Cardiovascular disease covers a range of medical conditions that are a result of atherosclerosis. This is a process whereby arteries around your body are affected, causing them to narrow or dilate. There are heart conditions that a first aider should know how to deal with. Here are the Cardiovascular illnesses and how to deal with them.
Angina is a heart condition in which the heart muscle fails to get enough oxygen-rich blood. The chest pain that’s associated with angina usually occurs during a period of overexertion for example if the patient has been climbing stairs or carrying heavy objects. But it can happen anytime, even at rest. The symptoms of angina are quite similar to those of a heart attack, except they usually subside with rest. They include shortness of breath, sweating, chest pain, nausea, an increased pulse rate, a feeling of weakness and anxiety.
The treatment for angina is to ease the strain on the heart and minimize further damage. Put the casualty at rest and try to establish whether or not the patient has a history of heart conditions. The ideal position to put the casualty at rest is the W position. This is where the patient is seated on the floor with the legs drawn up then loosen tight clothing to allow them to breathe more easily. Find out if the casualty has medication already prescribed by a doctor.
Grab a jacket to keep the casualty warm and to protect them from the elements. Help the casualty to administer the medication. It may come in a spray or tablet form. You should expect relief from the patient. If the casualty is feeling better, then he or she should be able to continue doing what he was doing before, but it is suggested they stay clear of a heavy workload for some time. If the pain persists, call an ambulance.
A heart attack happens when a part of your heart muscle is deprived of oxygen and dies. It is more serious than angina and could lead to cardiac arrest. The chest pain that’s experienced during a heart attack is described as a “crushing vice-like” pain in the chest (at the center). It may radiate it to the jaw and arms. Alternatively, the casualty may experience a mild cramping sensation or abdominal pain. Other signs and symptoms of heart attack include ashen clammy skin, a rapid pulse that may also be irregular, shortness of breath, feeling faint or close to collapse, nausea and/or vomiting and an impending sense of doom.
Approach the casualty as before and put them at ease by resting him in the W position. Loosen any tight clothing. If the casualty has medication, help them to administer it and above all, call 999 to alert the emergency services. Don’t hesitate to call an ambulance as every second count when dealing with a heart-attack victim. Be prepared to carry out basic life support. If the casualty stops breathing normally, he or she goes into a condition known as cardiac arrest. If the casualty stops breathing normally, seek urgent medical help and begin basic life support.
Cardiovascular disease is just like any other disease. It can be taken care of if you use the right medication. These few tips are going to help a first aider handle patients suffering from these conditions.