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Hello, and welcome. My name is ________, and I’m a volunteer with the American Heart Association.
Today I’m going to cover these five points. (Motion to screen where learning objectives are displayed)
David’s not alone by any means. Here are some statistics that show how widespread and serious heart and blood vessel diseases are. Cardiovascular diseases are heart and blood vessel diseases. They include heart attack, cardiac arrest and stroke. Other cardiovascular diseases include high blood pressure, heart failure and congenital heart defects. We’ll focus on heart attack and cardiac arrest today. To understand events like heart attack and cardiac arrest, you first need to know how the heart works. Let’s talk about that now.
The heart pumps blood to all parts of the body. It brings oxygen and nutrients to the body’s cells. The heart muscle gets the oxygenated blood it needs from the coronary arteries, which wrap around the outside of the heart. The heart pumps because its natural pacemaker, called the sinus node, sends an electrical signal that goes from the top of the heart to the bottom. The pacemaker works like a battery, and the electrical impulses flow down paths that act like wires. Electrical impulses make the heart contract, which pumps out the blood. You need a pumping heart to stay alive. Without oxygen, cells start to die. A person can only live a few minutes without oxygen before irreversible brain injury and death occur.
Heart and blood vessel problems develop over time. Plaque is a deposit of cells, fat and cholesterol that can build up in artery walls. These fatty buildups can mean that less blood flows to the heart. This can cause chest pain called angina pectoris. If the plaque splits open, a clot can form and narrow or close part of the artery. Then part of the heart doesn’t get the blood it needs and starts to die. This is a heart attack -- and it’s an emergency.
A heart attack can cause the electrical signals from the pacemaker to go haywire, or the electrical system can go crazy on its own. When this happens, the signals often come too fast, and the heart’s lower chambers start quivering instead of beating and can’t pump blood. This is called ventricular fibrillation. You may know it as cardiac arrest, and it’s an emergency. Let me talk first about heart attack, then I’ll talk about cardiac arrest.
Heart attacks are common — and deadly. That’s why it’s so important to know the warning signs.
These are two warning signs of heart attack.
These are also heart attack warning signs. If you or someone you’re with ever has heart attack warning signs, respond immediately. Don’t wait — call 9-1-1. Sometimes the signs go away and come back, or only some signs are present. If you have any of these signs and they last for more than a few minutes, get help fast. Call 9-1-1 immediately. Don’t call family, friends, neighbors or even a doctor. Call 9-1-1! A heart attack is an emergency, and it’s important to respond as quickly as possible. In fact, it’s a matter of life and death! If you don’t believe me, just ask someone who’s had one.
Many people expect a heart attack to be sudden and intense, a crushing chest pain that knocks them to the floor. But often heart attacks begin with vague symptoms that slowly intensify. The pain or discomfort can be relatively mild, and the symptoms may come and go. Because of this, many people aren’t sure if they’re having a heart attack or resist believing it, so they wait. They may think their symptoms are due to another disease or condition. Others are afraid of causing a scene or are afraid of how embarrassed they’d be if it was a false alarm. Still others don’t realize the urgent need to get to a hospital fast. A final mistake that people make is not knowing to call 9-1-1 … or trying to go to the hospital themselves rather than calling 9-1-1. Don’t you make these mistakes.
I can’t emphasize strongly enough the importance of calling 9-1-1. There are good reasons for that.
Unless you have no other option, you should always call 9-1-1 in a cardiac emergency. And don’t delay. Calling 9-1-1 is the best way to get the help you need quickly.
With each passing minute, more heart muscle dies. And dead heart muscle can’t be restored. That’s why getting quick treatment is so important.
Today, thanks to research, we have many options we didn’t have before. These options can prevent more damage from occurring, but they can’t undo damage that’s already been done. That’s why quick action is so important. It minimizes damage to the heart. Now let’s talk about cardiac arrest. I’ll start with some statistics.
What do you think about this? Pretty frightening, huh? These are staggering statistics, but they don’t have to be so grim. Many of these people could be saved if they got the right kind of help quickly.
Cardiac arrest strikes immediately and without warning. The first sign is often that the victim collapses and is unconscious.
Saving the life of a cardiac arrest victim requires a four-step process called the chain of survival. These are the steps. Early access means that people recognize a cardiovascular emergency and immediately call 9-1-1. Early CPR means CPR is given quickly and properly when it’s needed. The mouth-to-mouth breathing and chest compressions keep blood and oxygen circulating, which buys time until defibrillation can occur. Early defibrillation means having immediate access to an automated external defibrillator. This allows trained rescuers to shock a victim’s heart so it can resume a normal rhythm. Early advanced care means having qualified paramedics with up-to-date Advanced Cardiac Life Support training. They can stabilize patients.
Cardiac arrest is an extreme emergency. Every second counts! With each minute that passes, a victim’s chances of survival drop by 7 to 10 percent. That’s why it’s so important to respond promptly and properly. A moment ago I showed a slide that said that only 5 percent of cardiac arrest victims survived. Experts believe that with a good chain of survival in place, we could save not 5 percent, but 20 percent of victims or more. That’s thousands of lives a year. If you’ve never taken a CPR course, I urge you to do so. If you’ve taken one but it’s been more than two years ago, take one to refresh your skills. The American Heart Association offers CPR courses, including some that teach you how to use an AED. See the handout for information on our courses. Speaker: Include handout on local course offerings and the numbers to call to sign up.
Who’s at risk of heart attack and cardiac arrest? You are! Someone suffers a first heart attack every minute. Someone dies of one every three minutes. No one is safe. People think heart disease is a man’s disease because it tends to strike men earlier in life … but women account for half of all heart attack deaths. People think only older people have it … but it strikes people of all ages. In fact, just look at this…
As you can see, people in every racial and ethnic group are victims. African Americans — both men and women — are at particularly high risk.
Risk factors are the factors that increase the odds that you’ll have heart disease. The more risk factors you have, the higher your risk. Some risk factors you can’t control, but others you can.
These are risk factors you can’t control. If you have some of these risk factors, it’s even more important to control the risk factors that you can do something about.
These are the risk factors that you can control. By changing your lifestyle, you may be able to eliminate or reduce them. Other factors not shown here — but that may also contribute to risk — are drinking too much alcohol, drug abuse and stress. Let’s look at each of these listed risk factors individually.
The first step in reducing your risk is to know your numbers. Here’s a quick guide.
Smoking is the first risk factor I want to talk about. The U.S. Surgeon General says that cigarette smoking is the No. 1 preventable cause of death in the United States. Secondhand smoke is also deadly. In fact, each year about 35,000 nonsmokers die from coronary heart disease from breathing other people’s tobacco smoke. If you smoke, quit. I know it’s hard, but do it anyway for yourself and your family. If you quit and have a relapse, don’t give up. Many people try to quit several times before they’re successful. Every day smokers become nonsmokers. You can, too. If you don’t smoke, don’t start, and avoid breathing other people’s smoke. Speaker: Consider offering a handout or source of local smoking cessation programs.
Blood pressure is the force of the blood against your arteries. The top, higher number is the systolic pressure. It’s the force against the arteries when the heart beats. The other number is the diastolic pressure. It’s the force when the heart is at rest. Higher numbers mean the heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout the body. That makes the heart and arteries more prone to injury. High blood pressure has no symptoms, but it’s very serious. It increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney failure and eye damage. African Americans are at particularly high risk of high blood pressure. How many of you know what your blood pressure is? Let’s see your hands. (See response) It’s important to know your blood pressure. You should have it tested about once a year.
Here are some tips for controlling blood pressure. If you take blood pressure medicine and have side effects, tell your doctor. Don’t just stop taking your medicine. You and your doctor need to work together to find a medicine -- or combination of medicines -- that works for you. If you don’t take your medicine and don’t control your blood pressure, you are at higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
You also need to know your cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a fatty material; your body makes some of it and you also get it from foods from animals like meats and dairy products. Cholesterol is carried in your blood. If you have too much cholesterol, it tends to build up in artery walls as plaque deposits, increasing your risk of heart attack. You should have your cholesterol tested every five years, and more often if your levels are high. There are different types of cholesterol that are measured. Let’s look at each of them now.
These are the numbers for total cholesterol. As you can see, a lower total cholesterol number is better. The risk of heart attack is about twice as high for someone with cholesterol of 240 as it is for someone whose level is below 200.
HDL is the good cholesterol — it helps keep arteries clear of fatty deposits. One way to raise your HDL cholesterol level is by being physically active.
LDL cholesterol is the bad cholesterol. It tends to build up in artery walls, forming plaque deposits that increase the risk of heart attack.
Triglycerides are another type of fat in the blood. High triglycerides are linked with coronary artery disease in some people.
I want to give each of you a copy of the American Heart Association Eating Plan for Healthy Americans. It’s an excellent reference for healthy eating. Speaker: Make sure the booklet is available to distribute.
Physical inactivity is another risk factor for heart disease. Being active helps cut your risk. Moderate activities include walking, gardening, yard work, dancing, taking the stairs, playing with kids, housework and washing the car. Vigorous activities might include brisk walking, hiking, jogging, bicycling, swimming, roller skating or jumping rope. If you’re middle-aged or older and haven’t been active, talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise will help you lose weight or stay at a healthy weight. The numbers on the screen are for your natural waist size (measured a little above your navel), not your pant size.
Diabetes is the inability of the body to properly use glucose (blood sugar) or the lack of insulin. Insulin is what converts sugar and starch into the energy needed for daily life. Diabetes greatly increases your risk of developing heart and blood vessel diseases. In fact, two-thirds to three-quarters of people with diabetes die of cardiovascular disease. If you have diabetes, it’s very important to follow your doctor’s advice and control any other risk factors you have.
It’s never too late to start reducing your risk of heart disease. So why not start now?
Learn your family history. Ask family members about their health. Focus on your parents and brothers and sisters first. Next, ask your grandparents, aunts and uncles. Is there a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or stroke? Make sure to share this information with your doctor. See your doctor regularly. Do you remember your risk factors? Tobacco smoke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, obesity and diabetes. You have the power to control these risk factors … if you want to. I hope you will. You also know the warning signs, so you know what to do if a heart attack or cardiac arrest happens. To be even more prepared, I urge all of you to take a CPR course.
If you want to learn more about heart disease, stroke, risk factors or other cardiovascular information, please call our Call Center or visit our Web site. We have lots of information to help you find out what you want to know.
That’s the end of my presentation. If you have questions, I’d be glad to answer them. Thank you all for your time.