Learn to Save a Life in Ten Minutes

Knowledge Is Power

Heart disease is the No. 1 Cause of Death in the United States.
Stroke is the Third Leading Cause. Cancer is Number Two.
In the US, strokes are the No. 1 Cause of Adult Disability.
Heart disease is also way up there.
Source: CDC Fast Facts


Heart Disease

Although heart disease is often thought of as a “Man’s disease,” it is the leading cause of death for both American men and women. In fact, women in America account for close to 50% of Heart disease deaths.

Heart disease is caused by a narrowing of the Coronary arteries which the body uses to supply blood to the heart.

When blood supply is cut off to the heart, a Heart attack happens. A condition called Angina occurs when some part of the heart temporarily does not receive enough blood. The symptoms for both are generally the same. And people who have suffered episodes of Angina have greater risks of suffering a Heart attack.

Cardiac Arrest

Now another condition a person with or without Heart disease may suffer is a Cardiac arrest. This happens when there is a sudden loss of heart function. This condition often results if the heart’s lower chambers suddenly start beating rapidly, chaotically or both causing the heart to stop pumping blood. Needless to say, death occurs within minutes after the heart stops. Cardiac arrests are also caused by other factors such as trauma, electrocution, drowning, drug overdose or choking.

Cardiac arrest may be reversed if CPR (or Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) is performed and a defibrillator is used to shock the heart to restore a normal rhythm immediately. A common warning sign for a Cardiac arrest is a sudden loss of consciousness and not breathing or the person has become unresponsive and has no pulse.

Learning the Signs of Cardiac arrest and How to perform CPR alone can help you save a life.

Heart Attack

Although there are Heart attacks that are sudden or intense (as in Hollywood Style) or the ones where almost anybody can tell what is going on, there are many Heart attacks which are nothing like what we normally see on TV or the movies.

Most Heart attacks, like some Cardiac arrests, start slow, especially for women. Here are some signs to look for:

1. Chest discomfort – mostly in the center of the chest, It could come and go. The discomfort could feel like a slight pressure or squeezing pain.
2. Discomfort in other parts of the upper body – discomfort or pain could be in one or both arms, the neck, the upper back or the jaw.
3. Shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing
4. Others – including but not limited to nausea or light-headedness.

Some of the other symptoms particularly for women are dizziness, nausea, vomiting or indigestion. Also excessive and unexplained sweating or sudden fatigue.

If you feel that any of these signs are present:

1. Start CPR.
2. Call or tell somebody to call 911.
3. If an Automated external defibrillator (AED) is available and a trained person is available, use it as soon as possible. Otherwise continue doing CPR until the ambulance arrives and takes over.

Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Stayin’ Alive

CPR is used when a person has stopped breathing and has gone into sudden cardiac arrest. Lay the unconscious person on their back on a hard surface, such as the floor or on top of a low table.

Put your palm on top of the other and position the heel of your lower hand directly on the center of the person’s chest (between the nipples).

Push down about 1.5 inches at a rate of 100 or more per minute. Some people count quickly and push as they count. Or push down to the beat as they hum to the Bee Gees song “Stayin’ Alive“.

With the person’s heart not pumping, these “chest compressions will move blood with oxygen to the heart and the brain. And it will prepare the heart to start up its own rhythm when a “shock” is delivered with a defibrillator.


A Stroke is a disease. It occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood it needs, so it starts to die.

Common Symptom are:

1. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
2. Sudden confusion or, trouble speaking.
3. Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
4. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance and coordination.
5. Sudden and severe headache with no known cause.

If any of these happens, it is wise to act fast and remember that word FAST.

F– FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A– ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S– SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
T– TIME: If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately. Source: www.stroke.org


As mentioned earlier one cause of Cardiac arrests is though Choking and this could be more common than you think.

Like Heart attacks or Strokes, Choking can happen suddenly and it can also be fatal. But the hard part about a choking victim is that not only can the victim not breathe, the victim can also not speak or communicate well.

They can also lose consciousness, they could be uncooperative or they cannot call for help. And anybody in the same area who can provide the necessary help may only have a few seconds to do so. And usually they have to do so in a sudden, a confusing or even a scary situation.

Now one of the best ways to go about helping a choking adult is to stay calm but act fast and immediately perform what is called a Heimlich Maneuver. In fact, you can even learn how to do it on yourself, if in case you suddenly find yourself choking and there is no one there to help you.

Also it is not that hard to learn how to do this Life-saving procedure. Online, you can check out how at the Heimlich Institute Website.


February is American Heart Month.
May is National Stroke Awareness Month.

If you want to help save a life, email the link to this article.

Visit the National Stroke Association website and access quick links for posters and reminders on what to do if somebody is suffering a potential stroke.

Something to carry in your purse or wallet, click here and print.

Something to post at the bulletin board or in your work place or work area.

Practical Online Learning and Application Series
Recommended Reading:

American Stroke Association Website
American Heart Association Website
Centers For Disease Control (CDC) And Prevention Website
February – American Heart Month Reference
May – National Stroke Awareness Month Reference