Heart Appreciation Month - February 2012

February is traditionally Heart Month.  It is a time of the year when our thoughts turn to Love. We want to get close to our loved ones in an endearing and emotional way. To do so, we  make an effort to deepen ourselves. This Human to Human Touch defines the Substance of Life and we feel the sense of love grow in our hearts. But how much love do we actually show our hearts? 

Do You Appreciate Your Heart?
Heart Month is also a time for us to show appreciation for our Heart. The Heart is a tremendous pump. It has a tremendous reserve capacity in that it can deliver needed blood (oxygen) throughout the body from a low of 5 quarts each minute at rest to a high of 50 quarts each minute at maximum exercise. What you may not know is that this capacity allows your heart to pump throughout the day without letting you know about it. Whatever blood is pumped out is delivered back to your heart to again be pumped out.   If you are active and pumping out more blood each minute, it will respond smoothly and not bother you.  (Once in a while, you should take time out and get down on your knees and thank the heart for doing so!)

To meet your daily demands, the heart muscle needs nourishments (oxygen, nutrients etc)… and three heart blood vessels (coronary vessels) are given that task.  It is only when these vessels are blocked that the pumping action of the heart is interfered with and problems occur. During Heart Month, it is important that you show concern for this valuable possession that you have within your chest. It is important to understand that there are certain Risk Factors that increase your chances of blocking your coronary vessels. Learn what these Risk Factors are and do your best to control them…But, what I would like to tell you about is even more important. It is for you to understand that when something is going wrong in one of these vessels and is about ready to take your life or destroy your heart muscle, it becomes important to quickly recognize this and do something about it.   You can do it.  You don't have to be a doctor to do so!

The blockage build up is from an cholesterol- like plaque, but the defining event is a disruption on the plaque that invites a blood clot to seal off the vessel'  Fortunately,in over 50% of the cases, it does not do this immediately, but does so over hours to days before sealing off the vessel completely.  It is this Grace Period that I would like to tell you about.  It can save your life. It can save you from losing heart muscle that you need for the heart to pump efficiently. It is this period of time that you have to listen to your body and act so that the problems can be prevented.

What should you look for? Early Heart Symptoms…..which are Early Chest Discomfort Symptoms.  When the Coronary Heart Vessel is completely blocked or sealed off, the patient will experience excruciating chest pain that is so severe that it is often described as a Mack Truck or an Elephant sitting on the chest, but when the blood clot is incompletely blocking the vessel. the patient will often have mild forms of chest discomfort (described as a burning chest sensation, a  chest fullness, a chest ache, or a chest tightness)….and often these early chest symptoms occur intermittently and are not prolonged,,,,,allowing time for the patient to deny that anything is wrong.

Bystanders will often enable the situation because it will take time out of their day if they respond. I know this to be true, because having contributed  to delay once ,the next word I heard about my friend is that he was found dead in his shop.  Don't make this same mistake. Get involved.  Learn how to become an Early Heart Attack Care Giver. The Program that we have to teach about this approach is called EHAC and can easily be learned by taking this short course at www.DeputyHeartAttack.org

Remember, this month - and every month - take care of your heart and those of the ones you care about to ensure that the love lives!

Dr. Raymond Bahr's Articles & Videos

Dr. Raymond Bahr writes articles about the EHAC movement. He has also done several videos that outline the importance of Early Heart Attack Care.

Meet the Deputy Heart Attack Founder

Dr. Raymond Bahr

Dr. Raymond Bahr is passionate about cardiac care and preventive education. As the founding father of the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (now ACC Accreditation Services), his passion to disseminate lifesaving information is a driving force behind the Deputy Heart Attack Program. Throughout his career, he has created multiple programs to help others understand the life saving measures that can save a life. In 1981 at St. Agnes Hospital, Dr. Bahr established the Chest Pain Emergency Department (CPED), the first such unit in the world. The initial purpose of this CPED was prompt and effective treatment of patients presenting with heart attack/sudden death. The CPED was coupled with an aggressive education program that taught the community the early warning signs of a heart attack. This education program extended to middle and high school students via health and science curricula.