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Pulmonary Embolism: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

March 25th, 2014 | Posted by vanfirstaid in Circulatory Emergency - (Comments Off on Pulmonary Embolism: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment)

Pulmonary embolism is a fatal medical condition that requires emergency medical services as soon as possible. It is when there is a sudden blockage in one or more lung arteries. It is usually caused by a blood clot in any part of the body, most commonly the leg, that breaks loose and travels to the major blood vessel of the lung through the bloodstream. An estimated half of all the people who experience pulmonary embolism show no symptoms, although the commonly associated symptoms will be discussed later.

Pulmonary embolism may occur to anyone, even in healthy individuals. In cases of multiple or large clots, it may result to death. Other less serious complications include lasting damage to the affected lung, decreased levels of oxygen in the blood and damage to the other body organs from the decreased oxygen distributed to the organs. Treatment is usually aimed at dissolving the clots and prevention of other clots from forming.

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Causes of Pulmonary Embolism

Pulmonary embolism is often a complication from deep vein thrombosis (DVT), where blood clots originating from the deep veins of body, frequently the legs, travel to the arteries in the lungs, although it should be noted that not all cases of DVT result to pulmonary embolism. The following may also cause pulmonary embolism:

  • Other substances can form blockages within the blood vessels of the lung itself
    • Fat from within the marrow of a broken bone
    • Amniotic fluid
    • Part of a tumour
    • Air bubbles

Risk Factors for Pulmonary Embolism

The following factors are known to increase chances of developing pulmonary embolism in individuals:

  • Inactivity for prolonged periods, e.g. bed rest or long flights or car trips
  • Recent surgery involving the brain, abdomen, pelvic or legs
  • Recent fractures
  • Certain illnesses such as chronic heart disease, high blood pressure, paralysis, cancer or severe infection
  • Conditions such as heart attack, stroke
  • Taking medications such as, birth control pills or hormone therapy
  • Pregnancy and childbirth, especially if caesarean section
  • Family history of pulmonary embolism
  • Smoking

Symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism

In half of pulmonary embolism cases, it is asymptomatic. In the other half that reported symptoms, the symptoms include:

  • Sudden, inexplicable shortness of breath
  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing with or without blood
  • Arrhythmia
  • Increased heart rate
  • Swelling of the leg or along a vein
  • Pain and tenderness in the leg
  • Anxiety
  • Light-headedness or syncope
  • Wheezing
  • Sweating excessively

Treatment for Pulmonary Embolism

Pulmonary embolism requires immediate medical treatment to avoid complications from progressing. Medications or surgical procedures may be required to thin the blood or remove the clot. Treatment for pulmonary embolism includes:

  • Medications
    • Anticoagulants
    • Clot dissolvers (thrombolytics)
    • Surgical procedures
      • Clot removal
      • Vein filter
      • Surgery
      • In cases where there is no pulse detected, follow protocol for CPR.

Disclaimer: This article does not provide medical advice or treatment. The information given should not be used for self-diagnosis. Seek medical attention when necessary. To learn more about to how to give CPR in cases of medical emergencies such as pulmonary embolism, enrol in first aid and CPR classes with an American or Canadian provider.

Source:

Pulmonary embolism (2013). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved September 27, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pulmonary-embolism/DS00429

Pulmonary Embolism – Topic Overview. 2011. WebMD. Retrieved September 27, 2013, from http://www.webmd.com/lung/tc/pulmonary-embolism-topic-overview

First Aid for Nosebleeds

March 22nd, 2014 | Posted by vanfirstaid in Basic First Aid Skills - (Comments Off on First Aid for Nosebleeds)
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First Aid for nose bleed

One of the most common medical emergencies is nosebleeds. This is a problem that affects all people regardless of their age or sex and a topic covered in basic first aid training. The problem mainly occurs as a result of trauma of the nose, nose picking and many others. Just like any other first aid, the first thing you are supposed to do is to check the condition of the patient so that you can make an informed decision on what you are supposed to do. If you realize that the victim is very unstable, you should call an emergency service provider or call 911 for more assistance. Note that as you wait for the emergency health provider to arrive, you need to put some measures to reduce or stop the bleeding because this can be fatal.

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How to carry out nosebleeds first aid

Since nosebleeds involve blood streaming, it is necessary that you wear a disposable face shield or gloves if you have them.

  • Sit the victim down and make sure he or she is leaning slightly forward. Request the victim to pinch the soft, fleshy section of the nose firmly for ten to fifteen minutes.
  • The mouth should be open to allow effective breathing through the mouth and also to spit any blood from the mouth. Ensure there is a sink, container or bowl in front for the victim to spit the blood.
  • Check their blood pressure and pulse to find out if they are normal.
  • After fifteen minutes are over, let the victim release the pressure to find out if the bleeding is under control. If you realize that it is not yet controlled, let the victim continue with the pinching.
  • In case the nosebleeds continues after fifteen minutes of pressure the victim need to be taken to an accident and emergency facility.

Determine what may be the underlying cause

It is good to know what is the underlying cause of the nosebleeds even as you give the first aid. Determine if the cause may be as a result of the following.

  • Trauma or recent surgery
  • If the victim is suffering from leukemia, hemophilia or if there are cases of bleeding disorders in their family.
  • Check for any sign of facial pain, rhinorrhoea, nasal obstruction, allergens, cranial neuropathy and other environmental factors.

If the nosebleed stop with first aid, you can consider administering topical antiseptic to the victim. In case the victim suffers from regular bleeding of the nose, it is good to visit nose, ear or throat specialist for more checkups.

Why opt for Flexible Online CPR certification Courses?

March 22nd, 2014 | Posted by vanfirstaid in First Aid and CPR - (Comments Off on Why opt for Flexible Online CPR certification Courses?)

There has been an increased popularity of online CPR certification courses in Canada. This has been enhanced by the high number of approved course providers offering the online courses. The change of lifestyle whereby many people are engaged with other activities have made them find it more convenient to study online at their own time. The good thing is that the content of the courses is similar to the one provided in the offline training.
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Wide variety of online CPR certification course providers

Considering the needs of CPR training, there are several organizations providing the certification courses in offsite locations. Many people are occupied at all times and may not have enough time to attend the training in person. This has made many of the course providers to offer the certification courses online. Another advantage of the training is that the course providers offer programs that meet the regulations and rules laid down by all the relevant authorities. In addition to the CPR certification programs, the course providers provide other training such as basic life support training, pediatric advanced level support training, automated external defibrillator training, advanced cardiac life support and other emergency training.

CPR Training

Any kind of CPR training is a good thing!

Flexible Timing and Several Programs Offered

The CPR certification training certified in Canada include the interactive session, testing sessions, internet based learning process with the course tutors. The timing of programs is usually flexible and all interested candidates are given opportunities to schedule the learning programs according to their needs. The trainees offer emergency action plan, health and safety programs, updated health and safety program and other programs at a more affordable cost.

The heath-care institutes provide updated Health & Safety program, an Emergency Action Plan and lots more health-related programs at affordable prices. For anyone interested in any of the online programs, then you can look for the training courses offered by different organizations in Canada. After completing the online courses successfully, you get certified to provide CPR first aid. The certification is valid for a period of two to three years depending on the institution where you get the CPR certification.

Getting certified to offer CPR training is a great asset in Canada, because you are empowered to offer the first aid at home or in the workplace. Most employees also tend to ask for this certification during selection and recruitment. Therefore, you also increase your prospect of landing a good job and high salary because the certification makes you a great asset in any workplace.

First Aid For Hypertensive Emergency

March 22nd, 2014 | Posted by vanfirstaid in Circulatory Emergency - (Comments Off on First Aid For Hypertensive Emergency)

Hypertensive emergency is a type of hypertensive crisis wherein blood pressure spikes to a very harmful level that it may damage the organs of the body.

First Aid For Hypertensive Emergency

First Aid For Hypertensive Emergency

Hypertensive emergency is a type of hypertensive crisis wherein blood level spikes to a very harmful level that it may potentially damage the organs of the body and cause other complications. There is a need to reduce blood pressure immediately to avoid imminent organ damage. Blood pressure readings is given in two numbers, written as 120/80 mmHg. The first number is called the systolic blood pressure whereas the second number is called the diastolic blood pressure. Normal blood pressure should read less than 120/80 mmHg most of the time, whereas hypertension is read as any number greater than 140/90 mmHg.

Hypertensive emergency is different from hypertensive urgency, another type of hypertensive crisis, wherein there is a spike in blood pressure but there is no damage that occurs to the organs of the body. It can be managed with blood pressure medication. On the other hand, given from its names, hypertensive emergency is a medical emergency that requires immediate emergency medical help. Treatment to lower high blood in a hypertensive emergency can usually only be done in an emergency room.

Causes of Hypertensive Emergency

The following may lead to hypertensive emergencies:

  • Forgetting to take blood pressure medication
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Stroke
  • Aorta rupture (the main artery of the body)
  • Interactions that may occur between medications

Signs and Symptoms of Hypertensive Emergency

In some cases of hypertension, there are no symptoms present. However, in cases of hypertensive emergencies, the following signs and symptoms may include:

  • Severe chest pain
  • Intense headache, supplemented by blurred vision and/ or increasing confusion
  • Severe anxiety
  • Shortness of breath, that may be increasing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Unresponsiveness

Complications of Hypertensive Emergency

If left untreated or treatment time takes too long, complications may arise from hypertensive emergencies. Some of the hypertensive emergencies be severe, which can include:

  • Altered mental state, e.g. confusion
  • Stroke or bleeding into the brain
  • Heart failure
  • Heart attack
  • Unstable angina
  • Pulmonary oedema (or fluid in the lungs)
  • Aneurysm
  • Eclampsia (occurs during pregnancy)

First Aid Management of Hypertensive Emergency

When a person discovers that they have hypertension, it should be treated immediately to avoid progressing to hypertensive emergencies. In scenarios that a person shows symptoms of hypertensive emergency, the following steps are generally recommended:

  • Call for emergency medical services immediately. If there is no access to this, have another person drive the victim to the hospital right away.
  • Do not wait to see if pressure reduces on its own.

Disclaimer: This article does not provide medical advice or treatment. The information given should not be used for self-diagnosis. Seek medical attention when necessary. Learning how to recognize symptoms of medical emergencies can help save a life. To learn more about to how to recognize symptoms, enrol in first aid and CPR training that includes content related to circulatory emergencies.

Sources:

High blood pressure (hypertension). (2011). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved on October 14, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hypertensive-crisis/AN00626

Nazario, Brunilda. (2011). WebMD.  Retrieved on October 15, 2013, from http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/guide/hypertensive-crisis