Heart attack - JASE Medical

These Days are The Most Deadly for Heart Attacks

(Heart healthy hacks series)

According to the American Heart Association. the 3 deadliest days in the calendar year for cardiac deaths are: in first place, December 25th, second is December 26th  and third deadliest is January 1st .

There are several possible reasons for this phenomena- from the increased stress surrounding the holiday season to poor dietary habits and alcohol use. This time of year also can bring many mixed emotions of loved ones not with us anymore, along with monetary and declining health of ourselves or loved ones. However, with a little planning and self-care you can decrease the odds of becoming a statistic and enjoy the holiday season.

Things we can control over the holidays:

  • Our diet: It is very easy, with all the hustle and business during this time of year to neglect your diet and eat whatever sugary foods find their way into the breakroom or home. Your health will suffer if you don’t take charge and plan for success. This doesn’t mean depriving yourself of a holiday goodie, but it does mean using moderation and self-control.
  • Our attitude: I often hear people say they hate this time of year. They often state it is all the little things they have to do. We will delve into ways to set boundaries and time management skills in this post.
  • Our thoughts: As Dr Caroline Leaf, neuropsychiatrist points out: thoughts occupy mental real estate in our brains. Find out how we can change our thoughts, leading to less stress and a more peaceful holiday season.
  • Our activities and stress level: Filling our lives with activities we really don’t want to do or have little meaning sets you up for depression and a downward spiral of emotions. Manage stress through eliminating meaningless chores and responsibilities taken on during past years. This will free you up to experience a fulfilling life rooted in meaning and purpose.

5 Tips for heart healthy eating over the holidays

I reached out to fellow nurse Mary Yuter, founder of  Heart to Soul Cardiac Wellness  for some heart healthy snacks and tips to successfully navigate the holidays:

For cardiac health, here are 5 snack pointers:

1) Cayenne pepper in coffee or cacao. Cayenne pepper is a vasodilator and acts as a blood thinner.

2) Dark chocolate 70% and greater for the magnesium and antioxidant benefits. We are all deficient in magnesium, and the heart loves magnesium!

3) Eat a sliced clove (not bulb) of raw garlic to act as a blood thinner. Cut it into slices first and wait at least 15 seconds for a compound to turn from Allin to Allicin, the magic blood thinning property. Then enjoy! I do tell my clients to have garlic before flying-hey-it may get them an empty seat next to them on the plane!

4) A banana a day also keeps the heart doctor away due to the potassium that the heart also loves.

5) Fruits with pectin such as apples and pears are great for taking down cholesterol. Add cinnamon and you have blood glucose control!

Snack idea: Nature’s Carmel: a square of dark chocolate with a date (antimicrobial, antiparasitic) and a brazil nut (selenium and healthy fat)

  • A great trick to combat the holiday parties is to eat before you go to the party.
  • Bring a dish you will eat, and stick with that.
  • Allow yourself a treat, that’s it-not a diving board into the pool of the dessert table!
  • Remember-you are the boss of your taste buds and if your hips could weigh in, they would be yelling at your taste buds!

Mary goes on to state, “Be the positive example for others by your actions.”

In addition, limit or avoid alcohol altogether. Alcohol can cause depression, leading to overeating and poor food choices. Also check out the American Heart Association’s Heart-Happy Holiday Guide for more heart healthy tips and recipes.

With a little planning, you will be able to enter 2024 without having to shed those extra pounds and more importantly, decrease your chances of a cardiac event.

Note: Self-care also means staying on top of your prescription medications. Check out Jase Daily for your year’s supply of chronic medications.

- Brooke Lounsbury, RN

Medical Content Writer

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Medical Emergency-Sudden Cardiac Arrest

A sudden cardiac arrest occurs when a disruption in the heart’s electrical activity causes an irregular heartbeat (ventricular fibrillation) or a dangerously fast heartbeat (ventricular tachycardia). This is different from a heart attack. A heart attack is caused by a blockage that stops blood flow to a part of the heart. A cardiac arrest can result from the blockage.

Either way, the brain and organs don’t get the blood and oxygen required to sustain life. Initiating immediate treatment by restoring the hearts normal rhythm can prevent organ damage and even death. More than 350,000 sudden cardiac arrest events occur outside the hospital, with 7 in 10 of these occurring in the home every year.

 Less than half of cardiac arrest victims (45.7%) get the immediate help they need before emergency responders arrive.

Lifesaving technology- AED

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a lightweight, portable device. It delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart when it detects an abnormal rhythm and changes the rhythm back to normal. It can prompt the user when to administer CPR and when to defibrillate.

The AED uses voice prompts, lights and text to tell the rescuer the steps to take. AEDs may have two sets of pads — adult pads and child pads. For CPR, anyone 1 year or older who hasn’t gone through puberty is considered a child.

According to  American Heart Association , survival rate of AED use from bystanders versus not using AED was dramatic, according to  research in the American Heart Association’s journal “Circulation”.

An international team of researchers looked at 49,555 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests that occurred in major U.S. and Canada cities. They analyzed a key subgroup of these arrests, those that occurred in public.

Findings included:

  • Patients shocked by a bystander were significantly more likely to survive discharge (66.5% versus 43.0%) and be discharged with favorable functional outcome (57.1% versus 32.7%) than patients initially shocked by emergency medical services.
  • Cardiac arrest victims who received a shock from a publicly available AED that was administered by a bystander had 2.62 times higher odds of survival to hospital discharge and 2.73 times more favorable outcomes compared to victims who first received an AED shock after emergency responders arrived.
  • Without a bystander using AED shock therapy, 70% of cardiac arrest patients either died or survived with impaired brain function.

Time is of the essence.

According to the NIH, CPR plus defibrillation within 3–5 min of collapse can produce survival rates as high as 49–75%!

Who is at risk for sudden cardiac arrest?

  • Most cardiac arrests occur in men
  • Coronary artery disease accounts for over 80% of cases
  • Enlarged heart (cardiomyopathy)
  • Heart valve disease
  • Long QT syndrome
  • Diabetic
  • Smoker
  • Genetic- family history of cardiac arrest
  • Obesity
  • Respiratory arrest-pneumonia or seizure disorders can lead to a person stop breathing,
  • Injury such as a hard blow to the chest from sports related activity (hockey, baseball) or accident
  • Sleep apnea
  • Low levels of potassium and/or magnesium
  • Stimulant drugs- methamphetamines
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • And unfortunately, no known risk factors- some suffer cardiac arrest for no apparent reason

Symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest are immediate and severe and include:

  • No pulse.
  • No breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Chest discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart palpitations
  • Cardiac arrest can occur with no warning

When to use an AED

  • If you see a person faint or if you find a person already unconscious, first confirm that the person cannot respond. The person may not move, or his or her movements may look like a seizure.
  • You can shout at or gently shake the person to make sure he or she is not sleeping.
  • Check the person’s breathing and pulse. If the person is not breathing and has no pulse or has an irregular heartbeat, use the AED as soon as possible.

How to and when to use an AED

Check out our downloadable pdf on the difference between a heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest and steps to take

Get trained in CPR and AED use if you aren’t already

Take a CPR/AED course and rehearse steps. The longer CPR and AED is delayed the more likely the victim will suffer long term disabilities or die. Check with your local health departments, fire stations, Red Cross and emergency preparedness facilities to locate and take the combined CPR/AED class. Be sure that everyone in your family/group knows CPR and AED use.

Choosing a home AED

When looking for a home AED there are a few things to consider.

  • Check with insurance-If you or anyone in your household has risk factors that could justify the purchase of one, contact your insurance provider and see if it would be covered. These devices aren’t cheap, with models starting at $1200.00 and up.
  • Warranty and repair policies-Since these devices are costly, carefully review their warranty and return policies.
  • Make sure they are FDA approved– FDA approval means that the devices have been tested and are safe for public use.
  • Ease of use– This includes clear visual and audio cues. If the user is hearing or vision impaired, it will be important to test the device to make sure they can see/hear/understand the prompts.
  • Cost of maintaining AED– pads, batteries, leads and general maintenance can all add up.
  • Is the AED water, dust, impact resistant? – even though you don’t use it in water, if there is a chance the AED can get wet or be exposed to moisture, dust, dirt or could sustain an impact, you will want to take this feature into consideration.
  • Age ranges– Consider the age the unit will most likely be used on. Different AED devices deliver different shock intensity. If you feel you may need to use the device on a very young child research brands that carry appropriate shock for them.
  • Reliability record– check independent reviews, do your homework before purchase. The worst scenario would be for the AED to malfunction or not work at all during a cardiac emergency.
  • Size and portability– Most AEDs on the market today only weigh a few pounds, ad most come with a carrying case that can hold extra pads and supplies. If you choose one that doesn’t have ample room to store extra supplies, consider buying a pack to store the AED and supplies. Be sure to clearly mark on the outside that it is an AED.

- Brooke Lounsbury, RN

Medical Content Writer

Lifesaving Medications

Everyone should be empowered to care for themselves and their loved ones during the unexpected.

Recent Posts

Keeping you informed and safe.

Join Our Newsletter

Our mission is to help you be more medically prepared. Join our newsletter and follow us on social media for health and safety tips each week!

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