More than 300,000 people die every year in the United States due to sudden cardiac arrest. Senior citizens have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and more than 70 percent of adults over age 60 have some form of cardiovascular disease.
Health conditions can lead to cardiac arrest, but a host of other factors can also lead to a life or death situation. Knowing CPR can save lives if people are trained and ready to take action when needed. Here are five reasons to learn CPR.
CPR can save lives
When cardiac arrest occurs, a person can die within minutes. After the heart stops, brain death occurs within four to six minutes. Acting quickly and performing CPR on a person in cardiac arrest helps to pump blood throughout the body. This sends oxygen to the brain and other organs, giving the person a better chance at survival until help arrives. Performing CPR within the first two minutes after cardiac arrest doubles the chance for survival.
Thousands of people can benefit from CPR every year
Outside of hospitals, more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur every year in the United States. Almost 90 percent of these people do not survive, but immediate help can change the chances of survival. Sarah Hilton, a nurse at University of Utah Hospital, says CPR is important for everyone to learn. “All ages should have some level of understanding,” said Hilton. “Techniques like CPR and Heimlich Maneuver can prevent death and brain damage. It is one thing that is important to learn that you hope you never have to use.” Learning CPR could help you be the difference in somebody’s life by giving you the skills needed to take action when someone’s life is in danger.
Your family may need your help one day
You may need to help somebody you don’t know, but the odds are that someone much closer to you could benefit from your CPR training. Seventy percent of out-of-the hospital cardiac arrest events happen in the home. When the need arises, you will be grateful to have the skills and training to help someone you love when their life depends on it.
Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone
Cardiac arrest doesn’t just happen to people with chronic health conditions. Choking, traumatic accidents, drowning and electrical shock can all lead to a person going into cardiac arrest. Some health conditions like heart disease, infections, allergic reactions and others can also contribute to a sudden cardiac arrest event.
Don’t shy away from helping someone
You may not feel confident enough to help someone if they need CPR. Getting trained in CPR can help you to gain the confidence and make the right decisions that could save someone’s life. Whether or not you are trained, do not shy away from an opportunity to help. Many websites and emergency dispatchers can give you instructions to give someone CPR.
If somebody needs CPR, first call 911. Kneel over the person with your hands on top of each other and place the heel of one hand in the center of the person’s chest. Then push down hard and fast on their chest, approximately 100-120 times per minutes. Keep giving CPR until help arrives.
Cardiac arrest can happen fast and when you least expect it. Be ready to help someone in a life-threatening situation by learning CPR and using your knowledge and skills to assist them until medical personnel arrives.
This article was originally published by Orange County Register.