How to Reduce the Risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is the leading cause of death in Europe with over 700,000 cases per year, and the UK representing a huge chunk of that, with at least 123 cases per 100,000 population, translating to around 76,000 deaths per year.
The reason these figures are so high is because of the nature of SCA, more specifically the helplessness many of us have against it. Sudden Cardiac Arrest can happen to anyone, at any time, anywhere. Nobody is safe from cardiac arrest, and whilst some people are more at risk than others, there certainly isn’t a way to be completely immune.
Whilst nobody is ever truly safe from a potential Sudden Cardiac Arrest, this doesn’t mean that deaths from SCA are unavoidable, and destined to rise with the population. If anything, as new technologies, awareness and initiatives by schools, councils, workplaces and more progress, the numbers of deaths from SCA should fall.
Here is a breakdown of what people can do to reduce the risk of, and decrease the number of deaths from, Sudden Cardiac Arrest:
What can you do?
Eating healthy is a great way to maintain a healthy heart, both at home and in the workplace. The foods we eat affect us more than you might think, in terms of mental stimulants, our mood, creativity and most importantly health.
Maintaining a varied and healthy diet at work will go a long way toward holding off some of the problems that can lead to a sudden cardiac arrest or an unhealthy heart.
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An active lifestyle is one of the best ways to keep your heart healthy, and there’s no reason this should be put on hold until you’re out of the office and on your way home, or the gym. It’s possible to keep your health drive going when at work, even if you’re only making slight changes to your daily routine, such as:
Going for walks on your lunch
Cycling/walking to work
Get up and chat to colleagues, instead of emailing them
Host meetings in unconventional places, like outside or during a brief walk.
You might be interested in: 10 Steps to a Healthier Office
Cut down on stress
Stress is a natural reaction to what life throws at you, and the fact you get stressed shows that you’re a healthy, well-rounded, human. However, this doesn’t mean that too much stress is good for you. In fact, too much stress can be bad for your heart.
Cutting down on stress (technically) reduces your chance of having a sudden cardiac arrest – if that’s not a good enough reason, we don’t know what is.
You might be interested in: The Definitive Guide to Managing Office Stress
What can your employer do?
Install a Defibrillator
One of the best ways to bring someone back from a Sudden Cardiac Arrest is by using a fast first aid response and a Defibrillator. With every passing minute, the chances of survival after an SCA decrease by ~10%, meaning by the time an ambulance arrives, it could already be late.
Defibrillators are becoming much more commonplace in offices, because of their incredible life-saving qualities, easy to use system and affordable price bracket.
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Fit water fountains
A small change, but one that steps in the right direction, would be installing water fountains around your office. Getting you daily fix of water, as opposed to sugary drinks, is a very healthy way to stay hydrated throughout the day. Promoting healthier choices at work is a good way to help employees to fight off the encroaching threat of a sudden cardiac arrest.
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Raise awareness of SCA
Despite being the number one killer in Europe, many people are unaware of what an SCA is, or know the difference between it and a heart attack. Awareness is a key part of preventing future SCA, and there’s no reason to say this shouldn’t happen in the workplace. Awareness days, fundraising, or even sharing a blog post such as this with your workforce can go a long way for bringing awareness to it and encouraging people to further educate themselves on the topic.
Host a training session
There are plenty of first aid and defibrillator training courses out there, most of which as easily affordable for a small business, and are invaluable in the event of an emergency. Training your staff on what to do when an emergency arises, or more specifically someone collapses due to cardiac arrest, cannot be overlooked – Having a trained first aider on the scene with the right equipment is half the battle when it comes to helping someone who has suffered SCA.
What can other people do?
Defibrillators in public places are a growing trend in the UK, as local councils and business start to see the benefit of having an accessible defibrillator, in reach of the public, to help combat SCA. Campaigning for more defibrillators in public places would make town centres, shopping centres, libraries etc, a safer place to be.
Educate from a younger age
Educating people in schools, is an important part of increasing awareness of the dangers of SCA and one of the only ways to revive a victim. Defibrillators in schools, as well as basic training for certain pupils and staff, will make our schools a much safer place, as well as creating a nation of lifesavers.
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Explore new avenues
Saving lives shouldn’t stop at the first sign of progress and idle along – it should be a constant push for accessibility, co-ordinating with new technologies and awareness. We think defibrillators should go through the same processes, and new ways of implementing looked into.
Defibrillators started off as big, clunky, machines confined to certain rooms in hospitals, and since then have evolved to be portable devices, which can be easily transported and used by anyone thanks to the voice guidance equipped on some of them. As far as the future of defibrillators goes, we’ve already seen ideas for drone-operated defibrillators and defibrillator maps, where people can quickly see where their nearest defibrillator is.
You might be interested in: ‘Defibrillator Maps’ are a new way of Saving Lives.