The annual number of deaths from cardiovascular diseases in India has been projected to rise 2.26 million in 1990 to 4.77 million in 2021.
What to do when a friend or colleague is having a cardiac arrest
The annual number of deaths from cardiovascular diseases in India has been projected to rise 2.26 million in 1990 to 4.77 million in 2021. Therefore, with such high statistics, individuals and workplaces must be equipped with responsive employees who know what can be done if their friends of colleagues are having a heart attack at work.
How does one find out when someone around them is having a heart attack?
Symptoms of a heart attack are visible at least ten minutes prior to the attacks. Therefore, a workplace that is equipped with people who are well trained in handling a person having a heart attack will be better prepared and can define a life and death situation. Hence it is imperative to educate employees about warning signs of a potential heart attack.
While symptoms of a heart attack may differ from person to person, the common symptoms include the following:
o Dizziness and lightheadedness
o Cold sweats
o Shortness of breath despite not having done any strenuous activities
o Heavy feeling in the chest, jaw or arm
o Vomiting and nausea
Steps that you can take when someone around you is having a heart attack
As heart attacks progress fast, therefore, time is important here. Once you have identified the symptoms, following are some first aid steps that an initial responder can do during the onset of a heart attack:
o Call for medical help as soon as possible – it is very important to get medical help on site as quickly as possible. The patient should not be transported to any vehicle or medical facility himself because any physical activity can cause a premature cardiac arrest
o Ensure that the patient stops all physical activities and make them lie on their back in a well-ventilated area – make sure that there are no people around the patient lurking around as this may make is difficult for the medical team to reach them
o The patient must take their medication – if the patient has had heart problem before, they must have their prescribed medication with them all the time. Therefore, once they are in a resting position, they must take their medication. However, if the condition does not become better, they should take a tablet of aspirin which will make the blood thin out and help in preventing blood clots from occurring
o Someone must be by the patient’s side at all times – heart attacks are unpredictable, as they can become worse at any given time. Therefore, someone should be attending and monitoring the patients at all times. One can perform a CPR is necessary
While it is important to train people in handling heart attacks, we must also keep in mind that prevention is better than sure. Here are a few things that workplaces can do to prevent heart attacks in offices:
o Offer fresh fruits and salads in the cafeteria
o Organize healthy activities such as yoga sessions and encourage employees to participate in them
Begin CPR with chest compressions. When the heart stops, the lack of oxygenated blood can cause brain damage in only a few minutes. A person may die within eight to 10 minutes. CPR can keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs until more definitive medical treatment can restore a normal heart rhythm. By being vigilant, identifying the signs of cardiac arrest and quick response can actually save somebody’s life.
The author is a senior consultant – Cardiac Sciences | Non-Invasive Cardiology | Interventional Cardiology at Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh