Wilderness First Responder Course
March 23-31, Wilderness Medical Associates, UC Santa Barbara
Written by Vapur Pro Team member, Laura Bylund.
There are three critical systems in the human body that support life: the circulatory, the respiratory and the nervous systems. Since each is dependent on the other, they are often analogized to a three-legged stool where all need to be functioning properly in order to stay upright. The respiratory system brings crucial oxygen into the body, the circulatory system distributes it throughout to vitalize tissue and organs and the nervous system controls… well, basically everything.
Each critical system has major threats that could lead to failure and if that happens to of any one of them, the three-legged stool falleth over. With the respiratory system, we worry about obstructions and broncospasms that lead to respiratory distress. With the nervous system, we fear increased intracranial pressure and other threats to brain function, as well as spinal cord injuries.
The circulatory system’s nemesis is volume and vascular shock. This is where blood volume decreases in relation to the size of veins and arteries; the ultimate worry is that blood pressure will drop so low that it is unable to adequately perfuse the body’s organs with that crucial oxygen. While volume shock is certainly caused by severe bleeding, the most common danger to the circulatory system is actually dehydration.