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Sudden cardiac death: why this group is particularly at risk

7 signs you shouldn't ignore

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Aakash Molpariya
Aakash started in Nov 2018 as a writer at Revyuh.com. Since joining, as writer, he is mainly responsible for Software, Science, programming, system administration and the Technology ecosystem, but due to his versatility he is used for everything possible. He writes about topics ranging from AI to hardware to games, stands in front of and behind the camera, creates creative product images and much more. He is a trained IT systems engineer and has studied computer science. By the way, he is enthusiastic about his own small projects in game development, hardware-handicraft, digital art, gaming and music. Email: aakash (at) revyuh (dot) com

Every year 325,000 people die of sudden cardiac death in the United States. SCD is the largest cause of natural death in the U.S. but one group of people, in particular, is at great risk. 

Revyuh explains how you can protect yourself and what you have to do in an emergency.

Suddenly the heart stops beating. The blood pressure drops to zero. Affected people feel an emptiness in their heads and collapse after about eight seconds. Breathing stops within two to three minutes – death occurs after about ten minutes. 

That is how sad the facts look about sudden cardiac death, from which 325,000 adults die every year in the United states alone.

As explained by experts, this is usually not a fateful event from which there is no escape:

“Sudden cardiac death is usually a complication of a long-standing cardiovascular disease,” says the heart specialist. 

Most at risk are people who suffer from it and are unaware of it.

18.2 million people suffer from coronary heart disease

Coronary artery disease, or CAD for short, is most common in people over 40. Autopsies in those who died of sudden cardiac death showed that 75 percent had CAD. A frightening number, because experts estimate that around 18.2 million people are affected in the United States.

The reason: CAD often occurs as a result of other diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and lipid metabolism disorders such as high cholesterol.

But what exactly is coronary heart disease? According to the experts, this is a circulatory disorder of the heart muscle due to a narrowing of the coronary arteries. These in turn lead to scarring of the heart muscles and thus favour cardiac arrhythmias. The disease also often causes heart failure.

Heart defects and delayed infections can be behind it

But there can also be other diseases behind sudden cardiac death – especially in people under 40. From myocarditis, which is triggered by a spread infection, i.e. bacteria and viruses, to congenital heart defects and genetic heart diseases.

This also includes, for example, the so-called ion channel diseases, an excitation disorder of the heart muscles. 

Another cause can also play a role in younger people, in particular, the use of drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines.

How to protect yourself

The best strategy to protect against sudden cardiac death is prevention. It is important to identify risk factors and diseases of the heart early enough. 

“We advise men and women over the age of 40 – with a family history to have regular check-ups with their family doctor”, recommend doctors. 

If the doctor diagnoses heart disease, it must be checked regularly by the cardiologist.

If it turns out to be a congenital heart defect, sufferers should see a GUCH cardiologist who specializes in Acute Grown-Up Congenital Heart Disease (GUCH).

These are the warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest

Certain symptoms can occur in the run-up to cardiac arrest.

You should look out for these warning signs: 

  • Chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • Racing heart
  • Palpitations
  • Brief loss of consciousness
  • Dizzy spells
  • Impending unconsciousness
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