The Most Productive Way to Spend Three Hours

The Most Productive Way to Spend Three Hours on

If you’re looking to put those three hours to good use, consider learning to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

Does it surprise you to know you’ll get more than 4.7 billion suggestions from Google if you ask the search engine about things you can do in three hours? Most range from the practical, such as running a marathon and cooking a 14-pound turkey – to the absurdly specific, such as getting coronary bypass surgery to taking a tour aboard the S.S. Minnow.

If you’re looking to put those three hours to good use, consider learning to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The average CPR course takes only about three hours, rewarding you with a lifetime skill that can save lives. Here’s what’s in store for you:

What will I learn?

  • The American Heart Association describes cardiopulmonary resuscitation in plain English as an emergency lifesaving procedure performed when the heart stops beating. Immediate CPR can double or triple chances of survival after cardiac arrest. CPR is important because it helps to keep blood flow active, and this extends the opportunity for a successful resuscitation once trained emergency medical staff to arrive.
  • One thing you’ll discover is a common misunderstanding about CPR. It doesn’t restart a heart after cardiac arrest. The timed compressions to a person’s chest cavity only help to keep blood flow active. To restart a heart after cardiac arrest, you would need an automated external defibrillator (AED), and you’ll learn about these devices during quality training.
  • The course will teach you how to perform CPR on adults, as well as children. You’ll also get insight into why men are also more likely to receive CPR than women – but hopefully, you’ll help to reverse these statistics.The CPR process has to be slightly modified to perform on children below a certain age, and you’ll learn about these variations during the class. Even children themselves can be taught to perform CPR. Recent studies show that children in the sixth grade are capable of using hands-only CPR to save lives.
  • A portion of the class will help you to understand the difference between cardiac arrest and a heart attack. It’s important to know the difference – especially the link between both, and what you should immediately do in each case.

You’ll also learn that, like many lifelong skills, it’s important to review what you’ve learned by taking a CPR recertification class. And, yes, after taking a three-hour CPR course – especially when it’s certified by the American Heart Association – you will be officially certified to perform this life-saving procedure.

Where can I take a CPR course?

The American Heart Association has many authorized training locations throughout the United States, where you can take a course. If you’re interested and have the time, you can learn additional skills as well. For example, you might want to supplement your CPR training with a First Aid course.

This is usually an instructor-led course that teaches you critical skills to respond to and manage an injury in the first few minutes until emergency medical services arrive. You’ll learn the duties and responsibilities, as well as first aid actions for many common medical emergencies such as choking, cuts, broken bones, sprains, insect bites or stings, strokes, and more.

Got three free hours? Use it to become a life-saver! Check here for available course dates and times.

9 Heart Conditions You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

9 Heart Conditions You Probably Haven’t Heard Of on

While the chances of having any of these issues are rare, it’s not impossible

The word “rare” can help calm our inner hypochondriac. Arming yourself with the knowledge of rare diseases can also help individuals recognize the warning signs of an uncommon ailment. Here are 9 heart conditions that most people aren’t aware of:

  1. Tricuspid atresia. While this may sound like a deep-sea creature, it’s actually a very serious condition. The “tricuspid” is a heart valve; tricuspid atresia is when this valve is either missing or deformed.
  2. Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC). ARVC causes fibrofatty replacement in the heart’s right ventricle and in the subepicardial of the left ventricle. Symptoms may include heart palpitations or loss of consciousness and can lead to sudden cardiac arrest.
  3. Kounis syndrome. This is the clinical name for an allergic reaction that causes angina (severe chest pain) or a heart attack. When histamine is released by the body, it can cause spasms in the heart’s blood vessels, restricting blood flow and producing chest pain.
  4. Cardiac syndrome X. While originally identified as “Syndrome X,” today, most cardiologist know it as the more descriptive “microvascular angina.” The condition is characterized by abnormalities in the heart’s micro-arteries that lead to angina.
  5. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. “A pot used for trapping octopus” – that’s what “takotsubo” means in Japanese. Sometimes referred to as “stress cardiomyopathy” or “broken-heart syndrome,” people suffering from this condition have an abnormally-shaped heart. The syndrome is thought to be a reaction to emotional stress and can manifest in chest pain and shortness of breath.
  6. Prinzmetal angina. Also known as coronary artery spasm, variant angina, or angina inversa, this particular type of chest pain is caused by spasms in the vessels that nourish the heart muscle. Similar to Kounis syndrome, these spasms restrict blood flow to the heart, resulting in angina.
  7. Right heart hypoplasia. This congenital defect of the heart is marked by underdevelopment of the right atrium and ventricle. The abnormality can prevent the lungs from receiving adequate blood flow.
  8. Torsades de pointes. The name of this condition refers to the ECG patterns produced by the heart in these cases. The abnormal heart rhythms expressed by these ECG readings can have life-threatening implications. While in most cases there’s not an imminent risk of sudden cardiac arrest, as the condition advances, the risk increases.
  9. Barlow’s syndrome. When any of the mitral valve flaps fail to close as they should or one is floppy, the patient is diagnosed with Barlow’s syndrome. Although many patients don’t present with symptoms, it’s one of the more common of these uncommon heart conditions.

A broader view of heart disease

Of course, these conditions are rare. However, all forms of heart disease combined are the leading cause of death for both men and women, with Coronary Artery Disease (CHD) being the leading contributor. CHD is caused by the build-up of plaque in the walls of arteries that lead to the heart – meaning it can often be mitigated or prevented with healthy lifestyle choices.

In general, diseases affecting the heart are classified into separate genres. If you’d like to learn more about the primary types of heart disease, we encourage you to read our blog, “Defining the Five Types of Heart Disease”.

What’s a ‘Silent’ Heart Attack?

What's a 'Silent’ Heart Attack? on

It’s a surprisingly common occurrence, which is why it pays to know the warning signs

What do you think about when you image somebody having a heart attack? Most likely you picture someone (probably a man) clutching his chest or breathlessly saying his left arm hurts. And while not entirely wrong, these are not the only signs of someone having a heart attack. In many cases – almost half, in fact – people experience what’s known as a silent heart attack.

What exactly is a “silent” heart attack?

A silent heart attack, also known as a silent myocardial infarction (SMI), gets its name due to the fact that the symptoms aren’t over; there isn’t intense chest or neck pain or sudden dizziness. In many cases, people don’t even know they’re having a heart attack, says Dr. Jorge Plutzky, director of the vascular disease prevention program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“SMI symptoms can feel so mild, and be so brief, they often get confused for regular discomfort or another less serious problem,” Plutzky explains. “People can even feel completely normal during an SMI and afterward, too, which further adds to the chance of missing the warning signs.”

The warning signs of a silent heart attack

Many signs of a silent heart attack are subtle, so it’s important to know what to look out for:


When someone is having a heart attack, less blood flows to the heart, which often makes the person feel extremely tired. This is one of the most common signs of any heart attack, especially for women.

Shortness of breath

The heart is instrumental in getting oxygen to all parts of the body, as well as eliminating carbon dioxide from the tissue. When blood flow to the heart is blocked, this could have an impact on breathing. Feeling short of breath upon waking is a particularly bad sign.

Soreness in certain areas

Though the sharp pain common with a typical heart attack doesn’t happen, there can be some minor pain or soreness. This is because when heart muscle cells lose oxygen, they transmit pain signals. Because of the proximity to the heart, people may feel discomfort coming from their chest, back, arms, neck, or jaw.

Upset stomach

Everyone has an upset stomach now and again, which is why it is often overlooked as the sign of a heart attack. But in many cases, nausea or vomiting could be heart attack symptoms.


Like an upset stomach, heartburn is pretty common with a lot of people. But if you rarely get indigestion or it comes on unexpectedly, this could be a red flag.

Just not feeling right

This one may be a little vague, but nobody knows your body like you do. If you feel off, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, says Dr. Stacey R. Rosen, a cardiologist at North Shore-LIJ Health System.

“Heart attack patients have told me they have a feeling of doom—like something’s just not right,” Dr. Rosen said. “Listen to that little voice in your head. If something feels off, it’s always better to be overly cautious and call a doctor.”

Whether it’s for yourself or someone you live or work with, knowing the signs of a silent heart attack can help ensure that treatment is given as soon as possible. At One Beat CPR, we are dedicated to educating everyone about heart issues and providing expert CPR and first aid training. To see what we offer, you can check out our class schedule.

Defining the Five Types of Heart Disease

Defining the Five Types of Heart Disease on

Differentiating the root causes of heart issues

The term “heart disease” is used to describe numerous ailments that affect the heart. The term is often used synonymously with “cardiovascular disease,” which describes problems with the heart and blood vessels that can lead to chest pain, a heart attack, sudden cardiac arrest, or a stroke.

The five primary types of heart disease are:

  • Coronary artery (atherosclerotic) heart disease
  • Valvular heart disease
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias)
  • Congenital heart disease

Let’s take a closer look at the causes and symptoms of these five types of heart disease.

Coronary artery (atherosclerotic) heart disease

Coronary arteries provide the heart muscle with the nutrients and oxygen it needs. Coronary artery disease (CAD) occurs when plaque build-up or a clot clogs the arteries to the heart, causing the heart to get less of these nutrients and oxygen. Plaque is made up of several elements, including cholesterol and byproducts of inflammation.

As plaque builds up over several years, the arteries become narrower, causing the blood flow to the heart to be slowed or blocked. Reduced blood flow can eventually lead to blood clots, angina, or a heart attack.

Coronary artery disease can stem from a number of different controllable and non-controllable factors. The non-controllable ones include gender (men have a higher risk) and aging. The controllable factors include smoking, high blood pressure, lack of physical activity, high cholesterol, and being overweight.

There aren’t many symptoms of coronary heart disease in the early stages. As the disease advances, angina or a heart attack may occur, which may lead to a diagnosis of the CAD.

Valvular heart disease

The heart contains four valves that open and close in order to lead blood in and out of the heart. Valvular heart disease occurs when these valves get damaged, which affects how the valves control the flow. This can involve narrowing, leaking, or improper closing.

Much like CAD, valvular heart disease can be caused by a variety of controllable and non-controllable factors. Non-controllable factors include being born with a deformed valve or genetics that cause valve tissue to decay faster with age. Valvular heart disease can also be caused by rheumatic fever, a heart attack, bacterial endocarditis, or rheumatoid arthritis.

More controllable factors include having high blood pressure, taking the migraine medicine Methysergide or certain diet drugs, and radiation therapy.

Symptoms of valvular heart disease include shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, chest pain, swollen feet or ankles, and fainting.


Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle which makes it harder for the muscle to squeeze and pump blood through the rest of the body. There are three main types of cardiomyopathy: dilated, hypertrophic, and restrictive. Cardiomyopathy can lead to other heart conditions such as blood clots, valve problems, cardiac arrest, and heart failure.

Causes of cardiomyopathy include long-term high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, pregnancy complications, nutritional deficiencies, long-term alcohol abuse, and the use of some chemotherapy drugs and radiation.

Similar to CAD, there aren’t many symptoms of cardiomyopathy in the early stages. As the disease advances, symptoms may start to appear, such as swelling of the legs, ankles, or feet, extreme fatigue, breathlessness, dizziness, and fainting. These symptoms can get progressively worse if cardiomyopathy is not treated.

Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias)

Arrhythmias occur when the electrical impulses that control the heart aren’t functioning properly, causing the heart to beat too fast, too slow, or irregularly.

Arrhythmias may be hereditary but can also be caused by an infection, extreme stress, anemia, thyroid disease, other heart conditions, and the abuse of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, or drugs like cocaine or amphetamines.

Some symptoms of heart rhythm problems include a racing heart, a slow heart, chest pain, and shortness of breath, dizziness, or fainting. But, as with other conditions, arrhythmias may also have no noticeable symptoms until an emergency happens.

Congenital heart disease

Congenital heart disease (CHD) stems from a congenital heart defect that causes a problem with the heart’s structure. Heart defects are one of the most common types of birth defects and can involve an abnormality in the walls of the heart, the heart valves, or the arteries and veins near the heart. They can disrupt blood flow through the heart – either slowing it down, causing it to go to the wrong place or in the wrong direction, or blocking flow entirely.

These defects manifest during fetal development. Some researchers say there is no known reason for them, while others posit they can be related to specific genes or environmental factors while in the womb.

Severe defects can be found during pregnancy or after birth, while others can go undiagnosed until the child is older. Symptoms of severe defects include rapid breathing, fatigue, and poor blood circulation, while the less severe cases can have no symptoms at all. Congenital heart disease can go undetected until it causes sudden cardiac arrest, which “is a major cause of mortality in adults with” CHD.

Spotting, managing and preventing heart disease

Heart disease is easier to treat when diagnosed early, so it is important for you to know your family’s medical history, discuss it with your doctor, and get regular checkups that may spot any hidden issues. In addition, many of the causes of heart disease – including the most common, atherosclerosis – can be mitigated or prevented altogether with lifestyle changes, including a healthy diet and regular exercise.

And should you ever be in a position to witness someone with heart disease having a heart attack or undergoing sudden cardiac arrest, it’s important to know what to do.

One Beat CPR + AED provides American Heart Association CPR and AED training for groups and individuals. For more information or to sign up for a class, call us at 954-321-5305.