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Key Differences Between a Heart Attack, Sudden Cardiac Arrest, and a Stroke

Is it a Heart Attack, Sudden Cardiac Arrest, or a Stroke?

They’re all serious conditions that require immediate medical attention but many people don’t fully understand the differences between these three common killers. Simply put, a heart attack is a circulatory problem, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is an electrical malfunction in the heart, and a stroke is caused by a blood clot or ruptured blood vessel in the brain.  

In this article, we’ll help you understand what’s happening within the body during each of these medical emergencies. 

Although the risk factors may be the same from person to person, understanding the differences between these conditions can be a matter of life and death.

What’s a Heart Attack?

Heart attacks are, essentially, a circulation problem and they occur when blood flow to a person’s heart is severely reduced or blocked. Heart attacks can be relatively mild or very, very serious.

During a heart attack, an artery becomes clogged and cannot carry enough oxygen to the heart. The heart may continue to beat normally but if the blockage is not quickly resolved, parts of the cardiac muscle will begin to die from lack of oxygen. The longer a heart attack goes on without treatment, the greater the damage to the muscle.

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

You may be able to prevent a heart attack from occurring if you know what to look for andyou listen to your body! Symptoms can occur hours, days, and even weeks before the heart attack itself. The most common symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Pain or discomfort in the chest
  • Lightheadedness, nausea, or vomiting
  • Jaw, neck, or back pain
  • Discomfort or pain in arm or shoulder
  • Shortness of breath

It’s well worth noting that women may experience symptoms of a heart attack differently from men. Even though heart disease is the number-one killer of women in the United States, women often fail to identify their symptoms as warning signs of a heart attack (American Heart Association). 

In addition to (or instead of) the symptoms listed above, women may experience pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, lightheadedness, fainting, flu-like symptoms or extreme fatigue.

What’s Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Cardiac arrest is an electrical problem and is caused when an individual’s heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating, which prevents blood and oxygen from flowing to vital organs. Unlike a heart attack, SCA is always serious. Without the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) to shock the heart back into a healthy rhythm, death can occur within minutes.

Symptoms of Cardiac Arrest

A heart attack often telegraphs its arrival with clearly defined symptoms, SCA, however, can occur with little or no warning, as it did for SCA survivor Rob Seymour. Symptoms are immediate and dire: sudden loss of consciousness/responsiveness, lack of breathing, and no pulse. During a cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating and the organs of the body are deprived of oxygen. 

When the heart stops beating, death can occur within minutes. 

SCA can be caused by any number of events, such as ventricular fibrillation, a sudden blow to the chest, electrocution, drowning, drug abuse, heart attacks, cardiomyopathy, or hypothermia. Cardiac arrest can be reversible if it’s treated in the first few minutes with CPR and by using an AED on the victim.

What’s a Stroke?

A stroke is a “brain attack” that can happen to anyone at any time and occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked by a clogged or burst blood vessel. When blood flow to the brain is cut off, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory and muscle control are permanently lost (National Stroke Association).

Symptoms of Stroke

Using the acronym FAST, you just may be able to save someone’s life. If someone’s facebegins to droop or they’re complaining of numbness, ask them to smile. If the person’s smile is lopsided, they may be having a stroke. If their arm is weak or numb, ask them to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Is their speech slurred or strange? If someone is showing any of these symptoms, it’s time to call 9-1-1 immediately.

What You Can Do to Assist Someone Who is Experiencing a Heart Attack, SCA, or Having a Stroke?

If you witness someone suffering from a possible heart attack, SCA, or a stroke call 911 immediately. The operator may be able to help you administer compression-only CPR to the victim. If possible, ask a bystander to locate an AED. 

You never know when your actions could help save a life.

To become better equipped to offer assistance, sign up for first aid, CPR, and AED training today! Cardio Partners offers CPR, First Aid, AED, and bloodborne pathogen training courses in all 50 states in traditional classroom settings and in blended learning courses. To learn more about our courses or to schedule a training, call our team at 866-349-4362 or email Cardio Partners at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

Be Ready to Help in a Heartbeat

Student athletes spend hours training for competition — but how about training to save a life

Studies show that 6,000 – 8,000 teens experience sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) annually.1 Every three days, a student athlete falls victim to sudden cardiac death.2

Student athletes are at heightened risk for SCA due to the additional strain placed on the heart during athletic conditioning and competition. Contributing factors include the influx of adrenaline, dehydration, fever, and changes in electrolytes.3

While SCA isn’t preventable, sudden cardiac death can be. All it takes is to educate students on the symptoms that can precede an SCA event and to have an automated external defibrillator (AED) readily available during athletic practices and competition.

SCA can strike without warning, but sometimes symptoms are presented. Student athletes often dismiss symptoms preceding an SCA event for fear of losing precious game time. That’s why it’s vitally important for athletes to fully understand the risks they face and feel confident speaking up to prevent sudden cardiac death.

Here are some of the warning signs:5

  • Fainting
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat – racing or fluttering
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Extreme fatigue

Nine out of ten victims who receive a shock from an AED within the first minute of SCA survive.4 Ensuring that your students and coaches are trained to respond to an SCA emergency could help save a life.

Download the ‘Help in a Heartbeat’ flyer to educate your team about the symptoms of SCA.

To learn more about the latest package from Cardiopartners to help your athletic teams respond to any emergency, visit: https://www.aed.com/zoll-aed-plus-athletic-director-s-package

1 “Sudden Cardiac Arrest and Teenage Athletes: What’s the Risk?”. Promise powered by Nemours Children’s Health System. https://blog.nemours.org/2017/02/sudden-cardiac-arrest-teenage-athletes-risk/

2 “Young Athletes & Sudden Cardiac Arrest”. Boston Scientific. http://www.your-heart-health.com/content/close-the-gap/en-US/heart-disease-facts/young-athletes.html

3 “Sports and Sudden Cardiac Arrest(SCA)”. Cardiosmart – American College of Cardiology. https://www.cardiosmart.org/Heart-Conditions/Sports-and-Sudden-Cardiac-Arrest

4Source: 2017, AHA Mediagenic Survey Results; 2017, AHA with Edelman Intelligence; 2017, AHA with BLR Media; Postgrad Medical Journal, October 2007.

5”Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) in Student-Athletes”. California Interscholastic Federation. http://www.cifstate.org/sports-medicine/sca/index

#WearRedandGive: Going Beyond Go Red

National Wear Red Day and Go Red for Women is here! How are you celebrating?

February 1 is here, and at Cardio Partners, we’re putting our mittens on and gearing up for a day of giving and raising awareness about women’s heart health. Here are a few great ways to celebrate National Wear Red Day. We hope you’ll join us!

Share to Social

Embrace the hashtag with open hearts! Follow the American Heart Association (@AmericanHeart) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (@NHLBI) on Facebook or @american-heart and @nih-nhlbi on Twitter for the latest updates and events.

Snap a #WearingRed selfie and add a few extra hashtags for good measure:

#NationalWearRedDay
#WearRedDay
#WearRedandGive
#HeartMonth
#RedDressCollection
#DíaLucirPrendasRojas
#MesDelCorazón

Educate and Advocate for Heart Disease Prevention

Demand change. Cardiovascular disease is still the leading cause of death in American women, claiming the lives of one in three women. It’s time for a stat change. We covered this back in November with 5 Practical Ways You Can Prevent Heart Disease but we’re proud to join the American Heart Association (AHA) in supporting the following initiatives:

Physical Activity Initiatives

Did you know that only 26% of men, 19% of women and 20% of adolescents report enough activity to meet Federal recommendations?

The American Heart Association recently adopted the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines, which state that adults should get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity (or a combination of both). So we figure we should, too.

Healthy Eating Initiatives

Yikes! About 45% of U.S. deaths caused by heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes are the result of poor dietary habits. In layperson’s terms, Americans are gobbling up too much salt, sugar, and animal fats and aren’t consuming enough fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains.

Healthy Living Initiatives

Heart health isn’t just exercising and eating right. It’s all that and more. If you smoke, quit. If you haven’t had your annual checkup, make an appointment today. If you haven’t had a good night’s sleep in a while, make some zzzs a priority. If you need to change your relationship with food, take the plunge. If you have no idea what your blood pressure is, check it.

“High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the second leading cause of preventable heart disease and stroke death — second only to smoking. More than 30 percent of cardiovascular events in women are due to hypertension” (AHA).

Heart Strength in Numbers

It’s one thing to make a commitment to yourself to be more active, eat healthily, and lead a healthy lifestyle. It’s an entirely different thing altogether when you enlist friends and loved ones to join you. After all, if you don’t make heart health a priority, who will? A dear friend or family member, that’s who!

Commit to better health by changing behaviors together. Decide whether you’re going to focus on moving more, eating better, or by monitoring and managing your blood pressure. Then, exercise together, eat together, and keep each other accountable. In the nicest, kindest, and most encouraging way possible, of course.

Sign Up for A CPR and AED Certification Course

We know you’re a loyal Cardio Partners blog reader and you caught our post, 5 Heart-SMART Goals for the New Year. In case you missed it, though, here’s a key takeaway: go get your CPR and AED certifications! You just may save the life of someone you love. To find a class near you, check out the American Red Cross or American Heart Association’s websites. Still need some convincing? Check out 10 Reasons Why You Should Learn CPR.

Donate to Go Red For Women

Let’s put an end to cardiovascular disease, the No. 1 killer of women. Make an online donation to the American Heart Association.

Become a Community Heart Hero

Can’t afford a financial donation? Become a heart hero like Texas Girl Scout Jillian Rash and start a fundraiser for a public access AED for your community. To learn more about fundraising for your AED program, download the Cardio Partners Grant Guide.

Let us know how you’re celebrating WearRedDay; we’d love to hear from you! Please contact Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362. We also welcome your emails, and you can reach us at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

5 Heart-SMART Goals For 2019

Achieve These 5 Goals and You Could Save a Life

Happy New Year from all of us here at Cardio Partners! We know you have your resolutions lined up but around here, we’re all about setting SMART goals. For those of you who need a refresher, that’s Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. There’s something so incredibly satisfying about setting a clear goal and achieving it, so let’s start the New Year with a solid action plan.

GOAL #1: Become First Aid Certified

If you’ve been putting off getting your First Aid certification or telling yourself that you’ll “get around to it,” well, now’s the time.

In fact, here’s your SMART Goal in one tidy little package: Become First Aid certified by the end of National Heart Awareness Month in February.

Visit the American Red Cross or American Heart Association to find a class near you. Classes are affordable, convenient, and flexible. Blended courses, which combine online coursework with in-person skills training, are great options for busy professionals.

GOAL #2: Get Your CPR and AED Certification

Once you have your freshly minted First Aid certification in hand, level up with CPR and AED training. To keep yourself accountable and to fulfill the Timely requirement, set a deadline for yourself! May 30 seems pretty reasonable to us. Again, to find a class near you, the American Red Cross or American Heart Association are the websites to visit.

Wondering what you’ll learn? Check out 10 Reasons Why You Should Learn CPR, or more to the point, What Will I Learn From a CPR or First Aid Class?

GOAL #3: Encourage Your Friends & Colleagues to Become First Aid & CPR Certified

Congratulations! You’ve passed the tests and made the grade! Now, encourage others to do the same. Think about the folks in your life who would benefit from becoming certified and jot down a quick list. Whether you opt to encourage one family member, start a movement within your community, or recruit 10 colleagues, make sure your goal is specific, measurable, and attainable.

We’re thinking “Encourage at least 15 friends and colleagues to register for First Aid, CPR, and AED Certification before the end of the year” sounds pretty doable.

GOAL #4: Invest in a Stop the Bleed Kit

Think of it as a graduation gift to yourself. Violence is a sad reality in America these days, so it’s best to be prepared.

Curaplex Stop the Bleed kits are intentionally designed to provide the trained rescuer with immediate access to life-saving products that can control bleeding and traumatic hemorrhaging. Basic kits start at $59.99 and the compact, vacuum-packed and tamper-proof kit includes:

A permanent marker
2 pairs of gloves, latex-free, large
1 C-A-T® tourniquet
1 emergency bandage
Pair of trauma shears, 7.5”
2 rolls of primed, compressed gauze dressing
A printed insert which shows instructions for use
Advanced kits include 1 Pack of HALO seals and QuikClot combat gauze.

GOAL #5: Start a Fundraiser for a Community AED

We recently donated a refurbished AED to the Q Center in Portland, Oregon, but as much as we’d like to, we simply can’t donate an AED to every deserving community center in the country. We can, however, share some great advice for funding for your AED program!

GotAED, an initiative of Simon’s Heart, is a crowdfunding site dedicated to placing AEDs in areas where children learn and play. The site invites schools and youth organizations to begin a campaign to fund the purchase of an AED and offers tips and suggestions to help ensure a successful crowdsourcing campaign. If your organization isn’t kid-focused, you may want to look into other popular crowdfunding platforms like CauseVox and CrowdRise.

Before you launch a crowdfunding campaign, be sure to familiarize yourself with the laws regulating nonprofit fundraising in your state. A good place to start your research is the National Council of Nonprofits.

For the full scoop, download our Grant Guide.

Have burning questions about our products and services? Ready to achieve your heart-smart goals? Please contact Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362. We also welcome your emails, and you can reach us at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

Cardio Partners Donates AED to Oregon Community Center

Portland’s Q Center Updates Emergency Preparedness Plan and Installs AED

The Q Center, the largest LGBTQ community center in the Pacific Northwest, was recently selected by the Cardio Partners team to receive a refurbished Philips HeartStart Onsite AED.

While pursuing her Bachelor’s degree, Allison Neushwander, a registered nurse, quickly identified the popular community center as the perfect location for her community-based health project.

The Q Center’s mission is to provide safe spaces, community building, and empowerment for the positive transformation of LGBTQ2SIA+ communities and allies in the Pacific Northwest. As the largest LGBTQ community center in the Pacific Northwest, Q Center proudly serves the LGBTQ2SIA+ communities of Portland Metro and Southwest Washington.

After spending some time with the organization’s staff members, Allison decided that she could best help the Q Center by implementing an emergency readiness and evacuation plan. Allison decided to procure an AED and First Aid Kit for the center as part of the emergency plan. Unfortunately, the organization lacked the funding to purchase a unit.

Undeterred, Allison reached out to the American Heart Association, which suggested that she contact AED distributors directly.

“Thankfully, Cardio Partners was on that list!” said Allison.

The Q Center’s welcoming drop-in and event space is located in North Portland, and according to their website, it “is a frequent first stop for new arrivals in Portland, and for longtime residents who are newly out or questioning their sexual or gender identity. Q Center also serves as an information hub for friends, partners, community, and family members of LGBTQ2SIA+ individuals.”

“The AED is something we have always wanted to have for our community center. There are a lot of homeless community members who use the space, many community members who don’t get needed medical care, and there is also a health clinic attached to the Q Center. It is a gathering space for vulnerable people. The cost of an AED was keeping us from being able to have one in our space. This donation helps us make our community safer and helps us further our mission,” said Susan Kocen, Senior Community Program Manager.

“From my perspective as a student, this was a really meaningful project because I got to do something for my community in Portland, and for the gay and lesbian community. It was a very satisfying and personal project, because I’m a part of both communities,” noted Allison.

Allison decided that the best location for the new AED is in the center’s heavily-trafficked reception area, next to the fire extinguisher and near the library, art gallery, and auditorium. The AED is stored in a well-marked wall cabinet and each of the five full-time staff members will be trained to properly use the AED.

“Without an AED, restoring a heart rhythm is really difficult. That piece of technology is such a critical part of emergency response. They’re user-friendly and easy for the community to utilize. It’s nice to have it in a space that I’m personally connected to,” said Allison.

Cardio Partners makes every attempt to honor donation requests; however, we receive far more requests that we can reasonably accommodate. For more information about securing funding for your AED program, download our Grant Guide. To learn more about our AED donation program, please contact us, we’d love to hear from you. Call Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362 or send an email to customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

Cardio Partners: A Year in Review

Top Blogs of 2018

2018 was a busy year for all of us here at Cardio Partners and AED.com. We had the honor of joining a Texas Girl Scout as she donated an AED to her community, we checked in with SCA Survivor Rob Seymour, partnered with Operation Homefront’s Back-to-School-Brigade, attended the EMS World Expo in Nashville, and celebrated as lawmakers in Tennessee and California enacted new AED legislation.

To discover your favorite posts, dear reader, we tallied the votes, counted the comments, and checked out the analytics. Thanks for reading!

Without further ado, here are the Top 10 Cardio Partners Blog Posts of 2018!

1) You Really Love Your Pets

And so do we! According to Google and Facebook, you sure do have a soft spot for your fur family! With nearly 15,000 page views and dozens of likes, CPR for Pets, with its step-by-step instructions, was a winner. Maybe our follow-up article, 8 Reasons Why Cats are Good for Your Health, which was published in late October in honor of National Cat Day, just hasn’t had time to gain traction.

2) Serious as a Heart Attack (or Sudden Cardiac Arrest)

The question, is it a heart attack or cardiac arrest? seems to be weighing heavily on the minds of our readers. What’s the difference, you ask? Here’s a little multiple choice pop quiz:

Which of the following best describes a heart attack?

  1. Don’t sneak up on me like that! You nearly gave me a heart attack.
  2. He almost had a heart attack when he found out how much dinner cost.
  3. Bacon for breakfast, bacon for lunch, bacon for dinner. Bacon, bacon, bacon. Now that’s a recipe for a heart attack!
  4. He made her heart skip a beat.

If you answered C, then you’ve been a loyal follower of the Cardio Partners blog! (Or you’re a doctor, an EMS professional, or an employee of Cardio Partners.) In a nutshell, a heart attack occurs with a blockage in a coronary artery blocks the flow of blood to the heart. A cardiac arrest occurs when the electrical system of the heart unexpectedly stops working.

3) Arcane Defibrillation and AED History is Fascinating

Perhaps the most surprising entry on this list is the History of Defibrillation, Defibrillators, and Portable AEDs. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones who could resist the headline: “From Dogs to Tablespoons to ZOLL, AEDs Have Come a Long Way.” If you missed out the first time around, be sure to read up on the “Self-starter For a Dead Man’s Heart.”

4) Not All CPR is Created Equally

We can’t think of anything more frightening than performing CPR on a child or infant. It seems as though our readers feel the same way. Not only is this one of our top 5 posts of 2018, but readers spent more time reading this post than any other on this list. In this post, we covered the differences between infant, child, and adult CPR and also discussed the pediatric chain of survival.

5) Take Our Word For It: You Should Learn CPR

Plenty of Googlers were looking for reasons to learn CPR this year. Our post, 10 Reasons Why You Should Learn CPR, made it to the top of the charts!

6) Statistics Take the Cake

In case you missed the original post, here are 6 Shocking Statistics About Cardiac Arrest and AEDs, plus one extra for good measure:

  1. Each year, more than 356,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) occur in the United States.
  2. Among middle-aged adults treated for Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), 50% had no symptoms before the onset of arrest.
  3. 475,000 Americans die from a cardiac arrest every year and 17.5 million people across the globe die from cardiovascular disease each year.
  4. 10,000 SCAs occur in the workplace each year.
  5. 68.5% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur at home.
  6. 45% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims survive when bystander CPR is administered.
  7. SCA kills more Americans than lung cancer, breast cancer, and HIV/AIDS combined.

7) You’re CPR-Curious

We gave you 10 great reasons why you should learn CPR, yet plenty of you wanted more information. What Will I Learn From a CPR or First Aid Class was also a big ratings winner. Read about it all you like, but nothing takes the place of the real thing. Sign up for a CPR, AED and First Aid training course near you!

8) It’s a Trip, It’s Got a Funky Beat, and I Can Bug Out to It!

We had some fun this summer curating our very own playlist, CPR Songs: Greatest Hits to Save Lives. From the Bee Gees’ rather obvious choice, “Stayin’ Alive,” to Bey and Jay’s “Crazy in Love” to JT’s  “Rock Your Body,” and just about everything in between, we found plenty of tunes set to a heart-thumping 100 to 120 beats per minute.

9) The Chain of Survival Really is a Thing

Why is the chain of survival so important, you ask? Because knowing and understanding each link in the chain can dramatically improve the survival odds of someone experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. According to the American Heart Association the five links in the adult out-of-hospital Chain of Survival are:

  1. Recognition of cardiac arrest and activation of the emergency response system
  2. Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with an emphasis on chest compressions
  3. Rapid defibrillation
  4. Basic and advanced emergency medical services
  5. Advanced life support and post-cardiac arrest care

10) A Shout-out to our Friends at Brentwood Fire and Rescue

The good people of Facebook voted with their “likes” and our final nod goes to the fabulous folks at the Brentwood Fire and Rescue Department. In “What You Need to Know to Stop the Bleed and Save a Life,” we shared a few tips and shared some additional information on the Curaplex Stop the Bleed Kit.

Have a safe New Year and a wonderful 2019! Questions about our products and services? Please contact Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362. We also welcome your emails, and you can reach us at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

Can Energy Drinks Cause Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Are Energy Drinks Worth the Health Risks?

According to a recent Global Energy Drink Market Analysis, the market size for these popular beverages is expected to reach a whopping $72 billion by 2024 and is rising at an incredible market growth rate of 7.1%.

Energy drinks are big business. But are they really good for you?

While consumers are endorsing them with their dollars, physicians around the globe are calling for more research into the safety of the drinks and the World Health Organization warns that “Increased consumption of energy drinks may pose danger to public health, especially among young people.”

Last year the Washington Post reported that a South Carolina high school student collapsed and died after drinking a latte, a Mountain Dew, and an energy drink. “His sudden death may have remained a medical mystery, the coroner who conducted his autopsy said, if friends hadn’t described what Davis ingested during lunch: Enough caffeine to disrupt and ultimately stop his heart.”

What Are Energy Drinks?

We all probably know someone who relies on the heart-pounding wallop that guzzling an energy drink can provide, but what’s in them? And are they safe? Energy drinks (EDs) are commonly used as a dietary supplement by young adolescents and adults to boost physical performance or enhance concentration. For some, the number of “Monsters” or “Red Bulls” consumed serves as an indication of just how hard they’ve studied or how much they’ve been working.

Most EDs contain a variety of ingredients, but pharmaceutical-grade caffeine and additional caffeine from other natural sources is often the primary stimulant. By way of comparison, some energy drinks contain up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine per can or bottle, compared to 100-150 mg in a typical cup of coffee.

Other components commonly found in these drinks include guarana, yerba mate, taurine, theophylline, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, vitamins, and L-carnitine. The long-term health effects of these additives are not well-documented.

Like caffeine, however, these additional ingredients are also believed to increase one’s energy and stimulate mental performance. Both guarana and yerba mate are natural sources of caffeine, making the total amount of caffeine in an ED hard to determine. Because of this, the actual amount of caffeine contained in an ED may not be accurately reflected on its label, making it difficult for consumers to understand how much of the stimulant they’re actually ingesting.

What are the Adverse Side-Effects of Energy Drinks?

In 2017, US News and World Report noted that in 2016 there were more than 20,000 emergency room visits attributed to the ingestion of energy drinks. And, because the drinks are often marketed to younger consumers, some 1,145 Americans ages 12 to 17 were admitted to emergency rooms for energy drink-related health emergencies in 2007. That number climbed to 1,499 in 2011 (Centers for Disease Control).

Although most healthy adults can enjoy the occasional energy drink without harm, possible side effects of consuming EDs include: elevated blood pressure, dehydration, insomnia, anxiety, increased heart rate, increased corrected QT interval, supraventricular arrhythmia, ventricular arrhythmia, coronary artery spasm, coronary artery thrombosis, aortic dissection, and sudden cardiac death.

Recent research shows just one energy drink can affect blood vessel function (Science Daily). Other studies have shown that caffeine-and-herbal combinations can increase stress hormones and are linked to changes in blood pressure and the heart’s electrical activity.

Potential long-term, chronic effects may include hypertensive heart disease, coronary artery disease, atherosclerosis, cerebrovascular disease, and peripheral arterial disease.

“Energy drinks are frequently consumed by young athletes and there are reports of morbidity and mortality associated with consumption. In particular, susceptible individuals include younger, smaller, caffeine-naïve/sensitive, pregnant or breastfeeding women and those with underlying medical conditions. While most healthy adults can consume a single energy drink without any significant negative acute health effects, the long-term effects of chronic consumption have not been well studied” (American College of Cardiology).

What are Some Healthy Alternatives to Energy Drinks?

Not only are EDs packed with unhealthy levels of caffeine, but they’re also loaded with sugar. You may have noticed that we’re on a health kick around here, so be sure to check out our heart-healthy posts including 5 Strategies to Prevent Heart Disease, The Great American Smokeout, and  How Obesity Plays a Role in Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Young People.

In the meantime, here are a few healthy alternatives to energy drinks for you to incorporate into your diet and lifestyle to help ensure that your body is working at its best:

  • Protein: Put down the can and step away from the sugar and caffeine! Healthy, lean proteins can help keep our bodies alert and encourage our bodies to burn calories.
  • Dark chocolate: An ounce or two of dark chocolate contains just enough caffeine and flavonoids to give your brain a boost.
  • Water: Ditch the ED and grab a glass of water. If you need a little kick, squeeze in a slice or two of lemon.
  • Exercise: Take a quick break from your studies and your deadlines and run around the block or jog in place. It’s the perfect way to get the blood flowing.
  • Green Tea: If you’re still craving a jolt of caffeine, green tea is the way to go. All the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties can’t hurt, either!
  • Green Juices or Smoothies: Dark green veggies such as spinach, kale, and parsley are full of B vitamins that our metabolism needs to run at full steam.

For information about purchasing a new or recertified AED for your home or workplace, visit AED.com or call Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362. We also welcome your emails, you can reach us at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.