What is Emergency Oxygen?

Emergency oxygen will dramatically increase a victim’s chances of surviving Sudden Cardiac Arrest.

The use of emergency oxygen is now becoming accepted as essential for the recovery of patients in life-threatening situations. This is especially relevant for Sudden Cardiac Arrest, the world’s biggest killer.

Increase your chances

Outside a hospital and without treatment, you only have a 1% chance of surviving and a fast response is crucial – for every minute after an arrest, your chances fall by 10%. The first step is to call an ambulance. But, with average response times in the UK being over 11 minutes – defibrillation and CPR are essential.

If it is applied prior to defibrillation, Emergency Oxygen will increase the effectiveness of CPR.
If used immediately afterwards, it helps to prevent the re-arresting which currently affects 1-6 patients.

All our cells require oxygen to function and a constant supply is vital – particularly for the heart and brain which can only survive for three minutes without it.
Every day, one in seven patients in UK hospitals receive emergency oxygen therapy to help with their recovery.

However, during emergencies like strokes, traumas, severe asthma or heart attacks your body struggles to take in oxygen. This greatly reduces your chances of survival.

Even reaching a patient quickly and giving them mouth-to-mouth resuscitation might not be enough.

What is Emergency Oxygen?

In a normal environment, our air is made up of 21% oxygen. After being diluted with water and carbon dioxide, it drops to just 16%.
This falls even lower by the time it’s moved through the body to where it’s needed – it’s only just enough to keep someone alive.

Therefore, a fast response with a supply of higher concentrated oxygen can make all the difference.

Although the benefits are clear, the idea of delivering Emergency Oxygen without medical training may seem daunting.

Martek’s Emergency Oxygen equipment is specifically designed for workplace first aiders and is as simple as possible to administer.

The correct and safe use of Emergency Oxygen can now be taught to anybody as an addition to a basic first aid course.

You can train with 7 colleagues in this lifesaving equipment. The training can take place in a location of your choice, including your workplace.

You spend 8 hours a day in your workplace with your colleagues, meaning the chances of needed to perform First Aid here is much higher than other locations.

Will you learn how Emergency Oxygen can help to save lives? Find out more.

Firefighters Take No Risks With Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Firefighters face danger every day, helping to keep others safe. But the danger doesn’t stop once they’re back at the station.

“We’ve used AED’s a few times now on firefighters whilst at work – with success”

Alan Standworth is a Firefighter in the Greater Manchester area and is all too aware of the importance of AED’s.

Whilst there isn’t a ruling for Fire stations to have AED’s installed on site, those who know the power of these devices are taking no risks.

“Every pump in Manchester has an AED, and each station has one on the wall outside for the public to access should they need it “

Firefighters at high risk

According to the American Heart Association, it’s as important for firefighters themselves to have AED access, rather than just another tool in their life-saving kit.

Denish Smith directs the First Responder Health and Safety Lab at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.

“Fire service statistics had long indicated that sudden cardiac events were a leading cause of line of duty death among firefighters,”

Firefighters are more likely to suffer a cardiac event after fire-fighting versus station duties, added Smith.

The research still hasn’t shown why so many firefighters killed on the job die from Sudden Cardiac Arrest.

Researchers examined autopsy data from 627 male firefighters, ages 18 to 65. These died between 1999 and 2014, including 276 cardiac cases and 351 trauma cases.

82% of those who died had evidence of coronary heart disease, narrowing of the heart arteries or enlarged hearts.

Having an enlarged heart or evidence of a prior heart attack were each tied to a six-fold increase in the risk of sudden cardiac death, the study found. Having a coronary artery that was 75 per cent narrowed was tied to a nine-fold rise in risk.

On the job

The study can’t prove whether or how working as a firefighter might make heart disease more likely. But several aspects of the job could explain the connection, Smith said.

Disruptive sleep patterns, high levels of occupational stress, exposure to smoke and chemicals in the air. These all contribute to heart problems.

There are more risk factors involved in firefighting than other jobs. It’s not clear if firefighter’s risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest is higher or lower than other lines of work.

“However, the research clearly shows that the stress of firefighting – the heavy muscular work, heat stress, sympathetic nervous system activation, and exposure to smoke – can trigger a cardiac event in individuals with the underlying disease,” Smith said.

One limitation of the study is that the autopsies didn’t have uniform descriptions of heart disease or criteria for defining an enlarged heart, the authors note. Researchers also lacked data on certain risk factors for heart diseases like smoking or high blood pressure.

Firefighter portrait
AED’s have been used on the job

Decreasing the risk

“In essence, for persons who have developed underlying heart disease, it is dangerous to perform heavy work, especially in stressful situations that produce a surge of adrenaline and related hormones that challenge the cardiovascular system through a variety of mechanisms,” said Dr Stefanos Kales, a researcher at Harvard Medical School.

We often associate Sudden Cardiac Arrest with unhealthy lifestyle choices. Whilst these add to the risk, anybody is at risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest at any time.

Even the super fit, such as young footballers, can have underlying heart conditions, which can go unnoticed until it’s too late.

Firefighters, who have underlying conditions or develop them in the line of their work, are at increased risk due to the physically demanding nature of the job, but that’s not to say less physical roles are without danger.

The day to day stress of your daily commute, work or home life can all increase your risk factor, along with lack of exercise and unhealthy eating habits.

With the chance of survival dropping by 10% per minute after Sudden Cardiac Arrest, you need an AED on hand within minutes to survive.

“We’ve had to use the AED on the public and firefighters on the job. My local gym has the same one which is comforting. It’s so easy to use.” said Alan

Where’s your nearest AED? If you’re unsure, click here for peace of mind.

Airline AED: Up In The Air?

Here are some quick facts surrounding airline Automatic External Defibrillators:

• Fewer than 1 in 10 people survive Sudden Cardiac Arrest
• If an AED is used in the first minute of SCA, you have a 90% chance of survival
• Each minute without an AED reduces your chance of survival by 10%
• An AED is simple enough to be used by children and requires no training
Aircraft DO NOT have to carry an AED by law
 
Scary isn’t it?
 

Picture this…

You check in at a hotel. As you’re welcomed the receptionist explains what in the case of a fire, it’ll take at least an hour to get you out of the building.
 
Oh, and that there are no fire extinguishers in the building.
 
You’d walk straight back out and write a pretty damning review on TripAdvisor.
 
Yes, it’s unlikely, but this is the exact position you’re in when with an airline who doesn’t carry an AED.
 

No numbers

As it stands, there are no requirements for airlines to report statistics of Sudden Cardiac Arrest on board, so we aren’t sure how often this occurs.
Research suggests that medical emergencies happen to 1 in 10-40,000 passengers.
 
This may sound like a low number, but when you consider that 800,000 people take off and land in the UK alone each day, that perception changes.
 
The US operates differently. In 2001 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) forced all US airlines to carry AED’s, unlike the European authorities. They left it up to the airline.
 
The FAA stated “An estimated 350,000 Americans are struck by cardiac arrest each year. Cardiac arrest stops the effective pumping of blood to the heart. An abnormal heart rhythm called “ventricular fibrillation” is the most common form of treatable cardiac arrest. Chances of survival can be as high as 90 per cent if defibrillation — electrical shocks that stimulate the heart to resume normal beating — is provided during the first minutes following a collapse.”
 
So, airlines in Europe have a choice whether they carry AED’s or not.
 

Excuses

The official statement from FlyBMI (BMI Regional):
 
“Due to the size of flybmi’s aircraft and that they operate single crew cabins, it can be difficult for cabin crew members to operate an AED and attend to other safety procedures that may occur. With this and the fact that the route network means that aircraft are never more than 20 mins from a diversion airfield should an emergency arise as meant that for now, the airline has opted not to carry them. Furthermore, all cabin crew are trained in CPR.”
 
Put into simple terms, airlines may use the following excuses:
 
Excuse: We don’t have the capacity to carry more medical equipment now.
Reply: AED’s are small and compact. The LifeLine VIEW weights only 1.4kg.
 
Excuse: We can’t train staff to ensure a trained member is always on board.
Reply: Anyone can use an AED. Seriously, children have used it.
 
Excuse: The low number of Sudden Cardiac Arrest cases don’t make it a worthwhile investment (maybe not as cold but you get the picture…)
Reply: 1-2 seats on a single flight would cover the cost of an AED, and they’re built to last
 
Excuse: We have multinational crews. We would have to have instructions in each language.
Reply: On-screen instructions mean anyone can use the Lifeline VIEW. Whether they’re hard of hearing, don’t speak English or are operating in noisy environments.
 
One airline who aren’t taking the risk is EasyJet. They’ve ensured their fleet all carry the Lifeline VIEW, unlike Eastern Airways, Flybe or FlyBMI.
Virgin have had AED’s on every flight since 1990.
 
Ryanair, often pointed out for low-cost and “Add-ons” don’t skimp when it comes to passenger safety, ensuring their aircraft all carry AED’s too.
 

Conclusion

Unlike the US, there are no laws forcing European airlines to carry AED’s. The facts of how life-saving this equipment is there and some airlines choose to ignore that.
 
The cost and weight aren’t a valid argument for a business who makes its money with 1000’s of people’s lives in their hands each day.
 
We can all agree, airlines should all choose to put their passenger safety first and carry an AED.
 
You can find more information on the Lifeline AED here.

Heart disease & the top 10 causes of death

54% of worldwide death belong to the top 10 causes.
Any guess at number one?

We’ve spoken about the risk of heart disease, especially cases of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) at length previously – and it’s with good reason.

In the last 15 years, Ischaemic (meaning “reduced blood supply”) heart disease and stroke have held the top spot for leading causes of death, with a combined total of 15.2 million.

heart disease: Global top 10 death graph
Heart Disease: Top 10 deaths worldwide

 

But why?

Why is it important to know why people die? It’s useful for assessing a country’s health system and then allow authorities to focus their efforts. Countries with an increase in particular health issues can then work to combat these through programmes and education – like this fantastic blog.

Top 10

One of the most common thought top causes of death is cancer. This can likely be attributed to the devastating nature of the disease. Cancer impacts on younger lives and the charitable work undertaken to combat its effects.

Worldwide, we see trachea, bronchus and lung cancers as the 6th most common cause of death. This is probably down to high smoking rates in some parts of the world.

heart disease: High income countries graph
Heart Disease: Deaths in high-income countries

 

Cancer does move up the scale, but only when the data is separated into high-income countries. In this data set colon, rectum, and breast cancer move into the top 10 causes of death with a combined total.
Even then, it’s still less than that of Ischaemic heart disease.

Not just the ticker

Ischaemic heart disease does lose its top spot in some data sets – when isolating low-income countries.

In this data set, lower respiratory infections and diarrhoeal diseases take 1st and 2nd.
These, along with 6 other top causes of death taken from this data fall into the communicable, maternal, neonatal, nutritional and injuries categories. Essentially meaning they are passed from person to person (malaria, tuberculosis etc.) or down to a lesser advanced healthcare system.

 

heart disease: Low-income graph
Heart Disease: Deaths in low-income countries

 

Still, Ischaemic heart disease remains in the top 10 (3rd) cause of death affecting >50 per 100,000 of the population.

Heart Disease and Stroke

Ischaemic heart disease is where atherosclerosis, a blockage of the coronary arteries, led to a reduced supply of oxygenated blood. This can cause angina or a heart attack.
Without immediate treatment, a heart attack can lead to death.

Similar to the causes of Ischaemic heart disease, a stroke occurs through a blockage of blood supply, this time to the brain.

The causes of these “blockages” vary from person to person and are still debated. However, most agree the following lifestyle choices are likely to increase the risk of Ischaemic heart disease and stroke:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High amounts of sugar in the blood due to insulin resistance or diabetes

A healthy diet, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight and managing stress are also important factors in preventing Ischaemic heart disease.

Frighteningly, Sudden Cardiac Arrest can strike anybody at any time. We’ve recently written about how young footballers and Ranulph Fiennes have been impacted by SCA.

Treatment

In the unfortunate case of SCA, you need CPR and an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to be applied immediately, each minute without these reduces survival by 10% per minute.

Where an AED is applied in the first minute, the chances of survival stand at 90%, dropping to 70% in 3 minutes.

Do you have an AED within 1 minute of where you’re sitting right now? To find out more about life-saving  AED’s, click here.

Five Summer Foods to Lower Blood Pressure

Last week we wrote about how the summer sun affects your blood pressure, but what about seasonal food?

Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries

It’s a little late for Wimbledon strawberries and cream, but you may want to make an exception.
Berries are rich in flavonoid, which can improve blood flow as blood vessels relax.

Avocado

The Instagram lovers favourite is packed with potassium, an important mineral for helping your kidneys filter fluids from the blood, which in turn lowers blood pressure.

Celery

Famously (and incorrectly) known for containing fewer calories than it takes to digest, celery isn’t the go-to food of choice for most.

Celery does, however, contain NBP (phthalates) which can also relax artery walls and boost blood flow.
A study found a -1.9 mmHg drop when eating 92 grams of celery a day for those aged 40-59.

Coriander

Josh Axe, a clinical nutritionist, says eating this herb will cut your blood pressure reading.

As well as having a positive role in modulating gut activity, but its diuretic effect on the body can be very helpful to those with high blood pressure.

Leafy greens

34 studies have shown eating 240-960mg of magnesium a day lowered blood pressure after 3 months.

The problem here though is that you’ll need 1.5kg of greens to get that amount of magnesium. So, it may be an idea to add other sources of magnesium such as nuts, dark chocolate and supplements.

Lifestyle

That said, there are other aspects to consider.

Being more active day to day, overall diet and other lifestyle choices (smoking, drinking etc.) all have an effect on blood pressure and the health of your heart.

The terrifying fact of the sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is it can strike even the healthiest and otherwise healthy explorers without warning.
Without a defibrillator minutes away, your chances of surviving SCA is virtually none.

You wouldn’t work in a building without a fire extinguisher, so why spend 1/3 of your day without a defibrillator on hand?

New Study: More young footballers are dying from heart problems

20 years of heart screening data, taken from footballers aged 16 on the verge of turning pro, has shown that most died about seven years after a heart check that showed no problem.

As a result, the FA has increased the number of cardiac assessments for young footballers from one to three

Cameroonian international Marc-Vivien Foé, 28, played in the Premier League. The midfielder collapsed while playing for his country against Colombia in France during the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup. An autopsy found he had a hereditary heart condition.

Bolton Wanderers star Fabrice Muamba, 23, had a cardiac arrest on the pitch during an FA Cup tie against Tottenham Hotspur and nearly died.

Sanjay Sharma, professor of inherited diseases and sports cardiology at St George’s University of London and chair of the expert cardiac committee of the Football Association, led the data review.

The results found a death rate of one in 14,700 rather than the previous estimates of one in 200,000.

Between 1997 and 2016, more than 11,000 players filled in a health questionnaire and were given a physical examination, 12-lead ECG and echocardiography. Of these players, 42 (0.38%) had cardiac diseases that could cause sudden cardiac death. Hardly any had symptoms of any sort.

Footballers are among some of the fittest athletes in the world. Their fitness regime, diet and lifestyle are all carefully considered and programmed by teams of specialists.

How does your lifestyle stack up in comparison to these athletes, who are at risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA)?

If the worst should happen, is there an AED within 10 minutes of where you are right now? Without that, your chances of survival are around 1%.

Martek Lifecare’s Lifeline is the world’s simplest AED to use – exactly what’s needed in an emergency situation.

Click here for more information on Lifeline.

Summer of love: How the sun is affecting your blood pressure

Think the summer sun is affecting your blood pressure? You’re right.

Sunny day
The sun is effecting your blood pressure – for the better!

I think you’ll agree that this has been the best summer in a long time. Farmers may disagree (they want a little more rain you see), but I bet you don’t have enough fingers to count the number of BBQ’s you’ve has this summer (7 days in a row is my current record).

But what’s the effect on our body from this prolonged period of glorious weather?

Most would assume that blood pressure rises, also known as hypertension, with the heat. But, it would appear the opposite happens, and blood pressure actually lowers, known as hypotension.

Research from the Universities of Southampton and Edinburgh revealed sunlight alters the level of nitric oxide (NO), a small messenger molecule, in the skin and blood; reducing blood pressure.

Martin Feelisch, Professor of Experimental Medicine and Integrative Biology at the University of Southampton reported: “NO along with its breakdown products, known to be abundant in skin, is involved in the regulation of blood pressure. When exposed to sunlight, small amounts of NO are transferred from the skin to the circulation, lowering blood vessel tone; as blood pressure drops, so does the risk of heart attack and stroke.”

The study suggests that UVA exposure:

  • Dilates blood vessels
  • Significantly lowers blood pressure
  • Alters NO metabolite levels in circulation.

Essentially, good news for your heart.

Blood pressure
Direct sun light lowers your blood pressure – great news for your heart.

UV or not UV?

It seems this is very much a case of balance. You’re well aware of the dangers from skin cancer from excessive exposure to UVA – I’m not for a second suggesting ditching the Piz Buin – but by completely avoiding sunlight or permanently wearing high factor sun block could play a role in raising your blood pressure.

Professor Feelisch adds: “These results are significant to the ongoing debate about potential health benefits of sunlight and the role of Vitamin D in this process. It may be an opportune time to reassess the risks and benefits of sunlight for human health and to take a fresh look at current public health advice. Avoiding excess sunlight exposure is critical to prevent skin cancer, but not being exposed to it at all, out of fear or as a result of a certain lifestyle, could increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Perhaps with the exception of bone health, the effects of oral vitamin D supplementation have been disappointing.

Let’s sun-a-rise

Awful puns aside, we do have some practical tips for health benefits.

  • Aim to get 10-20 minutes of direct sunlight a day
  • Ensure you use sun cream, but avoid sunblock if you can (seek medical advice)
  • In winter, aim to do the same with a 10 min brisk walk to lower blood pressure

Obviously, the above need to be used in line with a healthy lifestyle, including nutrition and exercise.

If nutrition is a concern, we have a nutritional expert hosting a free webinar which you’ll definitely learn something from – click here to sign up.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest on Board Flights

Now Boarding Flight 907 – With a 10% chance of sudden cardiac arrest survival

It’s been estimated that 1000 people die during commercial flights each year. Sudden Cardiac Arrest can strike at any time.

The number of medical emergencies on flights has risen in recent years, mainly due to more and more of us jetting off each year to switch off from the real world.

Right now, there are 660,000 people in the air. With medical emergencies reported at a frequency of 1 in 10-40,000 passengers, that’s 16-66 people at risk this very moment.

“I did ask for a defibrillator…and it was quite a surprise this wasn’t there”

Emergency on board

In 2017, Alan Bourne boarded his Jet2 flight to Birmingham from Majorca. Shortly before take-off, Alan suffered a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). Despite trained staff performing CPR, Alan couldn’t be saved.

A passenger noted how Alan appeared to have been on holiday with his family, and that “it took quite a while for the ambulance to turn up”.

Davina Tavener was travelling with Ryanair to Lanzarote with her husband and two children. Her husband became concerned when Davina failed to return from the toilet, where it was discovered she had collapsed.

A consultant surgeon was on board, and along with staff attempted to revive Davina, with no success. Clare Garnset, a consultant breast surgeon at the Royal Bolton Hospital, said

“I did ask for a defibrillator, because if it’s a cardiac issue that’s the best chance of survival, and it was quite a surprise this wasn’t there”.

Coroner Alan Walsh spoke at the enquiry, stating:
“I don’t believe there is any difference between short-haul flights and long-haul flights. It takes a second to have a cardiac event and sadly cardiac events don’t choose whether they are 10 minutes into a flight or 10 hours into a flight.

“If you are, by the nature of air travel, trapped in aircraft without access to any other facility, the authorities need to consider the equipment to be carried on those airlines, whether it’s short haul or long haul.”

First aid cardiopulmonary resuscitation course using automated external defibrillator device, AED.
First aid cardiopulmonary resuscitation course using automated external defibrillator device, AED.

No current regulation

The first airline to carry defibrillators was British Caledonian in 1986. Some UK-based current airlines carry AEDs, including Virgin, British Airways and easyJet. There is currently no requirement for all airlines to carry defibrillators, unlike their American counterparts who have FAA regulation on automated external defibrillators (AEDs) since 2001.

It takes a second to have a cardiac event and sadly cardiac events don’t choose whether they are 10 minutes into a flight or 10 hours into a flight.

Last week, we wrote about the rules surrounding AEDs in UK schools. It would seem that more and more industries are becoming aware of the danger from SCA, but regulation is some way off.

AEDs are simple and easy to use. The Lifeline AED has been purposely designed to be operated without training and can even be used by a child.

With the ever-present danger of SCA, you need to be prepared with effective equipment in the workplace. Often too far from professional medical aid, the Lifeline AED could be the difference between life and death.

Put a price on the safety of yourself, your family and colleagues here.

270 lives: CPR & AED training should be part of the national teaching curriculum

This year, in the UK, 270 children will die from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) at school.

With this figure in mind, it seems obvious that any measure to reduce that number should be implemented immediately.

Which is why the recent announcement by the Department for Education (DfE) has been welcomed by The British Heart Foundation (BHF) and British Red Cross.

Due to roll out in 2020 across Secondary schools in England, the DfE plan to have CPR and treatment for other common injuries as part of the national curriculum. Primary school children will be included to, with plans to teach basic first aid and steps to support the health and wellbeing of others.

Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the BHF, said: “Adding CPR to the curriculum in England will mark a defining moment in improving the UK’s shockingly low survival rates from cardiac arrests.

“Less than one in 10 people survive an out of hospital cardiac arrest in the UK, but evidence suggests nearly one in four could survive if all young people are trained with lifesaving CPR skills.”

AED Lacking

This is unarguably a great step forward, but there are other glaringly obvious holes in the UK school system when it comes to SCA:

  • There is currently no mandatory requirement for schools to be equipped with Automated external defibrillators (AEDs)
  • There is a DfE guide explaining how schools should purchase an AED

Considering that fewer than 1 in 10 people survive SCA outside of hospital and the use of an AED in the first 60 seconds of an incident boost survival rates by 90%, CPR training and AED’s installed in all UK schools should be mandatory.

A point backed by South Scotland MSP Emma Harper.
Ms Harper addressed the Scottish Parliament after learning only 4 schools in her region had an AED on site.

Would you want your child in a school which had no fire extinguishers installed?

Judged by 12 or carried by 6 springs to mind

What makes matters worse, the DfE advise schools that they cannot offer any legal advice in the use of AED’s in an incident.

Modern AED’s, such as Martek’s Lifeforce AED, are designed to be used by anybody – trained or untrained:

  • AED is applied using simple illustrations and instructions
  • The AED analyses the patient’s heart rhythm
  • If irregular rhythm is detected, a shock can be administered. If it’s normal, no shock can be delivered.

Between this analysis, CPR (also known as Basic Life Support (BLS)) should be performed in order to keep a supple of oxygen to the brain.

Let’s save lives

Simple training highlighting hand positioning and pressure, along with the use of an AED could see 270 children survive SCA whilst in school – a place where a child’s safety and welfare should be paramount.

Personally, I’ve worked in schools and taught basic first aid to children, young adults and staff. All were keen to learn as they know these simple actions could save a life.

The DfE’s announcement to introduce CPR into the curriculum is a fantastic move, but more needs to be done.

An AED could save the life of you or somebody close to you. Do you have one within 60 seconds of where you are reading this?

Can you prevent a Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Although Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) can, and unfortunately does affect people from all walks of life, no matter their age, health, race or gender, while there are often no signs or symptoms prior to SCA, there are a few ways you can help reduce the chance of it happening to you!

Living a healthy lifestyle

Eating healthy is a fantastic way to maintain a healthy heart. The foods we eat affect us far more than we think, from our mood, creativity to our health and wellbeing. Maintaining a varied and healthy diet will make all the difference to your heart health. Even if you aren’t motivated to go to the gym at 5am, every single person can make a few small changes to increase their overall health. Exercising regularly is a key factor, even if it’s just a 30-minute walk a few times a week whilst on your lunch break or why not cycle to work, every little bit makes a difference.

Quit Smoking

If you currently smoke, you should look into quitting! Smoking is a leading cause of cardiovascular diseases. Whether it be increasing the chances of Sudden Cardiac Arrest, to contributing towards a strike or other heart diseases. Within the first couple of years of not smoking, you’ve already greatly reduced your chances of heart-related diseases, and after roughly 10 years, you’ll have the exact same chances as a non-smoker!

Visit your GP & know your history!

Visit your local GP for a regular check-up, if you think you may have high blood pressure, diabetes and/or high cholesterol, go and get checked! If so, make sure you treat any conditions, whether it be altering your lifestyle or ensuring you take the required medication when prescribed. If you are still worried, speak to your GP about the possibility of having an ejection fraction to determine if there are any risks. From this, you’ll find out if you have any abnormal heart rhythms, that may potentially trigger life-threating arrhythmias.

Finally, it’s worth finding out about your family history – you may have a history of cardiovascular diseases and could impact your heart!

What changes are you going to make?