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Cardiac Arrest vs. Heart Attack the brain will be reduced so drastically that a person may lose consciousness. Unlike a heart attack, cardiac arrest requires immediate treatment. It’s best to seek treatment promptly for both a heart attack and cardiac arrest, but those experiencing cardiac arrest are at much greater risk of death if treatment is not sought immediately. Men and women, young and old, should also keep in mind that heart attack can sometimes lead into cardiac arrest, highlighting the importance of seeking treatment as soon as any symptoms of heart attack begin to appear.


any people mistakenly assume cardiac arrest and heart attack are the same thing. However, sudden cardiac arrest is not a heart attack. In fact, there are distinguishable differences between the two that are best explained by detailing what is actually happening when someone is suffering from either one.

What happens during a heart attack?

During a heart attack, blockage occurs in one or more of the heart’s arteries. That blockage subsequently prevents the heart from receiving enough oxygen-rich blood. Research indicates that many people with symptoms of a heart attack actually delay seeking treatment for more than two hours. In a 2010 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers found the average delay in arriving at the hospital after the start of a heart attack was roughly two and a half hours. Eleven percent of the more than 100,000 cases examined in the study waited more than 12 hours from the start of symptoms before seeking treatment. Those symptoms can include chest discomfort, shortness of breath and discomfort in other areas of the body that do no improve after five minutes.

How are heart attack and cardiac arrest prevented?

What happens during cardiac arrest?

When a person is experiencing cardiac arrest, their heart’s electrical system is malfunctioning and suddenly becomes irregular. The heart begins to beat very fast while the ventricles may flutter or quiver. Blood is not being delivered to the body during cardiac arrest, and a genuine fear is that blood flow to

The goal is to keep blood flowing through the body as smoothly as possible. This means avoiding blood clots and the build-up of plaque in the arteries. That might sound simple enough, but plaque build-up and the process of coronary artery disease has been shown to begin as far back as childhood, when diets are not typically tailored to avoid heart disease. While it’s impossible to go back in time and change certain lifestyle habits, including diet and exercise routines and regimens, there are ways adults can reduce the build-up of plaque, which can help them avoid falling victim to heart attack and cardiac arrest.

It’s never too early for adults to start taking steps, including daily exercise, to prevent heart attack and cardiac arrest.



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♥ A guide to Mason County health care choices with heart healthy facts and tips.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Love Your Heart Month


A Special Section of the

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Was That a Heart Attack? K

nowing the symptoms of a heart attack and getting early treatment helps to keep your heart healthy. Heart attacks may catch people by surprise. Women, especially, tend to experience warning signs of a heart attack differently from men. In some cases, women don’t even know they’ve suffered a heart attack. They might not feel the typical pain in the left half of their chest. Women may, however, feel lightheaded and sweaty, with an upset stomach and burning in their upper abdomen. Heart attacks, often caused by blocked heart vessels, have the following classic symptoms: • Chest pain, fullness, pressure, squeezing, or tightness, lasting five minutes or longer. • Constant discomfort, similar to indigestion. • Chest pain traveling to your arms, back, jaw, shoulders, or neck. • Dizziness, fainting, sweating, lightheadedness, or an upset stomach. • Unexplained shortness of breath. • Unexplained anxiety, tiredness, or weakness. • A cold sweat, palpitations, or pale skin. • Increased or irregular heart rate. If you experience any of these symptoms please call 9-1-1 and get to Mason General Hospital as soon as possible.

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Heart Conditions Can Be ‘Silent’ Silent ischemia is a potentially dangerous heart condition that’s difficult to detect and can result in cardiac arrest. The image many people get when they think of heart conditions is a grown man cluthing his chest. But not all heart conditions are as obvious or pronounced as heart attack. Ischemia is a term used to describe the restriction of oxygenrich blood to an area of the body. Cardiac ischemia occurs when the blood cannot reach the heart. Generally cardiac ischemia causes pain in the chest, known as angina. However, in some cases there is no warning pain and the condition is called silent ischemia.

Facts & Figures on Silent Ischemia

Silent ischemia affects roughly 3 to 4 million Americans every year. Individuals who have had a previous heart attack are at higher risk for silent ischemia than others. But there are many other risk factors: * Diabetes * Coronary artery disease * Hypertension * Coronary artery anomalies * Smoking * Obesity * Alcohol and drug abuse * Cardiomyopathy If ischemia lasts too long or is especially severe, it may cause a heart attack. It can also affect the natural rhythm of the heart and its pumping ability, which can cause fainting, and even sudden cardiac arrest.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Silent Ischemia

Silent ischemia has no symptoms. However, if a person has had previous episodes of chest pain, there’s a liklihood that he or she could also be experiencing silent ischemia and not know it. Doctors may use an exercise stress test to determine silent ischemia. Also, a special monitor called a Holter monitor will record the heart rate and rhythm over the course of a day and determine if ischemia occurred.


The main ways to treat silent ischemia is to reduce certain behaviors that increase risk. This includes quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol and maintaining a healthy weight and diet. For those who are diagnosed with silent ischemia, there are some treatment options available. Most of these involve improving blood flow to the heart, which often requires prescription medications. Oxygen also may be given to increase the oxygen content of the blood that is reaching the heart. Other people may take medicines that relax blood vessels, enabling more blood to flow. In most cases this is all that is needed to fix the situation. For those not responding to treatment, they may need a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), such as balloon angioplasty, coronary artery bypass surgery, or a similar procedure.

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The heart is one of the essential components of human life. It was once also believed to be the center from where love and other emotions emanated. Many feel a heart can break and that it can know no bounds of love. Dr. Seuss’ “The Grinch” was said to be nasty because his heart was “two sizes too small.” Although there is mystery surrounding matters of the heart, there is much known about the physical makeup of the human heart. Here are seven facts about the human heart.

1. Heart attacks and heart disease may be viewed as an illness that primarly affects men. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, women have more cases of heart-related illnesses than men, and heart disease kills 500,000 American women, which is 50,000 more women than men. 2. A bigger heart isn’t necessarily a sign that a person is more inclined toward love. An enlarged heart is actually a medical condition, which can lead to heart failure. 3. A hearty laugh is good for the heart. This laugh attack can actually cause the lining of blood vessels to relax, enabling more blood to flow through for at least 45 minutes afterward. 4. Romantic endeavors in the bedroom can be as good for the heart as a brisk 15-minute walk. Intimate acts can burn up to 200 calories and be the cardiovascular exercise a person needs.

Seven facts about the human heart ...

5. A glass of wine can be good for the heart because of the antioxidant properties contained in grapes. Alcohol can also thin the blood, enabling better flow. Just be sure to stick to one or two drinks per day. Over-indulgence won’t make the heart healthier. 6. The heart is a fist-sized muscle that can beat an average of 100,000 times every day. In under a minute the heart can deliver oxygen-rich blood to every cell in the body. 7. A woman’s heart beats faster than a man’s. In some cases doctors are able to predict the gender of a fetus by the baby’s heart rate.

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Page S-6 - Shelton-Mason County Journal - Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011

February is Heart Month O

ur heart, next to our brain, is the most important organ in our body. And it is one organ that is easily impacted by what we eat and what we do (or don’t eat and do). Everyone needs a strong, healthy heart to keep living. Heart health conditions to be aware of include coronary heart disease, abnormal heart rhythm, heart valve disease, aorta problems, and a heart muscle disease called cardiomyopathy. A few common causes of heart disease include high blood sugar, second-hand smoke, stress, arthritis, and depression. Certain complications during pregnancy may also indicate a likelihood of developing heart disease in some women. Omega 3 fatty acids, however, appear to lower blood pressure and decrease the overall risk of heart disease and heart attacks. Studies show that fish oil, which is rich in omega-3s, may also reduce arrhythmias and the risk of stroke. At Mason General Hospital we take your heart health seriously. One way is through our Congestive Heart Failure classes, that are offered twice a year to help patients with this condition learn self-management skills. If you want more information on Congestive Heart Health please call 360-426-1611, and ask for MGH’s Education Department.

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There are many ways to maintain a healthy heart. Here are a few tips:

• Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes, while limiting fat – especially saturated fats and trans-fatty acids. • Cook with fats high in monounsaturates, such as canola and olive oils and some nuts. • Balance a healthy variety of protein from meat, dairy, vegetables. • Cut out foods high in cholesterol and saturated fats.

• Replace simple carbohydrates such as sugar, soda pop and sweets with complex carbohydrates, such as potatoes, pasta and whole-grain breads. • Eat smaller meals more often throughout the day. Don’t skip meals.

• Reduce sodium intake by avoiding pre-prepared foods and eliminate adding salt to your food. • Exercise daily.

• Drink plenty of water.

• Take your prescribed medications, such as high blood pressure medicines, as directed by your physician

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or CPR, is a life-saving method that has prevented the deaths of scores of individuals throughout the centuries. CPR is often used to keep a person alive until more in-depth medical attention can be provided. It’s an essential skill to know and can be a lifesaver for people of all ages. The American Heart Association reports that effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest, can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival. Despite these statistics, less than one-third of out-ofhospital sudden cardiac arrest victims receive bystander CPR. It could be because many people still do not know how to perform it. CPR has been around since 1740, when the Paris Academy of Sciences officially recommended mouth-to-mouth resuscitation for drowning victims. In 1891, Dr. Friedrich Maass performed the first documented chest compression in humans. Roughly 10 years later, successful chest compressions were used in human resuscitation. In the 1950s, it was determined that exhaled air was enough to provide oxygenation of another person. Peter Safar and James Elan, thusly, invented mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. In 1960, the American Red Cross officially adopted cardiopulmonary resuscitation and began to teach the public the techniques. The ability to do CPR is not based on age but rather body strength. Studies have shown that children as young as 9 years old can learn and retain CPR skills. It’s important to keep in mind that while CPR can keep a person alive, Automated External Defibrillators

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(AED) devices are needed to restore a natural heart rhythm to an individual who has suffered from cardiac arrest. Unless resuscitation is provided within minutes of collapse, an individual can rarely be saved. CPR training courses are provided for individuals at many places, often free of charge. Some hospitals even offer CPR training to new parents. Check with a hospital, medical provider or police station on where CPR can be learned.

Performing CPR Call 911

The first thing you should do if you suspect someone is having a heart attack is to call 911. Until help comes, if you are comfortable trying, follow these guidelines, courtesy of The Mayo Clinic. However, a CPR class is benefitial for everyone to learn.

Tilt head to clear airway

Put the person on his or her back on a firm surface. Kneel next to the person’s neck and shoulders. Open the person’s airway using the head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver. Put your palm on the person’s forehead and gently tilt the head back. Then with the other hand, gently lift the chin forward to open the airway.

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Cardiopulmonary resuscitation,

Put the baby or child on his or her back on a firm surface. Kneel next to the neck and shoulders and open the airway using the head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver. When breathing for a child cover both nose and mouth, keeping in mind the fact that a child or babies lung capacity is smaller than adults. If the heart has stopped, gently perform the same chest compressions with less depth, being careful not to injur the child while compressing.

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Place your index and middle fingers on the carotid artery located under the jaw just forward of where the ears are. If there is a weak

1. Place the heel of one hand over the center of the person’s chest, between the nipples. Place your other hand on top of the first hand. Keep your elbows straight and position your shoulders directly above your hands. 2. Use your upper body weight (not just your arms) as you push straight down on (compress) the chest 2 inches (approximately 5 centimeters). Push hard at a rate of 100 compressions a minute. 3. After 30 compressions, tilt the head back and lift the chin up to open the airway. Prepare to give two rescue breaths. Pinch the nose shut and breathe into the mouth for one second. If the chest rises, give a second rescue breath. If the chest doesn’t rise, repeat the head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver and then give the second rescue breath. That’s one cycle. If someone else is available, ask that person to give two breaths after you do 30 compressions. If you’re not trained in CPR and feel comfortable performing only chest compressions, skip rescue breathing and continue chest compressions at a rate of 100 compressions a minute until medical personnel arrive.

CPR on Babies and Children

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Check Pulse

Begin Chest Compressions

4. Continue CPR until there are signs of movement or until emergency medical personnel take over.

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Look for chest motion, listen for normal breath sounds and feel for the person’s breath on your cheek and ear. Gasping is not considered to be normal breathing. If the person isn’t breathing normally and you are trained in CPR, begin mouth-to-mouth breathing. If you believe the person is unconscious from a heart attack and you haven’t been trained in emergency procedures, skip mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing and proceed directly to chest compressions. Rescue breathing can be mouth-to-mouth breathing or mouth-to-nose breathing if the mouth is seriously injured or can’t be opened. 1. With the airway open (using the headtilt, chin-lift maneuver), pinch the nostrils shut for mouth-to-mouth breathing and cover the person’s mouth with yours, making a seal. 2. Prepare to give two rescue breaths. Give the first rescue breath -- lasting one second -and watch to see if the chest rises. If it does rise, give the second breath. If the chest does not rise, repeat the head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver and then give the second breath.

or unobvious heartbeat, begin chest compressions to restore circulation.


Check for normal breathing

Shelton-Mason County Journal - Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011 - Page S-5

202 Gaylene Wiseman  

Entry WNPA category 202