Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Personal defibrillators?

In case you don't know, an automated external defibrillator (AED) is the thing they shock people with on TV ER shows to restart their heart. (While I'm not a big fan of how medical stuff is portrayed in movies and TV, it seems like the easiest way to explain a defibrillator to someone who doesn't recognize the name.)

Now I guess medical research is looking into the benefits of issuing one to every heart attack survivor. The idea is that someone who has already survived a heart attack might have a better chance of surviving a second one if there is a defibrillator at home.

Since heart disease is a problem among diabetics, I wanted to share the results of the study. Evidently having a defibrillator around isn't much better than having family members around who are trained in CPR. However, if your family doesn't want to learn CPR, or if they suck at it, a defibrillator could increase your chances of survival... if someone is around when you go into cardiac arrest.

This expert quote in the article made me laugh:

"The best way to survive a cardiac arrest is not to have it in the first place," says Arthur Kellermann, of the Emory School of Medicine in Atlanta.

Umm.... Duh. But he follows up with a good point:

"This is accomplished through diet, exercise, non-smoking and access to good medical care for conditions like high blood pressure prior to a heart attack."

In other word, take care of yourself, people!

I still believe that the best treatment for diabetics is to keep their diabetes under good control and live a healthy lifestyle, rather than relying on drugs. However, this study is a good reminder that some form of intervention is necessary in order to avoid a heart attack, because nothing can guarantee your survival once you go down that path!

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