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News Report Page 6 of 12
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Have a go heroes praised by Ambulance Service

FIGURES released by North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) show that more bystanders than ever before are attempting to save the lives of people in cardiac arrest. A cardiac arrest is when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood round the body, starving the brain of oxygen and causing the patient to fall unconscious and stop breathing. A report from the Ambulance Service revealed that bystander CPR took place in 8 out of 10 cases of cardiac arrest in 2019; a figure that stood at just over 5 out of 10 cases in 2014. Chest compressions, rescue breaths and use of a defibrillator are the only way to help a person in cardiac arrest; without these interventions the person will die. Use of publicly accessible defibrillators has more than quadrupled in the past 5 years, but remains relatively low with community based defibrillators used on just 9.5% of the eligible 3,591 patients. Where resuscitation was attempted, men accounted for 65% of cardiac arrest patients and women 35%, with 66 year old, the average age of victims. However, cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time; 86 patients were children. It takes the Ambulance Service 6 minutes on average to respond to these emergencies. But a person's chance of survival decreased by around 10% for every minute that passes without a resuscitation attempt. Around 1 in 10 people survive an out of Hospital cardiac arrest, but where members of the public stepped in and successfully resuscitated a patient before the Ambulance arrived, 75% of people survived and were discharged from Hospital. Those resuscitated by a member of the public with defibrillator from the community were twice as likely to survive as those resuscitated by the Ambulance Service, showing that speed is of the essence in these situations.


With members of the public able to make a real difference to the lives of people in their communities, North West Ambulance Service has launched its new 'CardiacSmart' accreditation scheme to celebrate and recognise those who actively help to increase survival rates from cardiac arrest. Organisations, businesses, Schools and other publicly accessible locations are invited to apply for CardiacSmart status by taking active steps to make their community safer and healthier. Successful applicants will be awarded 1 of 3 levels of accreditation status; accredited, accredited+ and accredited partner, all of which are determined by specific criteria. This includes having a readily available defibrillator that is checked and maintained regularly and making a commitment to providing life saving training.

Accredited+ status is awarded to those who have a defibrillator accessible to the community on a 24 hour basis by storing it on the outside of a building in an appropriate cabinet or space within their building. Accredited partners are groups and communities that champion the ethos of CardiacSmart with a sustained effort in the long term. They continuously promote basic life support skills, hold awareness sessions to give people the confidence to help a person in cardiac arrest and arrange for the placement of defibrillators. All of those who achieve accreditation will receive a certificate, a memorandum of understanding signed by both parties and publicity materials to help promote their life saving status.

Paramedic Community Engagement Manager, David McNally, said:- "Every second counts in a cardiac arrest so it's so important that people in the community step-in and begin the simple, but life saving treatment as soon as possible. Doing CPR is the 1st step; it pushes oxygen around the body to prevent or limit damage to vital organs such as the brain. Defibrillators make the biggest difference and are incredibly easy to use as they speak to you and tell you exactly what to do. They will only deliver a shock to someone who needs it; you cannot get it wrong. The increasing numbers of people in the North West of England willing to help in these situations is something we should all be incredibly proud of. Through our cardiac smart accreditation scheme, we will recognise those places that make their communities safer and healthier by promoting life saving skills and having rescue ready defibrillators available for nearby emergencies. Those who achieve accreditation will belong to a growing network of potential lifesavers and will receive support from the Ambulance Service to ensure they are able and prepared to save lives."

Details of how to apply for the accreditation scheme can be found at:- NWAS.NHS.UK/CardiacSmart. Interestingly, back in 2018 we asked if phone boxes in Southport should be used to house defibrillators. Please do email us your thoughts on this topic to:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com.

Spill the beans - Is chocolate good for me?

British Heart Foundation's dietician Tracy Parker debunks some chocolate myths

A new survey by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has found that more than 40% of Brits confess to being chocoholics, and as many as 45% would really struggle to try and give up the chocolate if push came to Crunch(ie). This March the British Heart Foundation is asking chocolate lovers take on the Dechox challenge and give up chocolate for the month of March to raise funds for the BHF's vital research into heart and circulatory diseases. But how much do we really know about 1 of the nation's favourite treats? Tracy Parker, Senior Dietitian at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), spills the beans and debunks some of the most common chocolate myths.

1. Chocolate is good for me?

Tracy says:- "Sadly, with the average bar containing 250 kcals, it's not the healthiest choice. Too much chocolate of any type can contribute to weight gain, a risk factor for heart and circulatory diseases. Dechox is the perfect opportunity to take a Time Out from chocolate but it's also a great chance to enjoy other foods. The BHF have put together some tasty and nutritious treat ideas available at:- BHF.Org.UK. All of these will provide you with less calories, saturated fat and sugar than an average chocolate bar."

2. Eating chocolate will give me more energy?

Tracy says:- "The caffeine and sugar in chocolate may give you an energy spike, but the crash that follows will leave you feeling more tired than you did before. When you're hungry, you're better off trying to eat foods that provide more slow releasing energy to sustain your energy levels throughout the day. Choose foods with less sugar and more fibre; such as a handful of nuts, a piece of fruit, a small sandwich, or a small bowl of unsweetened cereal."

3. Dark chocolate is better for me?

Tracy says:- "Dark chocolate isn't necessarily better. Dark chocolate can contain more cocoa solids and cocoa butter than milk chocolate. Dark chocolate (with 70% or more cocoa solids) contains the most polyphenols, which can help to reduce blood pressure. But the number of polyphenols depends on how the chocolate is processed. If you are eating Dark chocolate choose 70% coco solids or higher but there are plenty of healthier sources of polyphenols such as berries, nuts and tea."

4. Hot chocolate doesn't really count?

Tracy says:- "Unfortunately this isn't always the case. Cocoa powder used to make hot chocolate does contain less fat because it doesn't contain the cocoa butter and other fats that a chocolate bar does. However, depending on what you mix the cocoa powder with; whole milk, syrups or cream; your hot chocolate drink can contain as many calories, fat and sugar as 1 to 2 and a ½ average chocolate bars."

5. I'm addicted to chocolate?

Tracy says:- "This is a common misconception. Although it may feel like it, there is no solid evidence that chocolate causes physical addiction. Instead, it is more our feelings about chocolate that tend to affect our behaviour, as we associate it with comfort, reward and celebration. This connection means that we might emotionally feel that we 'need' it, which can make it hard to control how much of it we eat."

6. Chocolate with bubbles in it is 'lighter?'

Tracy says:- "There is some truth in this; although the energy, fat and sugar content per 100g are like other chocolates. Added air makes it less dense than 'solid' chocolate, so eating chocolate with bubbles is a bit like eating a smaller bar: you are getting more air and less chocolate, fat, saturated fat and sugar per portion. But always check the portion size; some bubble chocolates are sold as bigger units than your usual 'solid' chocolate bar."

7. A chocolate bar is the right portion size to eat?

Tracy says:- "There's a lot to consider here. Any excess energy we consume will lead to weight gain. 1 chocolate is equivalent to around 10% of a man's and 12% of a woman's recommended intake over a day; often gobbled down in a few minutes. To burn the energy obtained from a chocolate bar, a 50 year old person needs to walk 45 mins to 55 mins."

8. I can't eat chocolate because I'm a diabetic?

Tracy says:- "Most people who have diabetes can usually eat chocolate in moderation and as part of a healthy lifestyle and diet. There's no need for special diabetic chocolate products. In fact, these are often are higher in energy and fat and may still raise your blood glucose levels. Instead, keep to a small amount of regular chocolate and try to have it at the end of your meal, so that your body absorbs it more slowly."

Since Dechox began in 2015 more than 100,000 people have ditched the dark stuff and taken part. Their Aero-ic efforts have raised over ₤4.5m for the BHF's vital research. The charity is now calling on even more people take a (chocolate) break and get involved this March. Each year, around 170,000 lives are cut short by heart and circulatory disease; that's 1 person every 3 minutes. By joining the thousands of other Dechoxers, you can help the BHF keep more hearts beating and blood flowing. So, send chocolate packing and challenge yourself to a Dechox this March! Sign up now at:- BHF.Org.UK/Dechox.

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