Having the mindset to save lives is knowing what to do, when you need to do it, and confidently acting upon it. Everything you need to perform these five basic life saving skills you were born with. Your brain, your hands, and your quick actions. In an emergency, recognizing there is a need and executing the skill is the difference between life and death!
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) saves lives! Whatever the CAUSE, the heart is no longer pumping blood to the brain and throughout the body. Where blood flows oxygen goes. Chest compressions allow the blood to circulate again. There is only ONE outcome when cardiac arrest happens if CPR is NOT performed and that is DEATH. Fast action is required because chances of survival decreases 7-10% for every minute CPR is not started. Within two minutes of the heart stopping brain damage can develop rapidly and brain death start to occur 4 to 6 minutes if no CPR and defibrillation has been initiated.
2. HEIMLICH MANEUVER
When an individual airway is obstructed (choking) air can not pass through the throat or windpipe into the lungs cutting off oxygen to the brain. Obstruction can be caused from food or any foreign body large enough to occlude the passage. Adults are usually occluded by food. Children often swallow small objects that cause the occlusion. The Heimlich Maneuver is performed to clear the passage way. Upward thrust applies pressure on the diaphragm which then compresses the chest cavity, forcing air out the lungs through the windpipe dislodging the object. You may need to perform abdominal thrust (Heimlich Maneuver) on yourself if no one is around to help.
This skill has proven to provide extremely high success rate amongst children and adult. In unsuccessful cases an individual will become unconscious. You will then need to use the skills you have learned in CPR.
3. USE OF AN AED
Automatic External Defibrillator is a portable electronic device that automatically recognizes the life-threatening heart arrhythmia of ventricular fibrillation. Once properly placed the AED can provide life-saving intervention if an individual is experiencing cardiac arrest due to this lethal rhythm, by shocking the heart (defibrillation). Remember with sudden cardiac arrest the heart does not pump blood. This lethal rhythm or arrhythmia instead causes the heart to quiver. The shock is administered to eliminate the arrhythmia and hopefully restore a regular heart beat.
The use of an AED combined with chest compression provides a greater chance of survival. Whenever a defibrillator is present use it first by following the prompts. Obtaining the proper training will guide you through the steps so you may help save a life.
4. RECOGNIZING THE SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF HEART ATTACK
Cardiovascular diseases (heart diseases) are the leading cause of death GLOBALLY. Cardiovascular diseases are disorders of the heart and blood vessels and include coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, and rheumatic heart disease. A VAST majority die from a heart attack or a stroke. Heart attack (acute myocardial infarction), occurs when the artery that supplies the heart muscle is buildup of fat, cholesterol, and other substances over time. This build up (plaque) thickens and stiffens the wall of the artery causing a severe decrease in blood flow (blockage), or is cut off completely. Scar tissue begins to replace healthy heart tissue. Not all heart attacks involve chest pain, even if discomfort is present. Knowing what to look for can reduce the risk.
5. RECOGNIZING THE SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF A STROKE
Stroke (cerebrovascular accident), occurs when blood vessels which carries oxygenated blood to the brain is blocked. Remember where blood flows oxygen goes. Brain cells begin to die within a few minutes due to the blockage, this is a medical emergency. Stroke can occur at any age but risk increases as you get older. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and stroke so that timely treatment can be initiated to help save a life.
In conclusion, take action and learn these basic life saving skills. The life you save may be that of your loved one.