PERTH AMBOY — Healthcare professionals from Raritan Bay Medical Center will step out into the community this Go Red for Women day Friday, Feb. 7, promoting women’s heart health and providing free screenings, CPR training and education at nine different Middlesex County locations.
As part of the events, women and men will be receive free training on how to perform Hands-OnlyTM CPR and use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), a device that checks heart rhythms and delivers an electrical shock to restore its natural rhythms when needed. Blood pressure screenings and signs of stroke healthy heart education will also be provided. Raritan Bay Medical Center professionals will be at the Woodbridge Community Center, Sayreville Borough Hall, Raritan Bay Area YMCA, Northfield Banks in Woodbridge and Avenel and the Provident Banks in Perth Amboy and Iselin from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. They will also be at the Old Bridge YMCA, 3 to 5 p.m., and Vito Mazza Salon & Spa in Woodbridge, 4 to 6 p.m.
“Stroke and heart disease are still the number four and number one killers of women,” says registered nurse Mirian Medina, coordinator of Raritan Bay Medical Center’s (RBMC) Stroke Center. “As proud annual supporters of the National Go Red for Women movement in conjunction with the American Heart Association, we want to empower women about living heart healthy and help them learn how to become a lifesaver,” says Medina.
“Stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted,” says neurologist Rafiya Khakoo, MD, medical director of the Stroke Center at RBMC, noting that “stroke is more common among men than women, but the fact is at all ages, more women than men die from stroke.”
Symptoms of stroke can be remembered by thinking of F.A.S.T., facial drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulties followed by time to call 9-1-1. “It’s crucial for everyone to learn the warning signs of stroke and quickly activate 911,” says Dr. Khakoo. “If stroke is suspected, note when symptoms begin, because the clot-busting medication Tissue Plasminogen Activator – referred to as TpA – must be given within three hours of the onset of symptoms.”
“Phone 911 immediately, even if symptoms seem to improve,” says Medina. “Also, be aware that women are more likely than men to report unusual stroke symptoms, such as sudden nausea or pain in the face, arm, or leg.”
Most cardiac arrests occur in homes and public places, and many are witnessed by a family member, co-worker or friend. When the heart stops beating in cardiac arrest, it no longer pumps blood to the body. The brain and organs can be seriously damaged without oxygen and nutrients from blood, and the person can die within minutes if not treated immediately. CPR can help maintain blood flow and ventilation in a victim of cardiac arrest. AEDS are commonly available in shopping malls and other public venues. They are safe and very easy to use.
“Knowing how to perform Hands-Only CPR and use an AED before first responders arrive can increase the chance of survival for heart attack victims by up to 75 percent,” says Medina.
For more information, call the Stroke Center at (732) 324-4970.
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