Sudden Cardiac Arrest : Largest cause of Natural Death

Sudden Cardiac Arrest is responsible for the largest number of natural deaths in United States. Usually it is noticed as a sudden and unexpected loss of heart beat and breathing. Death due to sudden cardiac arrest is most prevalent in age-group of 30s and 40s. Almost half of the heart disease deaths occur due to cardiac arrest.  Men are at twice more risk of cardiac arrest than women.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest is not Heart Attack !

Most of the people get confused between Cardiac Arrest and Heart Attack. Cardiac Arrest is a condition related the electrical impulses that make our heart beat. When the electrical impluses get out of control and heart stops beating due to lack of electrical impulses, then it is called Cardiac Arrest. On the other hand Heart Attack happens when an artery responsible for supplying blood to heart muscles get blocked due to cholesterol. Due to lack of blood supply to a particular region of heart, the ability to pump the blood is compromised. So unless it is major heart attack, the chances of survival are much more in a Heart Attack compared to Cardiac Arrest.

How does Sudden Cardiac Arrest happens ?

  • Electrical system of heart malfunctions and becomes irregular.
  • Pulse rate becomes dangerously high
  • Ventricles may flutter or quiver , known as Ventricular Fibrillation.

These changes to the electrical system of heart, make it unable to beat and it can't pump the blood.

Symptoms of Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Unfortunately more than half of sudden cardiac arrests happens without any prior symptoms and the person just loses consciousness. But in rest of the cases the person may feel

  • Fast heartbeat
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Throwing up due to feeling uncomfortable in stomach

The above symptoms mean that rhythm of your heart beat is not in line. If you start feeling these symptoms then you should ask anybody near you to get medical assistance for you as soon as possible. Once you start feeling these symptoms, you only have a few minutes before fainting.  

A person under Cardiac Arrest seems dead as he/she can't breathe, doesn't have a pulse and can't respond. These symptoms make it different from a heart attack, where the person remain conscious with a pulse and breathing.

Emergency Treatment for Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Defibrillation are the most common emergency treatment for a patient of cardiac arrest. If the emergency services are yet to arrive then manually providing the CPR may save the patient. Even if you are not trained to do CPR then just pressing the center of chest with your complete body weight at a pace of 100-120 compression per minute may keep the person alive till the ambulance arrives.

Causes of Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Abnormal heart rhythms known as arrhythmias is the most common cause of cardiac arrests. Other sudden cardiac arrest causes include:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Heart conditions since birth
  • Extreme physical activity or blood loss.
  • Change in your heart’s structure due to some disease or infection.
  • Alcohol use disorder.
  • Obesity
  • Genetic disorders of your heart muscle
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
The very first cause in above list, "Coronary Artery Disease" is alone responsible for 80% of Sudden Cardiac Deaths. 

Regular Exercise and Healthy Diet is the best way to keep your heart healthy. It can save you not just from heart diseases but also from Cardiac Arrest.

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