5 Early Signs Of Sudden Cardiac Arrest That You Must Be Aware Of

As per the Indian Heart Association, when heart disease strikes Indians, it tends to do so at an earlier age than other demographics, often without warning.

5 Early Signs Of Sudden Cardiac Arrest That You Must Be Aware Of

Indians are more vulnerable to coronary artery diseases due to genetic factors

5 Signs to look after for Sudden Cardiac Arrest 

According to research published in the American Heart Journal (2018), it has been observed that there is a 13% increase in sudden cardiac arrest among those aged the mid-30s to mid-40s. Further, as per the Indian Heart Association, when heart disease strikes Indians, it tends to do so at an earlier age than other demographics, often without warning. It is also researched that Indians are more vulnerable to coronary artery diseases due to genetic factors. Indians have narrow blood vessels, which add to the risks related to diabetes, obesity, and heart disease in young Indians. 

The incidence of sudden cardiac arrest among youngsters is rising due to sedentary lifestyles, diabetes, increasing consumption of alcohol, smoking, and hypertension. Some patients, however, may not have any known risk factors. 

All About Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Sudden Cardiac Arrests (SCA) happens due to the abnormal disturbance of electrical signals in the heart causing arrhythmia, due to fast-paced irregular heartbeats after which the heart comes to a standstill, cutting off blood flow in the entire body. This usually happens in about 4-6 minutes, during which it is important to give CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) to help the patient in increasing his or her chances of survival but also ceasing the body from any severe damage that might occur.

Most patients are hospitalized for a few days, depending on the intensity of the attack and the results of the screening tests done to help in diagnosing the underlying issues which might have caused it.

5 Early Signs Of SCA That You Must Be Aware Of 

  1. Chest pain: If constant chest pains occur even when you are not engaged in undertaking any strenuous tasks like exercising, heavy lifting, running, etc. then it is best to get an ECG done and diagnose the issue that persists over a prolonged period.
  2. Momentary loss of consciousness: Many times, a patient may fall unconscious frequently, due to the continuous fluctuation in a heartbeat which may cause cardiac arrest if left untreated. Immediate intervention is required to treat the same before complications occur.
  3. Shortness of breath: It is very normal to experience shortness of breath while doing intensive tasks as your lungs and heart work harder to provide energy. But if the same occurs during regular day to day tasks that require less energy, there might be a high risk of you contracting SCA.
  4. Heart palpitations: Frequent fluttering or sudden palpitations in the heart can be a major sign of having an SCA. If you are experiencing arrhythmias, it is advised to get your heart tested for any underlying conditions that you may be suffering from
  5. Weakness and dizziness: If one is feeling weak and dizzy constantly, there might be a high chance one is developing the risk of suffering from an SCA.

What can you expect?

If you are likely to contract a sudden cardiac arrest again, your cardiologist may advise you to get an Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICDs) which will assist in monitoring your heartbeat and provide electrical shocks whenever your heart goes into cardiac arrest. If there are more severe underlying issues, surgery requiring bypass surgery or angioplasty might be recommended. However, heart diseases can get better over time if the right medications and routine are followed.

Simple Ways to Prevent a Cardiac Arrest

1. Eat a Healthy Diet – One should avoid foods that are oily, high in cholesterol, sugary, and high in carbohydrates. Eat a heart-healthy diet that is full of your favourite fruits and vegetables instead.

2. Stay Active- Take 15 to 20 minutes a day to exercise. People with heart ailments are advised to not do heavy exercises. Yoga is a great way in lowering stress, blood pressure, cholesterol level, and heart rate. Doing yoga for 20 minutes can also keep your heart healthy and minimize the risk factors. 

3. If Necessary, Lose Weight- If your Body Mass Index (BMI) is higher than it should be, your heart is suffering; however, you can prevent future problems by creating yourself a daily regimen that includes healthy foods and exercise. By eating healthier and exercising regularly, you will be able to lower your BMI, achieve your weight loss goals, and improve the health of your heart.

4. Reduce Your Stress Level- Emotional stress is a major contributing factor to cardiac arrest. Therefore, avoiding stressful situations and focusing on relaxing can help reduce the stress level through practicing deep breathing techniques and doing yoga.

5. Stop Using Tobacco and Drinking - Smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and drinking alcoholic beverages can increase the size of your heart muscle. In addition, these habits tend to cause high blood pressure. An enlarged heart in conjunction with high blood pressure increases the risk of an individual having a cardiac arrest. It is better to avoid it. 

6. Regular Cardiac Check-up- Due to the rapid increase of heart diseases, people across age groups should take care of their heart health. While prevention is important, patients who are already suffering from heart conditions need to be extra cautious, especially during the ongoing pandemic and must seek medical help from a cardiologist at least once in 6 months.

(Dr. Hiren Kevadiya, Consultant Cardiologist and Cardiac Electrophysiologist at CIMS Hospital, Ahmedabad)

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