If you have heart disease, then you probably already know that a healthy lifestyleone rich in disease-fighting superfoodscan greatly improve your health.
However, even with these positive lifestyle changes, having heart disease still puts you at greater risk for having a heart attack.
When it comes to heart attacks, quick action is key. Having someone on hand with CPR knowledge can mean the difference between life and death. Having an automatic electronic defibrillator (AED) on hand can increase your chances of survival even more.
You can find AEDs in many public places, such as malls and gyms, and paramedics also carry them in the ambulance. But you can also have your own personal AED in your home.
Finding an AED for Your Home
There was a time where the best place to find an AED was at a medical supply house, or straight from the manufacturer’s website. Now, due to their increased popularity, find them easily at Amazon and other retailers.
But before you whip out your credit card, here are some things to consider when buying an AED:
- Ease of use: Some AEDs are fully automatic, meaning that once you attach the pads, the machine takes care of everything else. Others are only semi-automatic, meaning that you may have to follow several on-screen prompts and push the button manually to deliver the shock.
- Device Flexibility: Some AEDs only work on adults, some only work on children, and some work on both. If you have children in your household, you might want to consider getting a device that you can use on everyone. After all, an AED isn’t just for people with heart disease.
- Cost of use: AEDs are generally inexpensive to use because, if all goes well, you’ll never need to use them at all. However, if you do use the defibrillator, you will need to replace the pads. You will also, eventually, need to replace the battery, the electrodes and other parts. The frequency with which you have to replace these items should figure into your budget.
After you buy your AED, you also need to perform regular maintenance to keep it in good working condition.
You should turn on the unit at least once a month, and run the self-maintenance program, to make sure everything is in good working order. During an emergency is not the time to discover that the electrodes are corroded, or that something else is wrong. “Every minute counts during a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) emergency,” reminds AED Brands.
Pads and Electrodes
Pads can also expire. You might also need to use them as part of the self-check process. Be sure to check the dates on the packaging and make a note to order new pads at least one month before the old ones are set to expire. You should also have a spare set of electrodes on hand as a backup.
The AED unit uses a rechargeable battery. The average lifespan of the battery is several years, but it depends on how often you need to use it. These batteries can also expire and lose their ability to hold a charge. You should order a backup battery for extra security.
The AED is controlled by software that sets how much of a charge to deliver, and how often. That software is programmed based on the most recent guidelines from the American Heart Association (AHA). If the AHA puts out new guidelines, then the AED software needs to be changed to reflect that. Some retailers might notify you of software updates, and how to obtain them; but it’s always best to be proactive and periodically check the manufacturer’s website to see if there are software upgrades for your AED unit.