A couple of months ago I posted, How to revive cold-dead people by warming their heart. The new idea in today’s blog is perhaps a little more useful because you don’t have to find someone who has been cold-dead for a short time—which is a rare occurence. This new post is a technique for keeping some slowly dying person alive a little while longer—this is a common occurence. No one is going to live forever and it will rarely seem like long enough so this technique is going to be applicable to a lot of people and sooner or later to you. It is based on the fact that in the final days of life, especially when someone is old, their vital functions slow down. When some particular organs functions drop below that necessary for the person’s body to maintain its dynamic equilibrium with their needs a stepwise and steady decline begins. Every organ of the body needs fresh blood to carry on its functions. When it is not getting enough blood it cannot perform its full functions properly and the whole body must adjust to a lower step of performance. Sometimes it can operate at this lower level for quite a long time and it is generally just called old age.
When some vital function drops a bit too low, however, a positive feedback loop develops where each decline is met with a further declining adjustment and after a while the whole systems slows so much it falls below a minimal function level for some organ and then just stops. It is to this last couple of days, perhaps months, of declining function of life to which I am addressing this blog. The idea is essentially the same one for reviving cold-dead people by warming their heart but with a difference. Those cold-dead people were otherwise in good health and it was just the very low temperature of their bodies that was their deadly problem.
The people dying from old age are no longer functioning very well and even when they up and functioning it is at a very low level. The stress of moving about for a while will require a period of rest so the organs stressed during the physical activity can recover and bring the body back to an equilibrium. That restoration is based on a supply of fresh blood being pumped through the body by the heart.
Here is the problem. Many old people’s hearts have grown very weak and do not pump as much blood as is needed for physical activity. Those people are forced to lounge about most of the time so their vital organs, such as kidneys or liver, can get enough blood to recover. If these organs don’t get enough blood then whatever their function was, isn’t performed fully and the person feels poorly and is forced to rest.
Typically the body responds to these problems by lowering the overall temperature a little bit and everything slows down and there isn’t so much demand for blood by any particular organ. That is why one commonly sees old people bundled up in blankets when the external temperature seems quite comfortable. They feel cold. However, the blankets don’t help much because they just keep the cold in—the person is already cold. If they were to physically exercises it would warm up their bodies for a little while but they can’t do that because they don’t have the reserve energy for the needed physical activities. These people are like flickering candles about to burn up their last reserves of fuel.
Ta da—To the rescue! These people can be helped for a little while by warming their hearts and lungs but not their bodies.When the heart is warmed it can beat more strongly. The reason for selective warming of the heart is to increase the flow of oxygen rich blood to the heart itself and secondarily to all of the other vital organs. This energizes the whole body even if the arms and legs are still cold.
This warming of the heart is different from warming the whole body. For example; putting the weak person in a warm place in the sunshine warms their whole body but warms the whole body from the outside. Then the whole body demands blood and that soon overtaxes the weak heart’s ability to deliver it. That causes the vital organs to receive a short supply while giving the secondary organs the skin and muscles an abundant supply. Thus the vital organs are not be able to perform their duties very well. So warming the whole person may feel good for a little while but a couple of hours later the whole body is exhausted and the vital organs are functioning close to failure and death.
The method suggested for warming the heart is essentically the same as for reviving cold-dead people. The goal it to gently warm the heart from the outside by placing some large warm, not too hot, object directly over their heart both on their chest and on their back. Warm hands and face could be used for this warming if there is nothing else available but ideally it would be a hot water bottle, or a heat pack or a warm buckwheat bag, at about 106°F with a few layers of cloth between to prevent burning the skin or shocking the heart. The cold heart is sensitive to physical bumps and might start fibrillating. It takes a while for the warm-heat to reach the heart but the heat will warm the heart first and help it beat more strongly. After about 20 minutes they should be getting benefits from the warmer heart and all of their organs should be getting more blood and the person will feel better over all. After a while the whole person gets some more heat as the blood warms and they will feel more comfortable. There feet will be the last to warm not the first as would be the case with a hot water bottle placed on the feet. Warming the feet feels good but it is counter productive for their vital organs.
Warm packs should be placed on the chest of dying people to keep them vital as long as is reasonable.