SAV­ING STROKES

Golf Australia - - IN MY OPINION -

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.

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