The vital elements of a person are an open airway, normal breathing and blood circulation through the body.
According to the American Heart Association, if the blood circulation stops and does not reach the brain, the brain cell starts to die in as early as 4 minutes and every minute, 7-10% of the brain cells die. Therefore, time is a very critical factor.
For the first responder it is his first priority to ensure these vital elements are intact.
The medical emergencies which hamper these functions are critical and the first aid provided to control airways, breathing and circulation is called as Basic Life Support. To understand the protocols of Basic Life support, it is important to understand the concept of ABC. These are essential terms used by both medical professionals and first aid providers, when dealing with a patient.
ABC stands for Airway, Breathing and Circulation.
Airways is the part of the body through which we breathe in (inhale) and breathe out (exhale).
It consists of nose, mouth, wind pipe and lungs.
It is vital for the airway to be clear to help us breathe. Normally our body does not allow anything except air through the airway and it is protected by a lid called epiglottis. If accidentally any foreign body enters the airway, defense mechanism of a human body is activated and tries to cough it out. A person who is alert and talking has a clear and protected airway.
The process of inhaling oxygen through airway into lungs and exhaling carbon dioxide is called breathing, This oxygen is then carried by blood to each and every cell in the body. Breathing is essential to sustain life and is an involuntary and automatic function. If this process stops or if it becomes inadequate, all other life processes will cease. If oxygen supply to the brain is restricted die to any reason, brain cells start to die. This damage is irreversible and can lead to permanent disability or death. Normal breathing is spontaneous, regular and quiet.
The normal rate of breathing for:
– Adult – 12 to 20 breathes per minute
– Child (1year to puberty) – 15 to 30 breathes per minute
– Infant (upto 1 year of age) – 25 to 50 breathes per minute
The flow of blood through the body by the heart is called circulation. Oxygenated blood is carried from the heart by vessels, called arteries, to all parts of the body, used by the organs and then de-oxygenated blood is returned to the heart via vessels called veins. Blood carries with it oxygen and glucose which are vital form normal functioning of the body organs including the brain.
How does the heart work?
The human heart is an electro-mechanical pump, circulating blood throughout the body. The blood moves in the blood vessels, while the heart serves as the pump for the blood.
The heart is located in the center of the chest behind the breast bone while its apex is tilted towards the left.
The heart has its own power supply that is responsible for its continuous beating and ensuring the circulation of blood through our body. The heart is a muscle and also needs blood supply to ensure normal functioning.
It is the first organ to develop in the body and it starts beating even before your birth. It is a perfect machine and it beats a few billion during your life span.
Pulse rate is the rate at which the heart beats. The normal pulse rate for an adult is between 60-100 beats per minute. It is higher for children and infants.