What is heart disease?
Your heart is a muscle that gets energy from blood carrying oxygen and nutrients. Having a constant supply of blood keeps your heart working properly. Most people think of heart disease as one condition. But in fact, heart disease is a group of conditions affecting the structure and functions of the heart and has many root causes. Coronary artery disease, for example, develops when a combination of fatty materials, calcium and scar tissue (called plaque) builds up in the arteries that supply blood to your heart (coronary arteries). The plaque build-up narrows the arteries and prevents the heart from getting enough blood.
Heart disease is preventable and manageable.
Your best defense is controlling the risk factors that could lead to coronary artery disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, stress, excessive alcohol consumption, physical inactivity and being overweight.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a heart condition, there are treatments to help you manage your illness. You can further reduce your risk by considering these heart-healthy steps:
• Be smoke-free.
• Be physically active.
• Know and control your blood pressure.
• Eat a healthy diet that is lower in fat, especially saturated and trans fat.
• Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
• Manage your diabetes.
• Limit alcohol use.
• Reduce stress.
• Visit your doctor regularly and follow your doctor’s advice.
Heart attack warning signs
Thousands of Canadians die from heart attacks every year because they don’t receive medical treatment quickly enough. Learn to recognize the signs of a heart attack so you can react quickly to save a life.
• Chest discomfort (uncomfortable chest pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain, burning or heaviness)
• Discomfort in other areas of the upper body (neck, jaw, shoulder, arms, back)
• Shortness of breath
If you are experiencing any of these signs, you should:
• CALL 9-1-1 or activate the Site Emergency Medical Team – SAFETY HUTCH INC, or have someone call for you. Keep a list of emergency numbers near the phone at all times.
• Stop all activity and sit or lie down, in whatever position is most comfortable.
• If you take nitroglycerin, take your normal dosage.
• If you are experiencing chest pain, chew and swallow one adult 325 mg tablet or two 80 mg tablets of ASA (acetylsalicylic acid, commonly referred to as Aspirin®). Pain medicines such as acetaminophen (commonly known as Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (commonly known as Advil®) do not work the same way as ASA (Aspirin) and therefore will not help in the emergency situation described above.
• Rest comfortably and wait for an ambulance with emergency medical personnel to arrive.
Heart disease prevention
Risk factors you can do something about:
• High blood pressure (hypertension)
• High blood cholesterol
• Being overweight
• Excessive alcohol consumption
• Physical inactivity
Risk factors you cannot control:
• Family History
• History of stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack)
CPR and emergency care
Cardiac arrest is a medical emergency causing death if not treated immediately. Most cardiac arrests occur in homes and public places. If someone has collapsed and is unresponsive, you may be able to help save a life by calling 9-1-1 or your Site Emergency Medical Team – SAFETY HUTCH INC, and performing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) if one is available.
Cardiac arrest is a medical emergency. Cardiac refers to the heart. Arrest means stop. Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating.
Cardiac arrest is not the same as heart attack. A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to the heart is slowed or stopped because of a blockage. In the case of a heart attack, the heart continues to beat.
Cardiac arrest may have a variety of causes including heart disease, drowning, stroke, electrocution, suffocation, drug overdose or injury.
Signs of a cardiac arrest include:
• sudden collapse
• sudden unresponsiveness to touch or sound and
• abnormal or no breathing. CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) is an emergency procedure that can restore blood flow to someone suffering cardiac arrest, keeping the victim alive until advanced medical care arrives.
An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a device that can check heart rhythms and deliver an electrical shock to restore its natural rhythms when needed.
When the heart stops beating in cardiac arrest, it no longer pumps blood to the body. The brain and organs can be seriously damaged without oxygen and nutrients from blood and the person can die within minutes if not treated immediately. CPR can help maintain blood flow and ventilation in a victim of cardiac arrest for a short period.
Arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) such as ventricular fibrillation cause most cardiac arrests. Using an AED can restore the heart’s normal rhythm in the event of cardiac arrest.
What can you do?
Most cardiac arrests occur in homes and public places, and many are witnessed by a family member, co-worker or friend. The survival rate of cardiac arrest outside a hospital is very low. Performing CPR and using an AED before Emergency Medical Services arrive can increase the chance of survival by up to 75%. AEDs are safe and easy to use. SAFETY HUTCH INC urges anyone in close contact with those at high-risk of cardiac arrest to become trained in the use of AEDs.
If you are with an adult who has a cardiac arrest:
Yell for help
• Tell someone to call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number and get an AED (if one is available).
• If you are alone, call 9-1-1 and get an AED (if one is available).
• If the person isn’t breathing or is only gasping, give CPR.
Push hard and push fast
• Use an AED as soon as it arrives by turning it on and following the prompts.
• Keep pushing until the person starts to breathe or move or someone with more advanced training takes over.
Be prepared and trained because you never know when you could make a difference in someone’s life. Contact SAFETY HUTCH for further information.