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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.

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.