Sudden cardiac death is a kind of unexpected, sudden death caused by failure of the functioning of the heart. It is also called sudden cardiac arrest. It is believed to be the most significant cause of natural deaths all around the world. It is important to know that sudden cardiac arrest is different from heart attack. However, it may happen during the heart attack.
Heart attack happens when the arteries hinder the oxygen rich blood flow to the heart. The prolonged condition can result in bursting and blood clotting inside the arteries and causing heart damage. However, on the other hand sudden cardiac arrest happens when the electrical system of the heart becomes irregular and malfunctions. This results in raising the heart rate fatally. This further causes ventricles to fluctuate hindering the blood supply to the body. This is the reason that the initial phase of sudden cardiac arrest may lead to unconsciousness as the blood supply to the brain is too low for it to function properly. The prolonged condition will lead to death, if the condition is not handled on a high priority medical note.
Defibrillation and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) are the emergency treatments given in the case of sudden cardiac arrest. Defibrillation is a procedure to restore heart’s rhythm through electricity shock and CPR cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a manual technique of pressing the chest repetitively and passing the air through his airways to supply enough oxygen and blood flow to restore the heart rhythm. These treatments are given in the cases of emergencies.
Symptoms of Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Sudden cardiac arrest is indicated when heart beats are too fast or, in fact, racing. Some people may feel dizzy and may also fall unconscious
. Although these are some general symptoms, however, some cardiac sudden arrest may happen without any prior alerting symptoms too.
Causes of Sudden Cardiac Death
Arrhythmia is the condition when most cardiac deaths happen. It basically means abnormal heart rhythms. It becomes extremely fatal when disorganized and fluctuated impulses are fired from the ventricles
. This is called ventricular fibrillation. This hinders the heart to pump blood resulting in cardiac arrest causing sudden death
if not treated on an emergency note.
The Risk Factors of Sudden Cardiac Arrest
There may be numerous factors that may lead to increased risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrests. Some of which are as following:
- History of any previous heart attack. Such major heart attack can actually damage a large portion of the heart making it prone to Sudden Cardiac Arrest.
- The first six months after a major heart attack are always risky. So the chances of sudden cardiac arrest during this time are really high.
- Any history of coronary artery disease may increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrests.
- Smoking, drug and alcohol consumption are often related to increasing the risk of sudden cardiac arrests.
- High Cholesterol level is another factor that increases the risk of sudden cardiac arrest.
- High Blood pressure is also often related to heart diseases. This therefore contributes to increasing the risk of sudden cardiac arrests.
- Family history of any prior sudden cardiac arrests or cardiovascular diseases.
- History of blood vessel abnormalities or congenital heart defects.
- Being overweight or obesity.
- History of sudden fainting or syncope.
- Any prior history of sudden cardiac arrest.
Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death
After you have known the risk factors of sudden cardiac arrest, it becomes paramount to consult your cardiologist
to get yourself diagnosed. Follow ups with your doctor may prove really helpful as he can mentor you to minimise the risk of this condition. You can also reduce your risk factors if you adapt a healthy life style. Making small changes may bring big difference in your life. Some changes include:
- Saying “NO” to smoking
- Getting Fit – losing the extra kilos
- Sufficient physical activity
- Balanced nutritious diet
- Keeping Blood Sugar levels at bay
- Keeping Cholesterol levels balanced
- Proper medication and follow ups with your cardiologist
- Awareness for the self and family – so that they know how to act in emergency.