According to the American Heart Association, each year approximately 383,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests (SCA) occur. SCA occurs when electrical impulses in the heart become rapid or chaotic, causing the heart to suddenly stop beating.
What is sudden cardiac arrest?
SCA is the sudden, unexpected loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness. Sudden cardiac arrest usually results from an electrical disturbance in your heart that disrupts its pumping action. It disrupts the flow of blood to your brain and other vital organs.
How is sudden cardiac arrest caused?
ardiac arrest is caused by the loss of regular heart function. It occurs when the heart experiences ventricular fibrillation, when the heart’s muscles do not retract properly, and blood is not delivered to the body.
What are some of the conditions that could lead to sudden cardiac arrest?
- Coronary Artery Disease (leading cause 70%)
- Heart Attack
- Enlarged heart (cardiomyopathy)
- Valvular heart disease
- Congenital heart disease
How will I know if someone is experiencing SCA?
SCA symptoms are very noticeable. These include: sudden collapse with unresponsiveness, chest pain, no pulse, shortness of breath, loss of breathing. Lack of oxygen to the brain causes loss of consciousness. Brain injury is likely after 5 minutes without treatment. For best chance of survival and neurological recovery, immediate treatment is imperative. The witness(s) needs to start CPR, get help and call 911.
Are there ways to prevent SCA?
Although there is no definite way to determine your risk of SCA, there are several preventative measures that you can take to reduce your risks.
- Smoking. Do not smoke. Smoking not only damages the lungs, smoking damages the heart and other vital organs in your body. It is one of the primary cause which leads to coronary heart diseases. Smoking increases your risk of heart issues by 70 percent.
- Alcohol. Drink in moderation. Consuming too much alcohol is not only bad for the body’s liver, but can cause stress on the heart. Stress on the heart could cause cardiac arrhythmia, irregular beating. Over time, drinking causes muscles in the heart to weaken.
- Diet. Eat a healthy, nutritiously balanced diet. A properly balanced diet is vital for the overall good of your body. Healthy choices include foods that are low in fats, salts, and sugars. Choices such as lean meats, poultry without skin, fish, beans, and fat-free or low fat dairy products also have an added benefit for healthy eating.
- Physical Activity. Adding physical activity in your daily routine improves your body both physically and mentally. Physical activity helps to fight against diseases that trigger many cardiovascular diseases.