Dietitian Karissa Woolfe shares how to help you and your mates save strokes from your life expectancy. We’ve all heard stories of someone having a heart attack on the golf course. You may have even walked past a memorial and wondered if that was someone’s last hole, or spotted a defibrillator located at the turn.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) kills one Australian every 12 minutes according to the Heart Foundation, but the good news is we can take early action and save lives. Playing golf and walking every day is heart-protective, as are leading a healthy lifestyle and eating well.
Here are the warning signs to look out for and the things you can do to lower your risk. KNOW YOUR RISKS If you, or your playing partners smoke, or carry a spare tyre around the waistline, the risk of having a heart attack and stroke is significantly increased. Researchers have found that the risk factors listed for heart disease also set you up for dementia later in life.
People with diabetes are more prone to CVD, which is why it’s critical to keep your sugar levels in check. Too much glucose (sugar) can damage the blood vessels in your heart, eyes, kidneys and penis. Failure to hold an erection also signals that your blood vessels aren’t functioning well. STAYING ALIVE To sustain life, your heart and brain need a constant supply of oxygen, which is transported by the blood. The major cause of heart disease is the gradual build-up of fatty material inside the blood vessels (atherosclerosis). When blood flow is constricted, either from the narrowing of the vessels, or a blockage, it can result in chest pain (angina), a heart attack, permanent damage to the heart muscle (heart failure), cardiac arrest and death. A similar process can occur in the blood vessels that go to the brain, causing a stroke. SIGNS OF A HEART ATTACK Most of us associate a heart attack with clutching chest pain, but there are more subtle warning signs. Shortness of breath, indigestion, nausea or vomiting, breaking out in a cold sweat, a stiff back and pain or heaviness in your neck, shoulders, arms or jaw, also signal a heart attack. WHAT TO DO: CALL 000 If you, or a playing partner experiences the signs of heart attack, act quickly and dial triple zero (000) for an ambulance.
Paramedics say a false alarm is the best thing to happen, compared to ignoring the
signs, letting them continue for longer than 10 minutes, or worsen, risking permanent damage and death.
When your mate goes unconscious and is not breathing, their heart is like a car battery that needs a jump-start, in order to keep the blood pumping oxygen to the brain. If you’ve done first aid training, follow the DRSABCD action plan and start CPR.
First aid instructors say if you’re unsure about offering mouth-to-mouth, stick to delivering 100 chest compressions a minute until help arrives. If available, a defibrillator is like jumper leads, and if used within the first two minutes, offers the best chance of survival. SIGNS OF A STROKE The most common signs of a stroke are weakness and numbness in your face, arms or legs, and slurred speech. But they are not the only signs. An abrupt headache, vison loss and dizziness are also signals. WHAT TO DO: ACT F.A.S.T A stroke is always a medical emergency, so if you, or a playing partner experiences the common signs, the Stroke Foundation says to think and act F.A.S.T. F = Face - Check their face. Has their mouth drooped? A = Arms - Can they lift both arms? S = Speech - Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you? T = Time – Time is critical. If you see any of these signs call 000 straight away.