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Monthly Archives: December 2015

  • Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease

    Cardiovascular Disease is the number one cause of preventable death in the US... you can help prevent your own demise if you shape up and live healthier beginning today.

    Cardiovascular disease, which includes heart attack and stroke, kills more people than anything else on the planet. Risk Factors are factors that affect our chances of having cardiovascular disease.  The three main categories are: Controllable Risk Factors, Non-Controllable Risk Factors, and Contributing, or Other Risk Factors. “Contributing” Risk Factors include Diabetes, Obesity, and Stress. Controllable Risk Factors include Smoking, Diet, Exercise, and High Blood Pressure, and finally, the Non-Controllable Risk Factors, which include Heredity, Gender, and Age.  Let’s begin by discussing the Controllable Factors.

    Smoking

    It should be no surprise to most people that smoking is bad for your health. Most people are aware of lung cancer and emphysema, but you should be aware that smoking is one of the leading causes of heart attacks as well. Cigarette smoke contains chemicals which, when ignited and inhaled, affect the body’s lungs, circulatory system, and ultimately the heart itself. One of these chemicals is nicotine.  Nicotine is highly addictive; it’s the stuff that keeps you coming back for more.  But it’s also a vasoconstrictor, which means it tightens the walls of the blood vessels.  In the case of smaller blood vessels, nicotine may constrict them to the point of complete occlusion, and the largest collection of these small blood vessels in your body is the neural network of your brain. Upon inhalation, nicotine enters the bloodstream and begins constricting blood vessels. This may even create the temporary light-headed sensation associated with asphyxiation.

    Even worse than nicotine, however, is a chemical asphyxiant known as Carbon Monoxide (CO). CO is the same stuff that comes out of the tailpipe of a car, and it is an extremely dangerous chemical.  CO attacks the red blood cells of your body, robbing them of the oxygen you have already breathed in.  Every cell in your body needs oxygen in order to survive.  Red Blood Cells (RBC) are like a bus that delivers the oxygen.  There are receptor sites on the RBC called hemoglobin, which are like seats on the bus.  When the RBC’s arrive at the lungs, they are surrounded by oxygen, and if an oxygen molecule bumps up against the hemoglobin, it will become attached.  Ultimately, a healthy RBC will have all of its “seats” filled with oxygen.  Unfortunately, hemoglobin also likes to attach to CO.  In fact, it has a 250 times greater affinity for CO than for oxygen, and CO will push the oxygen out of its way to take its spot on the RBC.  This means that moments after cigarette smoke enters the lungs, millions of RBC’s are becoming depleted of the very oxygen than they’re designed to carry.  When these RBC’s circulate through the body, they begin to run out of oxygen prematurely.  Cold fingers and toes are just some of the symptoms of a condition known as “Peripheral Vascular Disease.”  These areas become cold because the circulatory system has begun to shut down as the cells begin to die.

    Another hazard of smoking (and chewing tobacco) is the creation of blood clots.  With the introduction of these various chemicals into the bloodstream, the RBCs begin to clump together forming what’s known as a thrombus.  If this thrombus begins moving through the bloodstream, it is called an embolus. An embolus that becomes lodged in a smaller blood vessel, blocking the blood flow to an area of the body is called an embolism, and is just about the most dangerous thing you can have in your body.  These blood clots can escape the scrutiny of an x-ray, and you may never even know they exist until one becomes lodged in an artery leading to the heart (causing heart attack) or the brain (causing a stroke). They can happen at any time, with no warning, and at any age.

    Diet

    Let’s move on to something a little less frightening.

    What did you all have for breakfast this morning?

    If you’re like me, you had a good, balanced meal including all the necessary food groups: eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits & gravy, hash browns, a glass of whole milk and a stick of butter. What I’m  describing is also called Saturated Fat. It comes from animal products and is naturally broken down in your liver. In fact, your liver would get right to work on a breakfast like this and probably have it completely processed by sometime next Thursday.  Now, if you don’t eat any more saturated fat until next Thursday, you’ve got no problems.  But most of us don’t wait a week between meals; we wait about three hours and then you’ll find us eating a Super Bacon-Cheeseburger with fries and a shake for lunch.  Saturated fat is a long-chain fat that is difficult and time consuming to digest.  The problem is not that we EAT the fat, but that we eat TOO MUCH FAT.  When this fat tries to go to the liver, it may find that there is no room.  It can’t wait in the stomach, so it waits in the bloodstream, which can become “milky” with fatty residue.  The longer this saturated fat circulates through your bloodstream, the more likely it is to begin sticking to the interior walls of the arteries.  This dangerous condition is known as atherosclerosis.  Gradually, the walls of the arteries close in, blocking blood flow, and causing such life threatening conditions as heart attack and stroke.

    Exercise

    The best type of exercise for good heart health is called Aerobic exercise.  Aerobic exercise is any activity that causes your heart and breathing rates to increase for sustained periods of time.  Examples of aerobic activity include running, walking, bicycling, hiking, swimming, or sports like tennis, soccer, or basketball.  This kind of activity can strengthen your heart; it can help improve circulation, occasionally even creating new blood vessels, and even helps to lower blood pressure.  A good aerobic exercise program, combined with a healthy diet can help to decrease the chances of a heart attack.  If a person still has High Blood Pressure, even after the modification of their smoking, diet, and exercise levels, they should see a doctor for prescribed blood pressure medications that are readily available.

    Heredity

    In the next column, of your student handbook, we have the Non Controllable risk factors.  Heredity, for example, is something we have no control over.  If everyone in your family has had a heart attack, you may have an increased risk of having one yourself.  This is not a guarantee, it has more to do with the odds, and the odds become greatly increased with each successive risk factor.  A person with two risk factors is about 10 times more likely to have a cardiovascular disease than an individual with only one risk factor, and an individual with three risk factors is 100 times more likely.  As you can see, they add up quite rapidly.

    Gender

    Another Non Controllable risk factor is Gender.  Women are at lower risk than men in this category because women produce more Estrogen.  Estrogen is a hormone which allows a women’s arteries to dilate, or expand when necessary, to allow the free passage of blood.  This keeps women’s blood pressure typically ten points lower than a man’s. This hormone can keep women healthy, but it does not last forever.  With the onset of menopause, a woman’s estrogen level will begin to diminish.  For a period of ten years following menopause there will be a gradual increase in the level of heart attack risk for women until they reach the same risk level as men. One alternative for women is the introduction of HRT, or Hormone Replacement Therapy, which has had some good results for many post-menopausal women.

    Age

    The last aspect of our list of Non Controllable risk factors is Age. We cannot control how old we get, but we can help to control how healthy we are when we get there.  Older people traditionally have a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease than younger people do.  Often, this is because of the accumulated effects of Controllable risk factors. These factors add up over time, creating problems, as we get older.  By stopping or slowing our smoking, or by increasing our daily exercise level we may decrease our overall heart attack risk significantly over time.  By cutting our fat intake by as little as 5 grams a day, you can make a lasting difference… it may not matter today or tomorrow, but over time it can add up.

  • New Year's Eve

    The end of another great year!

    This year brought renewed interest in lifesaving, economic growth, and brilliant advances in health and science technologies!

    Here we are at the last day of the year… make it count... wrap up everything open, tidy up your desk, your email, your tasks, your car, your home, your life so you are ready to plunge into 2016 head first!ACT2016

  • It’s Still Not Too Late to Get Your Flu Vaccine

    Flu-VaccineNoticing people around work are getting the "bug"? You meant to get vaccinated in the fall to ward off the flu, but somehow didn’t get around to it? Think it’s too late to get vaccinated now?

    Not so.

    According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), vaccinations can be protective as long as flu viruses are circulating. And although seasonal flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, flu activity usually peaks in January or February, and can last well into May.

    Why a new vaccine?

    According to Marion Gruber, Ph.D., director of FDA’s Office of Vaccine Research and Review, there are several reasons that new vaccines must be manufactured each year.

    “Influenza viruses can change from year to year, due to different subtypes and strains that circulate each year,” says Gruber. A vaccine is needed that includes virus strains that most closely match those in circulation, and the protection provided by the previous year’s vaccine will diminish over time.

  • 'Tis the Season - for Heart Attacks

    In the United States, there are greater than 50 percent more heart attacks in winter months than in summer months, and it's mostly about stress and diet.

    According to results gathered by the Second National Registry of Myocardial Infarction (heart attacks), winter was the top season for heart attacks, followed by fall, then spring, then summer. The December issue of the Harvard Men's Health Watch looks at potential causes for this seasonal trend.

    SnowflakeLeading causes?

    In the cold, blood vessels constrict to help conserve body heat. Narrowed vessels also mean higher blood pressure, which puts additional strain on the heart.

    In colder climates, people tend to exercise less when temperatures dip and snow and ice are common. Another weather related problem: snow shoveling. Snow shoveling is heavy exercise that can tax the heart of those who aren't normally active.

    Studies show that cholesterol levels peak in the winter months.

    A high-fat holiday meal can interfere with relaxation of the arteries and may also activate the clotting system, which can spell trouble for people with coronary artery disease. Also, excess alcohol intake can increase blood pressure and contribute to heart rhythm abnormalities.

    Despite its reputation as joyous time, many people feel depressed or overly stressed during the holiday season. Depression and stress are associated with a higher risk of heart attack.

    Learn CPR Now! Learn CPR Now!

    The Harvard Men's Health Watch reminds men to keep warm and shovel snow with extreme care, or pay someone to do it. Avoid overindulging during the holidays, and reduce stress by seeking comforting social connections during this busy time of year.

    The Harvard Men's Health Watch is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of the Harvard Medical School, for $24 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/men or by calling 1-877-649-9457 toll-free.

  • A Severe Winter Storm Can Knock Out Power to Your Home

    Power Through an Outage... we explained that Blackouts and Power Outages are the most common emergency - are you ready?

    Since you can’t predict how long a power outage will last, you should plan to live without electricity for at least three days.

    Now that winter is here, preparation is necessary to stay safe!

    Tips to prepare your family for a power outage:
    4 n 1 Dynamo 3 LED Flashlight w/ Phone Charger - Mayday

    • Have an emergency supply kit that includes an alternative cell phone charger, a manual can opener, cash, a NOAA weather radio, and a warm blanket for each person;
    • Make a family emergency communication plan;
    • Keep your car tank at least half full because gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps;
    • Put thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer to monitor food temperature; and
    • Get battery back-up for medical or assistive devices that require power.

    During a power outage, it is important to remember:
    • Use only flashlights or emergency lighting, NEVER use candles due to fire hazard;
    • Conserve your cell phone battery, only use your phone for life-threatening situations;
    • Put on layers of warm clothing; and
    • Don't use your oven as a heating source.

  • Winter Driving

    Winter is upon us, and the season is already proving more "Wintery" than most - even surprising more temperate regions with cold winds, unusual rainfall, and winter  driving conditions.

    Our top -of-the-line Automotive Survival Kits, Roadside Emergency Kits, and Auto Emergency Supplies for Auto are designed to help when stranded on the road, help signal on coming drivers, signal oncoming drivers, pump up tires, check tire pressure, charge batteries, and in general be prepared for auto emergencies. Coming with all the types of auto emergency supplies you can think of including first aid kits, we make sure you are prepared for anything the long open road can throw at you.

    Driving to work is what a majority of us do everyday whether rain sleet or shine. Over time though we are all guilty of being a bit lazy when it comes to driving safety. Each year, traffic accidents claim over 30,000 lives and cause more than a million serious injuries. In fact, motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death on the job. Our training products on Driving Safety provide the information employees need to drive cars, vans and small trucks safely, both on and off the job. Topics covered in these products include: Inspecting the vehicle, adjusting seats, mirrors and other equipment, wearing seat belts, mental preparation and concentration, creating a safety cushion around your vehicle, passing another vehicle and much more. Learn more about Driving Safety.

    Winter weather calls for different driving techniques. While you may know how to drive safely in common weather, surprise road conditions bring other risks and what may be best practices in dry or sunny weather could be the worst safety risk when the roads are slippery, wet, icy, or covered in storm debris. Follow these tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to stay safe on the road, including:

    • - Slow down for winter driving conditions, regardless of the vehicle you drive;
    • - Leave plenty of room between your vehicle and others; and
    • - Avoid using cruise control in winter driving conditions.
    Try the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration interactive guide online. Try the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration interactive guide online.
  • We Wish you the Merriest & a Special Gift for YOU to Give

    Merry Christmas to all our Readers...

    We hope you have a beautiful day and share our deepest wish that wherever you may learn, you all have the knowledge, the courage, and the willingness to step in and save a life when needed. 80% of all bystander lifesaving skills are performed on a loved one  be ready for yours!

    Holiday Lights

  • Our Free Gift to YOU! (Share this with your Friends & Family!)

    Tomorrow is Christmas, a time of giving... we've got something to share with you and your friends and family!

    Watch our FREE 22 minute video to teach some basic first aid skills and how to use those funny items you'll find in a First Aid Kit.

    HOW TO USE A FIRST AID KIT: WHAT YOUR FIRST AID COURSE DIDN'T TEACH YOU

    Watch this FREE 22 minute First Aid Video from American CPR Training™ Watch this FREE 22 minute First Aid Video from American CPR Training™
  • Old Fashioned Holiday in a New Fangled Way: Watch the Video!

    We told you we were going on a surprise trip (well, not a "surprise" in that we knew we were going, but a "surprise" in that we knew not where we were headed.)

    We came, we boarded - and off we went! 30 people, 2 days and oh so much fun! 5 destination/events in 2 days. We saw Danish, German, and Silver-Screen classic Christmas... all new to us, but around for a Century. Who would have guessed all this was here in Southern California? (not to mention a beautiful coastal drive, but that we knew existed here, just most of us had never seen these parts of the coast.)

    Watch us as we journey through fun and silliness, and receive our thanks from the Organization for a long year of lifesaving efforts:Mystery-Tour

  • Be Winter Ready

    Today is the Winter Solstice - All indicators are that this is going to be a bone-chilling Winter.

    Are you ready?

    Here's a great free infographic from the CDC- print and share!

    Winter-BeReady

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