find a Support Network

If you’re feeling worried and anxious after your cardiac event, take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. Many heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest survivors experience a host of emotions ranging from joyful gratitude to fear and trepidation. Life after a heart attack or SCA can be overwhelming, and for some may even feel uncertain.

It’s very common for heart attack and SCA survivors to experience anger, depression, denial, and anxiety. These feelings typically last for two to six months,and it’s important to recognize them and deal with them by seeking help. Your doctor should be able to recommend a mental health specialist who specializes in cardiac recovery. Let your loved ones know how you’re feeling, too. They can’t fully support you if they don’t know how you’re feeling.

For the first few weeks, it may be comforting to have someone nearby to help and support you. If you don’t have friends or loved ones who can stay with you, ask your care team to recommend resources near you. In the meantime, here are a few online resources to get you started:

Set Goals for Healthy Living

To minimize the risk of SCA or of having another heart attack — and to maximize your chances for a full recovery — it’s critically important to begin a regular fitness and activity routine as soon as possible. Be sure to consult with your physician before starting an exercise regime!

A few months ago we wrote a blog entitled 5 Strategies to Prevent Heart Disease, and while the strategies covered in the post are great for preventing a heart attack, they apply equally well to life after a cardiac event:

  • Eat a diet low in animal proteins, high in fiber, and rich with fruits vegetables.
  • If you’re overweight or obese, make a commitment to lose weight.
  • If you smoke, stop.
  • Develop a physician-approved exercise program.
  • Get plenty of rest.

“A healthy diet is one of the best weapons you have to fight cardiovascular disease. The food you eat (and the amount) can affect other controllable risk factors: cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and overweight. Choose nutrient-rich foods — which have vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients but are lower in calories — over nutrient-poor foods. Choose a diet that emphasizes intake of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains; includes low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, nontropical vegetable oils, and nuts; and limits intake of sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, and red meats” (American Heart Association).

Find a Cardiac Rehabilitation Program

The Cleveland Clinic writes, “Patients who join cardiac rehabilitation programs have a faster and safer recovery and better outcomes after a heart attack. It is important to follow your cardiac rehabilitation team’s instructions for activity. Everyone recovers at a different pace. This may be related to your activity level before your heart attack or the amount of damage to your heart muscle. It may take many months to develop the optimal exercise program.”

By joining an outpatient cardiac rehabilitation program, not only are you committing to your recovery and living a full life after your cardiac event, but you’ll be doing so with a community of survivors. Many rehab programs are covered by insurance.

Take it Slow

Remember, recovery’s not a race! Your heart, mind, and body will need time to heal. Start by walking and slowly and gradually increase your pace. You should have slightly increased breathing, but you should be able to carry on a conversation. If you’re short of breath, slow down! If you’re walking outside, walk with a partner and stick close to home.

Once you’ve build your resilience back up by walking, choose an activity that you enjoy such as biking, swimming, or water aerobics and work it into your daily routine. Of course, if you are experiencing excessive shortness of breath, chest pains, heart palpitations, dizziness, or chronic fatigue, stop exercising and call your doctor!

Invest in an AED

You’re a survivor, invest in your future. Contact Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362 to learn more about new or recertified AEDs for home use. We also welcome your emails; you can reach us at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

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Join Cardio Partners for the Great American Smokeout on November 15

Be inspired to quit. Make today the day for a healthier you.

Although the numbers of American adults who smoke recently hit its lowest point since the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) began tracking smoking statistics in 1965 (American Cancer Society), 34.3 million adults in the United States still smoked cigarettes in 2017 and 47.4 million people used some type of tobacco product. Cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the country. An estimated 480,000 American adults die from cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke exposure every year (American Cancer Society).

Cigarette smoking is a known risk factor for sudden cardiac death, and here at Cardio Partners and AED.com we’re all about reducing the number of Americans who die from cardiac arrest each year. Whether we accomplish that by advocating for CPR Training, AED Drills in schools, urging early screening for cardiovascular risk factors, or supporting great causes like the Great American Smokeout, we’re all in.

While the numbers are stunning and the health benefits are undeniable, statistics and scare tactics alone are rarely enough to convince a smoker to quit. Certainly, quitting smoking is the right move, but as any former smoker will tell you, it’s really hard to do.  

So make November 15 the day you do it. The Great American Smokeout is the perfect opportunity to seek the counseling and support you need to succeed. The American Cancer Society notes that finding the right support or getting help through medications may double or even triple your chance of quitting successfully.

Quitting Smoking is Hard. Make a Plan.

Nicotine addiction is one of the strongest and deadliest additions. Quitting smoking takes dedication, endurance, self-control, and perhaps most importantly, a plan. The American Cancer Society encourages smokers to speak to their pharmacist or physician to come up with a strategy that’s right for them based on their daily nicotine intake and lifestyle.

Find the Resources and Support that Work for You

Some may prefer to gradually taper off their cigarette intake while others may have a better chance for success by quitting cold turkey. Some may prefer to quit with a friend while others may prefer the help of an app. Regardless of your preferences, there’s plenty of research that shows that smokers are most successful in their cessation efforts when they have several different support options, such as:

How to Manage Cigarette Cravings

Even if you have a solid plan and you’ve discussed possible medications with your doctor, the urge to smoke can strike at any time. Resisting a powerful craving is one of the toughest things a smoker can do. Even former smokers with years of smoke-free anniversaries under their belts still do battle with cigarette cravings. We’ve polled a few former smokers and have put together a list of alternatives that have the stamp of approval from our team.

  • Go for a walk or run — and keep moving until the urge passes
  • Make a call to a local quitline
  • Try deep breathing or meditation
  • Call or text a friend
  • Think of all reasons why you quit in the first place
  • Remind yourself that you’ve come so far
  • Believe that you can resist the urge
  • Make an appointment with an acupuncturist
  • Chew gum
  • Pop a tart vitamin C drop into your mouth
  • Eat a crunchy, healthy fruit or vegetable snack
  • Reward yourself with a small treat for fending off a craving
  • Calculate how much money you’ve saved by not smoking
  • Make a playlist of your favorite songs and listen to it whenever a craving strikes
  • Stay busy
  • Go someplace (like a movie theater or restaurant) where smoking is prohibited
  • Distract yourself by doing a good deed (picking up litter, making a donation to your favorite charity)

We wish you good luck and strength in your quest to quit! Believe that you can, and you can do it. For more information on sudden cardiac arrest, AEDs, 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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How Obesity Plays a Deadly Role in Cardiac Arrest Among Young People

The Good News? Early Screening for Cardiovascular Risk Factors Can Save Lives.

We all know that being overweight or obese is bad for your health, but did you know the extent to which obesity and other risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol are linked to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in young people between the ages of five and 34?

A recent study conducted by Sumeet S. Chugh, MD, medical director of Cedars-Sinai’s Heart Rhythm Center in Los Angeles and a leader in sudden cardiac death research, found that easily identifiable cardiovascular risk factors were common in young people who suffer from cardiac arrest.

First, a quick word about SCA. Unlike a heart attack, which occurs when one or more coronary artery becomes blocked, SCA occurs when the heart stops beating, stopping the flow of blood to the brain and to other vital organs. SCA often occurs abruptly and without warning. If the heartbeat is not restored with an electrical shock, death follows within minutes. In fact, SCA accounts for more than 350,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. Cardiac arrest claims one life every 90 seconds and accounts for more deaths than colorectal cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, influenza, pneumonia, auto accidents, HIV, firearms, and house fires combined (Heart Rhythm Society).

Obesity can significantly increase the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure, and all three of these conditions are closely connected with heart disease. In fact, Science Daily reports that being overweight or obese increases a person’s risk of coronary heart disease by up to 28% compared to those with a healthy body weight, even if they have healthy blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels!

We recently investigated What Causes Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Young People and found that although causes of SCA in children and young adults vary, death is often a result of genetic heart abnormalities, structural abnormalities, or commotio cordis caused by athletic activity. However, researchers at Cedars-Sinai have discovered that obesity and other common (and often preventable) cardiovascular risk factors may play a much greater role in SCA in children and younger people than previously known.

Obesity, Other Risks Play Large Role in Sudden Cardiac Arrest Among the Young,” an article published by the hospital about Dr. Chugh’s study, notes that “Combinations of obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking were found in nearly 60 percent of cases studied. The findings shed light on a public health problem among the young that has remained largely unsolved.”

“One of the revelations of this study is that risk factors such as obesity may play a much larger role for the young people who die from sudden cardiac arrest than previously known,” said Dr. Chugh.

The comprehensive 16-hospital, multiyear assessment was conducted as part of the Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study.  The study was partially funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Routine Preventative Visits May Reduce Cardiovascular Risk

In the article, Dr. Chugh suggests extending prevention efforts (such as offering resources for smoking cessation programs, sharing exercise guidelines, and tips for healthy eating) to include routine preventive screenings for children and young adults. This addition could help reduce cardiovascular risk.

“The added benefit of such screenings is that early efforts to reduce cardiovascular risk are known to translate into reduction of adult cardiovascular disease,” he said.

These visits, typically covered at no charge by health insurance providers (healthcare.gov), usually include screenings, checkups, and counseling. The goal of these visits is to help prevent health problems before a young person at risk for sudden cardiac arrest experiences any symptoms. By reducing known risk factors for cardiovascular disease, we may simultaneously lower the number of deaths caused by cardiac arrest.

We hope you’ll visit our blog in the coming weeks for more information on smoking cessation and for strategies to prevent heart disease. In the meantime, if you’re thinking about purchasing a new or recertified AED for your home or workplace, or you’d like to schedule AED training or maintenance, visit AED.com or call Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362. We also welcome your emails, you can reach us at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

 

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