Tahoe chief’s Corner: Take a CPR class for American Heart Month | SierraSun.com

Tahoe chief’s Corner: Take a CPR class for American Heart Month

Mike Brown
Chief’s Corner

Mike Brown

February is American Heart Month, and with that we have many opportunities to educate ourselves about heart disease, what our individual risks are and what we can do to make a plan for prevention.

According to the American Heart Association, 67 million U.S. adults have high blood pressure, often known as the "silent killer" because it usually presents no symptoms. High blood pressure can damage your arteries, heart and other organs and increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.

It can be fatal if it's not treated. Regular health testing is one of the best ways for people to manage their health, and when it comes to blood pressure, it's important for people to know their numbers because detection of high blood pressure can be critical.

Make control your goal. If you know you have high blood pressure, take these steps to help get it under control:

• Ask your doctor what your blood pressure should be. Set up a goal to lower your pressure with your doctor and talk about how you can reach your goal.

• Take your blood pressure medicine as directed. If you have been directed by your doctor to take blood pressure medication, take it consistently and consult periodically with your doctor.

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• Proper nutrition and exercise also play important roles for your heart health. A heart-healthy diet and plenty of exercise are two important keys for optimal health and wellbeing. Exercise is a great way to boost your immunity, which is especially important during cold and flu season. Just a few minutes a day can help prevent simple bacterial and viral infections. Visit heart.org for more information on exercise and nutrition tips.

• Quit smoking — and if you don't smoke, don't start. Consult with your doctor for suggest tips and resources.

• Reduce sodium intake — consuming excessive amounts of sodium can raise blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about healthy eating and nutrition suggestions.

Another great tool for your heart health toolbox is knowing how to perform CPR and how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). CPR saves lives; it is the critical survival link that buys time for the patient.

The earlier you give CPR to a person in cardiac or respiratory arrest, the greater their chance of survival. CPR keeps oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and heart until defibrillation or other advanced care can restore normal heart action.

AED responders can provide defibrillation within the first few minutes of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. This dramatically increases the patient's chance of survival. To register for a CPR/AED class visit nltfpd.net.

"Chief's Corner" is a regular feature from North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District Chief Mike Brown, offering information, tips and education material on fire safety, emergency preparedness and other pertinent topics.