If you think about it, the average body is about 170cm long, weighs roughly 70kg and it is fully dependent on the heart – an organ, not much bigger than two fists together. Thanks to the heart, there is blood continuously being pumped around the body, taking along oxygen and nutrients. In fact, this small organ beats 120 times per minute, 100 000 times per day, 42 million times per year and amazing 3.3 billion times per an average lifetime! Do you ever wonder how does the heart actually beat?
Time for a short biology lesson! The heart is composed out of two specialized cell types: Cardiac cells, carrying out most of the heart functions; and Pacemaker cells, initiating the electrical activity within the heart which determines the heart rhythm, keeps the heart contracting and thereby pumps the blood around the body. The pacemaker cells have two locations within the heart: SA node on the top of the right atrium, and AV node at the bottom of the right atrium.
Everything runs smoothly as long as all these cells are in sync. However, as soon as there is any miscommunication between them, electrical activity becomes chaotic, cardiac waves become irregular and instead of constant rhythm, the heart starts to fibrillate or basically shake. Arrhythmia and cardiac fibrillation can have serious consequences and lead to a complete stop of the heart – Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).
The miscommunication might occur due to a several causes such as heart disease, loss of large quantities of blood or the use of certain drugs etc.
Unfortunately, Sudden Cardiac Arrest occurs with no warning and can happen to almost anyone. Unless you get screened, or know what signs & symptoms to look out for, it is almost impossible to know whether an individual has a predisposition for a SCA.
It is possible to successfully recover from a Cardiac Arrest when actions are taken immediately after the event. (You can watch a video about how the founder of Heart4More Foundation Tobi Alabi survived his cardiac arrest here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjDFdWqBLuw)
Every human being is a valuable creature and therefore we should look out for each other’s health. Take care of yourself by living a healthy lifestyle, eating well, exercising and getting regular checkups by your GP. Look out for others by teaching yourself the basics of CPR today, so that you can save someone’s life tomorrow! (link for CPR tutorial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbZNhJ_-AUg)