Helping raise awareness this SHOCTOBER

Any death is a tragedy to those close by, but an unexpected death to someone who is still relatively young can affect communities. Sudden cardiac deaths are rare but traumatic when they occur. These are most commonly seen in what appear to be fit and healthy sports people, but can also happen to anyone, be it in the home or workplace.
The month of October has been designated Shoctober to increase awareness of cardiac arrest survival.
What started out as a blog with some facts and figures became personal for me 2 weeks ago when one of my friends was walking home from watching a game of rugby and dropped dead of a heart attack. Even with CPR chances of him surviving were just 5-8%. If there was an AED nearby these odds would have improved to up to 70%.
My friend was a very fit and active man who trained regularly and was a good weight. There were no know risk factors. Though he was in his early 50’s these type of events can happen to people as young as in their 20’s. Drownings, electric shocks and asthma attacks can also result in a cardiac arrest. Young sports people with unknow congenital heart defects are also at risk. In Australia, and including the older population, an estimated 30000 people die each year of a cardiac arrest. That’s quite a few.
So what is an AED. An AED is an automated external defibrillator. Their job is to restart the heart after a heart attack. They are devices that virtually anyone can use, as they instruct you how to use it through verbal and picture guidelines. They are safe as they will only deliver the shock to the person if they calculate the person needs it.
They are so valuable in managing sudden cardiac arrests that there is a push to have one in every school and sports club in the community. To offset their cost there are a number of organisations that provide funding.
With more of them out there in the community within reach colleagues and mates that are unlucky like my friend was, may live to be with us another day. It is so important to help raise awarenss as this may happen to anyone, anywhere and at any time! 

Written by Hamish Ashton – Physiotherapist

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