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What’s the Connection Between Stress and Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

What’s the Connection Between Stress and Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

What’s the Connection Between Stress and Sudden Cardiac Arrest?  

Did you know that April is Stress Awareness Month? Sponsored by The Health Resource Network (HRN), a nonprofit health education organization, Stress Awareness Month is a national, cooperative effort to inform people about the dangers of stress, promote successful coping strategies, and dispel harmful misconceptions and misperceptions about stress.

High-Stress Levels Can Be Hard on Your Heart  

We’ve all felt our hearts race when an unexpected (and unexpectedly ugly) bill rears its nasty head or when the kids refuse to submit those online assignments on time. But did you know that high levels of stress drive up your risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems including high cholesterol, blood clots, and even cardiac arrest?

Stress doesn't just affect your sense of wellbeing and calm, stress can even affect you on a cellular level! Long-term stress and stress disorders can lead to a wide range of illnesses—from headaches to stomach issues to depression—and yes, even strokes and heart disease. Understanding the mind/stress/health connection can help you better manage stress and improve your health and well-being.

The American Heart Association notes that “More research is needed to determine how stress contributes to heart disease — the leading killer of Americans. But stress may affect behaviors and factors that increase heart disease risk: high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, smoking, physical inactivity, and overeating.” 

What is Stress?

Basically, it’s the fight or flight response that’s hardwired into our nervous system. It’s the response that keeps us safe and gets us moving quickly when there’s an immediate threat — like running from a charging dog, fire, or oncoming object.

“When you perceive a threat, stress hormones rush into your bloodstream—increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and glucose levels. Other hormones also suppress functions like digestion and the immune system, which is one of the reasons why chronic stress can leave you more vulnerable to illness” (Federal Occupational Health).

Although danger is a common stress trigger, toxic work environments, uncertain finances, traumatic experiences, family stress, or anxiety can also lead to chronic stress. A bad day at the office or a one-off disagreement with a loved one won't damage your health in the long run, but chronic stress can dampen your immune response and put you at an increased risk for cardiovascular and other diseases.

What Can You Do To Manage Your Stress Levels?

Here are a few great ways to manage stress safely and effectively (they all just happen to be heart-healthy choices, too!):

  • Exercise
  • Meditate
  • Do yoga with a friend
  • Drink a cup of herbal tea
  • Call a friend
  • Go for a walk
  • Snuggle with a pet
  • Eat a piece of fruit
  • Play an instrument

If your stress is pressurized like a firehose, ask for help. Look for a local or online stress management class or find a therapist who specializes in stress disorders. You don’t have to tackle this on your own!

Questions about AEDs, bleeding control kits, or first aid classes? Contact Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362 learn more. We also welcome your emails, and you can reach us at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

DISCLAIMER: Information and resources found on the aed.com website and blog are intended to educate, inform, and motivate readers to make their health and wellness decisions after consulting with their healthcare provider. The authors are not healthcare providers. NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition.

What’s the Connection Between Heart Disease and Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

What’s the Connection Between Heart Disease and Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

What’s the Connection Between Heart Disease and Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

“You nearly caused me to suffer sudden cardiac arrest!” doesn’t have the same ring to it as “You nearly gave me a heart attack!” does it?

We realize we’re not going to remove that particular misleading nugget from our lexicon, but we can point out the differences — and connections — between SCA, heart attacks, and heart disease.

Heart attacks (which are often caused by heart disease) and sudden cardiac arrest are extremely serious medical events requiring immediate medical attention. However, many people don’t fully understand the differences between these common killers. 

What’s a Heart Attack?

A heart attack is a circulatory problem that occurs when blood flow to the heart is severely reduced or blocked.

Serious as a heart attack, in fact.

During a heart attack, the heart may continue to beat normally but if the blockage is not quickly resolved, parts of the heart muscle begin to die due to lack of oxygen. The longer a heart attack goes on without treatment, the greater the damage to the muscle. 

Heart attacks occur more often in individuals with a history of heart disease.

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Symptoms can occur hours, days, and even weeks before the heart attack itself. According to the American Heart Association, 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

Women may also experience the following warning signs:

  • Pressure in the lower chest or upper abdomen
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Unusual fatigue

What’s Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Cardiac arrest is an electrical problem caused when an individual’s heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating, preventing blood and oxygen from flowing to vital organs. 

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

SCA is always as serious as a heart attack! 

Without CPR to keep blood and oxygen flowing to vital organs and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) to shock the heart back into a healthy rhythm, SCA is always fatal.

Symptoms of Sudden Cardiac Arrest

A heart attack often telegraphs its arrival with clearly defined symptoms; however, SCA occurs with little or no warning. Symptoms are immediate and critical: 

  • Sudden loss of consciousness/responsiveness
  • Absence of breathing
  • No pulse.

Here’s a connection between heart disease and SCA that you should know about: People who have suffered a heart attack are at an increased risk of experiencing SCA. 

The good news is that cardiac arrest can be reversible if treated in the first few minutes with CPR and by using an AED on the victim.

What You Can Do to Assist Someone Who is Experiencing a Heart Attack or Cardiac Arrest

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 and use the device immediately. 

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

To learn more about our CPR and AED courses or schedule a training, call our team at 866-349-4362 or email Cardio Partners at customerservice@cardiopartners.com

DISCLAIMER: Information and resources found on the aed.com website and blog are intended to educate, inform, and motivate readers to make their health and wellness decisions after consulting with their healthcare provider. The authors are not healthcare providers. NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition.

Should You Get Your AED or Defibrillator Serviced?

Should I get my AED or Defibrillator serviced

Should You Get Your AED or Defibrillator Serviced?

Yes! And here’s why your AED or defibrillator needs routine servicing.

Good for you! You’ve made the potentially life-saving decision to equip your office, home, school, or public spaces with highly-visible and strategically placed automatic external defibrillators (AEDs). Bonus points if you’ve invested in an AED compliance management program

However, if you’re still on the fence about a preventative maintenance plan, read on!

How is AED and Defibrillator Preventative Maintenance Different from Compliance Management? 

A compliance management program includes check logging, expiration tracking, and helps ensure that your equipment is properly registered. The Cardio Partners Life Shield  AED Compliance Management system even sends regular reminders for you to check your AED’s power and verify battery life. 

Although AEDs are generally low-maintenance, a preventative maintenance plan helps prolong the lifespan of your life-saving AED or manual defibrillator and helps you avoid unexpected repair costs. AED and defibrillator maintenance plans make it easy for AED owners to make necessary repairs quickly and affordably. Plus, they may even help minimize potential liability issues.

Here’s the biggest reason of all to have your AED or manual defibrillator serviced: a well-maintained AED or defibrillator is always rescue-ready. 

How Do I Know if My AED or Manual Defibrillator Needs Service?

Is your AED or defibrillator beeping? Chirping? Blinking insistent red lights or otherwise behaving strangely? 

If so, it’s probably trying to tell you something. 

Most AEDs run daily self-tests to ensure that, in the event of an emergency, it’s ready to save lives. Here are a few common reasons why your device may need service:

  • Its pads have expired.
  • The pads have been disconnected from the unit.
  • The battery has expired or doesn’t have sufficient energy for a charge.
  • The software needs to be updated.
  • A mechanical error has been detected.
  • AED is too cold (or too hot!).

Leave Service to the AED Professionals

Certified medical equipment repair technicians, like those on our team here at Cardio Partners, will thoroughly analyze your equipment and will run brand-specific diagnostics to ensure that your machine is operating effectively. 

We offer a multi-point inspection for all makes and models of AEDs and manual defibrillators. Our team is qualified to service equipment produced by industry-leading AED manufacturers such as Zoll, Philips, Cardiac Science, and more. 

Cardio Partners AED Service Checklist

Here’s what you can expect from our multi-point AED and manual defibrillator inspections:

  1. We’ll make sure that your AED software is upgraded to the current AHA guidelines. 
  2. Using a Fluke Impulse 7000 defibrillator analyzer, we’ll simulate a shockable rhythm. Multiple shocks are delivered to ensure the energy output is within current FDA guidelines.
  3. Device performance is recorded.
  4. We’ll perform a careful visual inspection to ensure that your AED shows no signs of cracks, wear, or other damage. All findings will be noted.
  5. Your device will be meticulously cleaned in a laboratory environment.
  6. AED is accessorized and made patient-ready with electrodes and batteries installed.
  7. We’ll initiate self-tests to make sure that your AED is emergency-ready.
  8. Battery and pad expiration dates are recorded. (We’ll notify you 60 days prior to the expiration of your equipment’s accessories.)
  9. Each order is hand-checked and packaged in accordance with FedEx and UPS regulations.
  10. AED tracing is submitted to the manufacturer in accordance with FDA regulations.

Cardio Partners Manual Defibrillator Checklist

  1. Unit is visually inspected to ensure the device is cosmetically sound.
  2. Software version is recorded.
  3. If a software upgrade is available from the manufacturer, your equipment will be updated.
  4. Time and dates are checked and set, as necessary.
  5. Unit and customer information is entered into Ansur Software and is recorded electronically and in hardcopy.
  6. Device is tested on equipment that has been carefully calibrated by the manufacturer.
  7. Joule output is tested and recorded.
  8. Joule output is recorded and displayed on a sticker placed on the device.
  9. Calibration sticker also notes the “Next Inspection” date according to manufacturer guidelines.
  10. Pacing is tested (if applicable).
  11. SpO2 is tested (if applicable).
  12. Non-invasive blood pressure is tested (if applicable).
  13. Capnography is tested (if applicable.)
  14. Printer is tested and the test strip is shipped with the unit to show functionality.
  15. All testing results stored on the server and test summary is printed and filed.
  16. Unit is fully accessorized and assembled patient-ready.
  17. Device is meticulously hand-cleaned.
  18. Packing slip is printed and hand-checked to ensure that all items are included.
  19. Devices are professionally packed using approved materials.
  20. Tracking number is recorded on SO/Invoice.
  21. Battery and pad expiration dates are recorded (you’ll be notified 60 days prior to their expiration).
  22. Device information and destination are submitted to the manufacturer in accordance with FDA regulations.

To learn more about our AED and defibrillator service and preventative maintenance programs or our online compliance management program, LifeShield, contact Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362 or email us at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

DISCLAIMER: The information included in this post and on our website is not intended as legal advice. As legislation changes often, this post may inadvertently contain inaccurate or incomplete information. We urge you to contact your state representative should you require more information about current AED, CPR, and Good Samaritan laws in your state.

DISCLAIMER: Information found on the aed.com blog is intended to educate, inform, and motivate readers to make their health and wellness decisions after consulting with their healthcare provider. The authors are not healthcare providers. NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition.

Taking Care of Your AED in Cold Weather

Taking care of your AED in Cold Weather

Taking care of your AED in Cold Weather

How to store your AED in the winter

Not only do cold temperatures increase the likelihood of hypothermia — which can lead to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) — but weather extremes may also negatively affect the performance of your AED.

Whether you keep an AED for personal use in your vehicle or your commercial fleet is equipped with durable AEDs, like the Zoll AED Plus, it’s smart to understand how cold weather can impact your AED.

AED batteries drain more quickly in colder temperatures and the water-based gel found in some AED pads may freeze. AEDs that are too cold may also fail to operate, rendering them useless in emergency situations. The way you store your AED in winter can make a huge difference in your AED’s rescue-readiness.

Each AED manufacturer lists the optimal operating temperature ranges for their devices; typically, 32° to 122°F. To prolong the lifespan and ensure the efficacy of your AED, your unit should not be stored in a place where temperatures go below freezing or above 122°F. 

Many public access AEDs are stored outdoors, for around-the-clock availability. If you have an outdoor public access AED, be sure to invest in an all-weather cabinet and check the device’s batteries and pads monthly.

If you keep an AED in your car or work vehicle, insulated cases may help protect the device from extreme temperatures. We also recommend storing AEDs in the heated cabin (not the trunk!) and taking them indoors when temperatures are projected to fall below freezing. You may also want to invest in an extra battery, just in case cooler temperatures are extra hard on your battery!

Fortunately, most AEDs, like the Cardiac Science Powerheart, for example, perform daily self-checks to ensure that all its essential components are operational. These self-diagnostic checks assess defibrillator temperature.

If you’re AED is beeping or chirping, it requires immediate attention. Take the device indoors and allow it to return to normal operating temperatures. This may take at least 30 minutes. (Which, obviously, wouldn’t work in an SCA situation!) Then, follow the prompts to clear error messages and return the device to a state of rescue-readiness.

Keep your AED rescue-ready, regardless of the season. Invest in an affordable Cardio Partners preventative maintenance plan. Call Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362 or send an email to customerservice@cardiopartners.com — we’re ready to help!

DISCLAIMER: The information included in this post and on our website is not intended as legal advice. As legislation changes often, this post may inadvertently contain inaccurate or incomplete information. We urge you to contact your state representative should you require more information about current AED, CPR, and Good Samaritan laws in your state.

DISCLAIMER: Information found on the aed.com blog is intended to educate, inform, and motivate readers to make their health and wellness decisions after consulting with their healthcare provider. The authors are not healthcare providers. NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition.

 

Winter Safety Checklist

Winter Safety Checklist

Winter Safety Checklist 

Stay safe and warm with these winter safety tips! 

Everyone may be ready for the change of seasons this year, but winter brings a whole new slew of safety challenges.

Not only can wet, heavy snow can lead to dangerous ice accumulation, but shoveling heavy snow can also cause injuries and spark cardiac events like heart attacks or sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Climate Central also reports that weather-related blackouts have doubled in recent years and winter storms cause thousands of highway accidents, personal injuries, and power outages.

Here at Cardio Partners, we believe that it’s a smart move to prepare your home, vehicles, and family for whatever winter has in store. Check out these winter safety tips, then pull your boots out of storage and enjoy the crisp, clear air. If you’re lucky enough to have snow, by all means, head for the nearest sledding hill!

Stay safe and stay warm with these tried-and-true winter safety tips

Pack a Winter and Cold Weather Emergency Kit

Like a good scout, always be prepared. Here are a few smart — and potentially life-saving —  items to have on hand (and in your vehicle) in case of a winter emergency or power outage:

Winterize Your Home for Winter Safety

Keep the cold out and the cozy in. Winterizing your home can save you big bucks, keep you more comfortable, and reduce the likelihood of frozen pipes. 

November is a great month to make sure that your:

  • Heating systems (fireplaces, wood stoves, and furnaces) have been professionally inspected and cleaned.
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order.
  • Home is well-insulated and that all the windows and doors seal tightly.
  • Gutters are clear — so you can avoid icicles and dangerous ice dams, which can damage your roof.
  • Vulnerable pipes that are most susceptible to freezing are well-insulated.
  • Garden hoses are disconnected and stored for the winter.

Are you rescue-ready for winter? Call Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362 or send an email to customerservice@cardiopartners.com — we’re ready to help!

DISCLAIMER: The information included in this post and on our website is not intended as legal advice. As legislation changes often, this post may inadvertently contain inaccurate or incomplete information. We urge you to contact your state representative should you require more information about current AED, CPR, and Good Samaritan laws in your state.