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Communication! Communication! Communication!

signs of stroke

 

There are many signs of a stroke you can watch out for. When a person is suffering from a stroke, communication with the hospital is essential.  If the EMT’s will warn the hospital that a stroke patient is en route, the hospital can be prepared when they arrive.  This small step can save so much time which can change the outcome of the stroke damage.  Truth is, EMT’s fail to do this simple yet vital step over 1/3 of the time and don’t notify the hospital when they see signs of a stroke.  Simply having the hospital ready for evaluation and treatment can change the outcome.

“Pre-notification was independently associated with better treatment times:

  • arrival-to-imaging times of 25 minutes or less,
  • arrival-to-treatment with the clot-busting drug tPA within 60 minutes,
  • symptom onset-to-tPA treatment times of 120 minutes or less,
  • and more eligible patients treated with tPA.”

This notification is especially critical if the patient is suffering from a stroke called ischemia; when a blood clot cuts off oxygen to the brain.  Clot busting medications can only be given within a 3 to 4.5 hour time frame.

National guidelines do recommend that these steps of communication are followed, but little change has been made.  If word spreads and EMT’s are knowledgeable of this vital communication step, there are significant positive results.  For example:

“Among patients arriving within two hours of symptom onset, patients with EMS pre-notification were more likely to:

  • be treated with tPA within three hours (82.8 percent vs. 79.2 percent);
  • have shorter arrival-to-imaging times (26 minutes vs. 31 minutes);
  • have shorter arrival-to-tPA treatment times (78 minutes vs. 80 minutes); and
  • have shorter symptom onset-to-tPA treatment times (141 minutes vs. 145 minutes).”

To see a map of rates to identify where communication needs to be improved go see the article referring to this problem written by the American Heart Association.
If EMT’s are aware of this problem, I believe that they will do everything possible to help their patients.  They are hero’s after all!
Have a Heart Healthy Day!
Kristi Krouse

Swimming makes my heart pitter-patter!

We all know that swimming for exercise is great to burn calories and great cardiovascular exercise; but how great is it?  How does it compare to the weight loss go-to…running.  I have to admit I was surprised.

For me personally, I run because it burns calories to keep my clothes fitting.  Not because I love feeling the pavement under my feet or   the sweat running down my back.  Swimming though…I love swimming!  It is relaxing, calming, and you don’t feel so nasty and sweaty afterwards.   Every time I decide I am gonna use my time at the gym swimming, I feel like I am indulging and then feel guilty that I did not run off 400 calories on the treadmill.  Well, that is all gone now!

Why is swimming so amazing?

Swimming works your cardiovascular system and therefore makes your body more efficient at using oxygen…which makes your heart work easier.   As you get better and can swim longer your resting heart rate will get better too!    When you are swimming you are working every single muscle which will tone and strengthen your muscles.   There is also a low risk of injury because you are not straining joint or ligaments.   Not to mention the healing properties that water seems to give.  But this tops the cake!  Did you know…and I admit I did not.   Swimming can burn the same amount of calories that running at 6 mph!  SERIOUSLY!  On a great day I run 9 or 10 mph…and that’s bookin it :).

For me, swimming is now a huge part of  my workout routine!  I would love to hear your swimming experiences!

Have a Heart Healthy Day!

Kristi Krouse

The Ups and Downs of Arrhythmia

heart arrhythmiaFirst, what is a heart arrhythmia?

The heart has a perfect beat, not to fast, not to slow…if it wavers off, it is considered an arrhythmia; simple as that!  There are different kinds of arrhythmia’s, but lets keep it simple.

–  Tachycardia: heart is to fast.

–  Bradycardia: heart is to slow.

Arrhythmia’s are then identified by where they are happening in the heart; atria or ventricles.

You can have an atrial or ventricular arrhythmia.

Don’t get me wrong, this is very simplified, there are many other layers, but this is the basics.

Now, why does all of this matter?

Well, when your heart is not working correctly oxygen is not pumped to your major organs such as your brain.  This is when a condition with such a crazy name becomes as simple as life or death.    So how do we know if we are at risk of having a heart arrhythmia that will challenge your health?

A heart attack is the most important factor making someone a prone suspect.

If you have suffered a heart attack you are probably under doctor care and have regular EKG’s to monitor your heart.  But what if you have not had such a severe warning, what are some signs or symptoms?

–  fainting or dizziness

–  dificulty breathing

–  fatigue

–  “fluttering heart” feeling

–  flopping in your chest

–  thumping in your chest

–  chest pain

These are just a few, and if you suspect any of them, please seek medical help to begin monitoring your health.  There are many ways to treat and manage an arrhythmia.  Some are medications, pacemakers and keeping a record of your pulse.  Above all when in doubt follow your gut and see your doctor…then follow his/her advice.

Have a Heart Healthy Day!

Kristi Krouse

 

CPR Stats

Everyone can and should learn CPR; I think most everyone agrees with me on this one.  But did you know that most CPR statistics say 70% of people don’t feel capable of helping in a cardiac emergency because they were never trained or training has lapsed so far that they don’t remember.  To make matters worse, CPR statistics say 88% of cardiac emergencies happen at home…so the person you may not feel capable helping is most likely going to be a loved one!  This terrifies me!  I truly hope that everyone does something to learn more about CPR, for starters go here to do a one minute training on hands-only-CPR.  The American Heart Association has put together a great video so that you can learn something now in only one minute.  I just know the people you love are worth that! 🙂

Here are some CPR statistics the American Heart Association has put together for you:

WHY LEARN CPR?
Cardiac arrests are more common than you think, and they can happen to anyone at any time.
• Nearly 383,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur annually, and 88 percent of cardiac arrests occur at home.
• Many victims appear healthy with no known heart disease or other risk factors.
• Sudden cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack.
o Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when electrical impulses in the heart become rapid or chaotic, which causes the heart to suddenly stop beating.
o A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to part of the heart muscle is blocked. A heart attack may cause cardiac arrest.

WHO CAN YOU SAVE WITH CPR?
The life you save with CPR is mostly likely to be a loved one.
• Four out of five cardiac arrests happen at home.
• Statistically speaking, if called on to administer CPR in an emergency, the life you save is likely to be someone at home: a child, a spouse, a parent or a friend.
• African-Americans are almost twice as likely to experience cardiac arrest at home, work or in another public location than Caucasians, and their survival rates are twice as poor as for Caucasians.

WHY TAKE ACTION?
Failure to act in a cardiac emergency can lead to unnecessary deaths.
• Effective bystander CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival, but only 32 percent of cardiac arrest victims get CPR from a bystander.
• Sadly, less than eight percent of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside the hospital survive.
• The American Heart Association trains more than 12 million people in CPR annually, to equip Americans with the skills they need to perform bystander CPR.

Don’t be afraid to use the hands-only-CPR training you have learned, you can only help them.  Push hard, push fast, and call 911!

Have a Heart Healthy Day!

Kristi Krouse