Know your devices medical alarm options!

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UnknownThere are a number of medical alarm options out there that target the elderly and disabled population. You should know that there are also devices that do not go directly to a monitoring center and instead directly dial 911. These are typically cellular and VoIP systems.

With cellular systems, they are not directly tied to a specific address because they are mobile and can go anywhere. This means you would have to rely on either the person using the device to know exactly where they are OR the phone giving 100% accurate GPS coordinates. This can be an issue in rural areas due to poor cellular service, and also in heavily populated areas such as an apartment complex or high rise building. Current technology only provides latitude and longitude without altitude.

If you use a device that is monitored by an alarm company they should preemptively solicit valuable information from you that would be available to pass to the 911 dispatcher should the need arise. This will allow responders to have a better location and nature of the incident if the patient is unable to talk or can’t be heard for any reasons.

Understand how your device works and make sure that they will be able to provide help when you need it most. The worst time to find out if your device will get you help is the moment when you need the help. A few questions and a little research can help in making the right decision.

Source credit: Grand Traverse 911

 

Chest Pain isn’t always from the heart

Causes of chest pain

Frequently people consult about experiencing chest pain. I know through training all chest pain is supposed to be referred to the emergency room for evaluation, but realistically many including myself am able recognize symptoms come from many different causes and may have different care needs. The emergency need for consultation is due the fact that many people will deny their symptoms are from a cardiac cause, delaying treatment and thus have pretty extensive heart damage or death. Evaluation thus is helpful in determining the cause.   When one gets evaluated there are many different areas of anatomy where the cause may be from.

 

Here is a list of many different causes for chest pain:

  • the chest wall including the ribs, the muscles, and the skin;

Possibilities: A rib in poor alignment, shingles, pulled muscle, cartilage between the ribs being inflamed,

  • the back including the spine, the nerves, and the back muscles;

Vertebra alignment, pinched nerve, shingles,

  • the lung, the pleura (the lining of the lung), or the trachea;

Recent cold/cough, bronchitis, blood clot, pulmonary embolism, pleurisy, pnumothorax – collapsed lung,

  • the heart including the pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart);

Pericarditis, aortic dissection, angina, heart attack, blood clot

  • the aorta; aortic dissection
  • the esophagus;  Acid reflux, narrowed esophagus, regurgitation
  • the diaphragm, the flat muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavities; 
  • referred pain from the abdominal cavity including organs like the stomach, gallbladder, and pancreas, as well as irritation from the underside of the diaphragm due to infection, bleeding or other types of fluid.

Gastric bleeding, septicemia, blood infections, gastric ulcers,

 

The symptoms of heart attack  for men or women.

Heart-Attack

 

references:

http://www.medicinenet.com/chest_pain/article.htm#what_are_the_sources_of_chest_pain

Delay in seeking medical attention for heart attack changes life

Don’t delay in seeking medical attention if you are concerned about a heart attack

Time is muscle if the heart is not getting the proper blood flow to the muscle, the muscle dies. The muscle is unable to repair itself and eventually that portion that dies is converted to scar tissue. Scar tissue is not flexible and doesn’t push the blood out of the chamber of the heart. If the blood is not pushed through the heart the amount circulating through the body is reduced. This can lead to serious heart related complications, including congestive heart failure, angina, shortness of breath and limited ability for physical activity.  This creates complications for many things including returning to work, or causing early retirement as the article above discusses.

Discomfort, squeezing, pressure, heaviness, aching…in the chest, between the shoulder blades, the neck, jaw or down the arms are the classic symptoms. If accompanied  by shortness of breath, nausea, profuse sweating the condition is all the more urgent. Chew up 325mg aspirin and call 911.

Resource for Heart Failure

http://www.heartfailurematters.org/EN/Warning-signs/Warning-signs

 

Below is some of the content from the above listed web site. It is a great resource for helping heart patients to understand the warning signs of heart failure and the actions to take. If you are a heart patient, or the significant other/caregiver take the time to review this site. It is important sometimes the symptoms sneak up on you.

 

 

Heart failure can be managed well with the right treatment and lifestyle adjustments, as recommended by your doctor or nurse. However, it is important to monitor all your symptoms on a regular basis as heart failure can progress slowly.

 

You can use the list on the left or any of the links below to learn more about the symptoms you should be monitoring and what to do if they get worse.

 

You should call for help immediately if you experience:

 

Persistent Chest pain that is not relieved by glyceryl trinitrate (GTN / nitroglycerin)

Severe and persistent shortness of breath

Fainting

 

You should inform your doctor as soon as possible if you experience:

 

Increasing shortness of breath

 

Frequent awakenings due to shortness of breath

 

Needing more pillows to sleep comfortably

 

Rapid heart rate or worsening palpitations

 

And you should discuss any of the symptoms below with your doctor or nurse.

 

Rapid weight gain

 

Progressive swelling or pain in the abdomen

 

Increased swelling of the legs or ankles

 

Loss of appetite/nausea

 

Increasing fatigue

 

Worsening cough

 

To help you monitor your symptoms, please click on the links below to find useful resources that you can download, print and fill in. You can then take these with you when you see your doctor or nurse and discuss your symptoms.

 

Symptom and event diary

 

Monitoring your heart failure chart

 

Warning signs leaflet

 

 

 

Exercising with heart disease

Start slow and add a little more over time. Make it feel  as if when finished feel like you could have done more easily. Begin exercising at this intensity for several sessions before making large increases in your intensity or effort required to be physically active. . Remember the whole goal is to adapt, and by doing so the body is changing how it responds. In the early recovery stage  the exercise prescription is very light. Do you know What exercise prescription is best for you?

Since exercise should be part of your everyday routine in order to make it a lifelong habit  injury avoidance is important to be aware of overuse signs and symptoms, to rest those muscles when needed.  Occasionally cardiovascular disease patients develop Peripheral Artery Disease and symptoms can present similarly to overuse. Pain should signal the body to be aware that something is going on.  Take some time to evaluate that pain, what happens with it, does it always come on at a certain time or point of the exercise or activity? How long does it take to go away? Can it be avoided while being active by another means for instance switching from walking to biking?  Make sure you communicate these findings with your healthcare practitioner as they could be signals of other health conditions related to heart disease and it’s recovery.

Some exercise and activity is better than none, so start slowly. Even a warmup is better than no exercise session here is why  warming up before strenuous activity helps your heart.

Don’t expect results overnight, but do take small steps each day. Move that blood around, push it through the muscles. Make the muscles use the oxygen in the blood  more efficiently. Exercise helps the the heart recover and stay strong.

You might not notice any big changes—especially in your weight—for a few weeks or even months. It is still good for your heart health! It is not all about weight loss. Forget the scale for a while. In fact many who initially start to exercise following hospitalization are  Sedentary at the start and will gain a couple of pounds. It is their muscles getting pumped up, holding and utilizing more blood flow. Generally the focus on how you feel.

 When not to exercise is if you are presenting with Signs and symptoms of heart problems. Exercise should be avoided if  if you are presenting with congestive heart failure, or are presently sick. When returning to exercise following illness 

Symptoms to be alert for include these.