How to Survive a Heart Attack When You are Alone
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Let's say it's 5:17 p.m., and you're driving home, (alone of course) after a tough day on the job.
Not only was the workload extraordinarily heavy, but you also had a disagreement with your boss, and no matter how hard you tried, he wouldn't see your side of the situation.
You're upset, and the more you think about it, the more uptight you become.
Suddenly, you start experiencing a severe pain in your chest that starts to radiate out into your arm and up into your jaw. You are only about five miles from the hospital nearest your home; unfortunately, you don't know if you'll be able to make it that far.
What can you do?
You've been trained in CPR, but the guy that taught the course neglected to tell you how to perform it on yourself.
Seeking Medical Help
If a person thinks they have a heart attack, getting to an emergency room or doctor's office for assessment, at the very least, is essential. Of course, it might not be a heart attack. But if it is, they are in a position to at least get supportive care.
This means that it is good to be educated about one's choices and tell the doctor what you choose to do or have a support person who will speak for you.
However, I have not been present firsthand for someone having a heart attack and doing it, only heard it second hand.
If someone thinks they are having a heart attack or arrhythmia, they should get the situation assessed at the ER, an urgent care clinic, or their doctor's office and should not dawdle.
But they can do some things for themselves, on the way, if they have the knowledge to do them! (and the common sense to know when it is not enough or not appropriate!)
I can't tell them exactly what treatment they should get in the ER or clinic....they will likely get lab tests, an ECG done for assessment, and perhaps other tests. If it is severe, they may get medications administered.
Any time a muscle is not getting adequate oxygen to do its job, something has to be done to fix that. So it is a strange twist that many of the treatments still being done have been continued based on anecdotal information.
These were incorporated into regular medicine as this became formalized because people were using them, and we're not going to stop. And they were getting relief by using them.
How to Survive a Heart Attack When Alone
Sometimes a person in panic/pain needs someone to coach them to slow down so as not to hyperventilate. Having a support person there for you in a time like that is usually a great help, even if all they can do is put a cool cloth on your brow.
However, it is better if they can stand up and speak well for you when you might not be able to, to the doctor in charge, about needed decisions.
But what happens when a person is alone?
When a person suffers a heart attack, the heart stops beating correctly, and the person begins to feel faint. He has only about 10 seconds left before losing consciousness. However, these victims can help themselves by coughing repeatedly and very vigorously.
It would help if you took a deep breath before each cough, and the cough must be deep and prolonged, as when producing sputum from deep inside the chest. A breath and a cough must be repeated every two seconds without let-up until help arrives or until the heart is felt to be beating normally again.
“Deep breaths get oxygen into the lungs, and coughing movements squeeze the heart and keep the blood circulating. The squeezing pressure on the heart also helps it regain normal rhythm. In this way, heart attack victims can get to a phone and, between breaths, call for help.”
- C.H., Former Hospital Nurse
According to my understanding, there should be a disclaimer in this advice. This coughing exercise could work to stop only some heart attacks.
Forceful coughing, sneezing, grunting, and the like put back pressure on the diaphragm.
This can do a few things to help. First, it can stop the vagus nerve from spasming, and therefore could stop hiccups, as well. Second, the backpressure can slow down tachycardia/irregular heart rhythm and reset the beat because the repeated hard backpressure gets to the nodes that govern the heartbeat.
According to the best information I can find, "cough CPR" is an actual procedure occasionally used in emergencies under professional supervision. But it is not taught in standard CPR courses, nor is it typically recommended as a "life-saving" measure for people who experience a heart attack when alone.
One doctor, I contacted – a heart specialist – had never even heard of it. The American Heart Association does not recommend that the public use this method when there is no medical supervision.
We have included certain kinds of back presses as part of our in-person breathing development techniques.
The Chinese Medical Healing Sounds- From J Michael Wood.
"I just saw the piece on vigorous coughing to save yourself in a heart attack. As you know, the Chinese Medical Qigong healing sounds for the Heart are Haaaa and Ke.
The Haaa sound helps release energy from toxic thought patterns and helps heal the heart.
The Ke sound, pronounced as Kuuuh, is used to clear blockages (heart attack - fibrillation and/or clot).
If you vigorously make the Kuuuh sound (like a cat coughing up a hairball), you will notice that for the last couple of millenniums, the Chinese were using coughing to clear heart attack issues!!"
THAT HELPS CLARIFY WHY OUR BREATHING EXERCISE #1 HAS ELIMINATED UNCONTROLLED HYPERTENSION, AMONG OTHER THINGS.
Deep breathing combined with hard coughing can help oxygen levels in the blood to rise a bit, helping get more oxygen to starved heart muscles that can still work. Our Core Development technique in our kit stopped a chronic cough.
Strokes /Atrial Fibrillation
Strokes and Afib- or Atrial Fibrillation can happen to anyone. Take steps to lower your risk of stroke.
If you had a condition that increased your risk of stroke five times, you would want to know as soon as possible to get treatment and reduce your risk.
Unfortunately, many people never feel symptoms and therefore never know they have Atrial Fibrillation, a commonly undiagnosed condition.
Most of the treatments for strokes or Afib are drug-based. We have had good luck with our EFA product. Prescription drugs, but some can be pretty helpful, even life-saving. Unfortunately, I believe the medicating world uses drug intervention way too often and too long.
What is happening in a heart attack and how breathing helps
The heart goes into a spasm due to a lack of oxygen. As a result, many people tend to get irregular heartbeats, anyway. There are several types, and these can respond to this activity, as well.
The goal should be to continue using Exercise #2 to stabilize heartbeats with stability that lasts longer rather than just trying the exercise when trouble begins.
The balance of o2 depends on the o2 levels needed by the individual, and those requirements vary somewhat from person to person. I also have seen very sick people with very high blood o2 levels and at least outwardly healthy ones with low 90 percentiles.
Breathing exercises that work to even out breathing THERE'S TWO GOOD WORDS," EVEN OUT" OR WHAT I CALL "BALANCE. They help maintain good oxygen levels, are most conducive to a decent state of health, and tend to be a technique that can ward off more frequent episodes of chest pain and arrhythmias.
But, it needs to be used with relaxation techniques and good nutrition, among other things. The awareness that one can do things to help oneself feels good--it is empowering.
In an ideal scenario, everyone could be educated about the most commonly used medicines for their situation and the alternatives (this includes the "do nothing" scenario, without scare tactics), so they could choose for themselves.
And, they would have people who are supportive of their choices!
But, it needs to be tempered with common sense (like, if the problem gets out of hand, get to an emergency center or your doctor., to at least get assessed. If a heart attack event is too massive, it might not help enough (i.e., too much area of heart muscle being starved for oxygen).
Heart Attack and Nutrition
Some levels of nutrients are arbitrarily guessed by looking at food contents. Our modern diets can potentially be so much better than our ancestors of 100 years ago. BUT, most people are chowing down on junk food high in sugar, salt, and fat (not to mention all the sugar and fat substitutes and additives) and so processed that Mother Nature wouldn't recognize it!
These things throw the body out of balance, cause the body to crave foods, and predispose to disease.
If there is no choice, I think the best thing to do is start with nutrition supplements. You can begin this even before you can get assessed for what else might help. In our world, most people do not know what is best to do, are not familiar with their choices, and are scared by the event, which can make it worse.
So, controlling one's breathing is very helpful.
In addition, optimal breathing is a great way to practice breathing before you even need it when a crisis strikes.
If you are severely nutrient deficient, merely taking supplements won't help. This is because the RDA levels of vitamins and minerals are suitable for sustenance but not enough for optimal health. In addition, they certainly do not address the issues of people exposed to environmental setbacks, ongoing illness, or generally need more or sometimes, less of some nutrients.
How to Take Proper Vitamin Supplements
People doing the emergency breathing exercise must know to continue the exercise as long as they feel their heart is beating irregularly or the pain is continuing. They must seek medical help right away, as well!
They need to get an assessment of what is happening to know best how to proceed. I know there are fantastic facilities out there. But there are also some pretty sloppy places.
Pursed Lip/ Mountain Breathing
The other way to get more oxygen into the blood is "pursed-lip" breathing. It is also called mountain breathing.
You pucker up and exhale through puckered lips, which causes the exhaled air to back up---it stays in the lungs a bit longer, allowing more of the oxygen in it to be extracted from it.
It can be a more relaxed form of breathing and calm someone down who is in panic due to the event. Pursed lip breathing can be helpful, but it is an emergency measure and should not be treated as a permanent solution.
Another way to quickly increase oxygen content is to get our breathing development program and additional recorded breathing exercise.
THERE IS AN ANCIENT AXIOM THAT STATES, "TO CONTROL YOUR BREATHING IS TO CONTROL YOUR LIFE. "
That is an excellent way to describe it!
AMEN TO THAT.
(If you do not need more oxygen, this exercise can cause lightheadedness from too much oxygen in the blood!)
An Interesting Observation of Oxygen Percentages
Once, I accompanied a pre-lung reduction surgery candidate to the pulmonary rehab unit of a leading west coast hospital. The treadmill and bicycle for 45 minutes and got his blood oxygen up from 94 to 96 percent.
The posturing on both the cycle and treadmill was guaranteed to make him breathe harder and less efficiently, and when I queried the attending nurse, I was told that "it is hard to make them do it right."
Right after this, he still couldn't walk fifty feet without stopping to get some more breath. So I took him back to his home, worked with him for an hour, and left him pinked, cheeked, and smiling.
There is an oxygen cost of breathing. COPD victims, including those with asthma, emphysema bronchitis, work harder, or very hard, to get what oxygen they can, and the effort uses up excessive oxygen. As a result, they breathe more and incorrectly, trying to compensate, which of course, can worsen the tensions and constrictions of breathing and breathing coordination and lower carbon dioxide levels.
Practice makes permanent, imperfect, and improper body positioning can reduce optimal breathing to below-average respiration and marginal breathability to sub-survival levels. The stress factors and biochemical compromises are fantastic.
Oxygen levels need to be kept up consistently over time to do best for the body. If someone does not work on this over their lifetime, it is harder to catch up after illness has a foothold.
Panicking can cause people's breathing patterns to get rapid and shallow, not allowing good O2 exchange and CO2 balance. The blood vessels in the limbs constrict to get more blood to the core (heart and lungs), and the tissues get starved. So people get more muscle cramps, as well.
Many massage schools address breathing. Nurses, chiropractors, and physical therapists also respect it but know too little about how to influence it quickly and directly without drugs or surgery. This is one area if I feel my advanced knowledge of breathing teachings will make a significant contribution.
There are also acupuncture points to curb arrhythmia and onset of a heart attack on the hands that can be stimulated by biting on them with the points of the molars or using a fingernail--do not break the skin, only make a sharp little pain at those points.. And always seek medical help right away.
Can Breathing Exercises Help in Heart Attack Situations?
Breathing exercises are the quickest, cheapest, "do-it-yourself" thing you can try.
It cannot harm to try it! (THE COUGHING TECHNIQUE) (unless one neglects to get appropriate medical help in a timely fashion--like getting to a Dr. to get assessed for further treatment and what kind is needed).
Remember that oath doctor's take that starts "first do no harm"? Often, that is forgotten.
Breathing is compromised SO often when someone is sick or injured.
I have seen this very often while working in hospitals. And have worked with patients to get them to pay attention to their breathing depth and patterns. But, unfortunately, I have found that while in hospitals, that is pretty much ignored in favor of throwing more medications at whatever is wrong.
It was only while working in an office doing alternative medicine that I had any chance to work with people on their breathing patterns relative to them, helping alleviate how they were feeling.
People are frequently in denial about their breathing or have been in a dysfunctional pattern so long they need more than a few lessons to correct it, as they do not work on it much alone. They need much "hand-holding" and encouragement.
I would add training, special techniques, ergonomics, nutrition, and precise self-sensing. This is where our school self-help manual, phone consultations, and recorded breathing exercises become valuable.
The bottom line is that the person has to work on changing what is out of balance, or it isn't going to happen! Some key factors can be dramatically improved without their active cooperation or, let us say, strictly from a passive standpoint.
This begins with their diet, exercise, and the way they breathe.
THIS WILL HOPEFULLY GIVE ONE THE WAKE-UP CALL THAT INSPIRES ONE TO TAKE MORE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR HEART-LUNG HEALTH.
I can't help but notice that many versions of the suggested "self-treatment" mention that you lose consciousness within ten seconds. So that means that in reduced oxygen, stressful situation, you have ten seconds to:
1. Figure out you have a heart attack.
2. Remember this treatment and how to do it.
3. Do it.
Not good odds. An ounce of prevention is worth it!
The bottom line is that according to a leading Russian microbiologist V Frolov, focused PROPER breathing before going to bed is the best remedy to prevent myocardial infarction and stroke.
As with all medical news, the most prudent course of action is to verify the information with your doctor or other medical professional before acting upon it or sharing it with others.
Refer to our Most Popular Optimal Breathing Development Program