Friday, December 21, 2007

General Health Topic - Sudden Cardiac Arrest Risk Factors

Hello Everyone,

On my last post we discussed the differences between Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) and a heart attack. Today we will talk about how to try to prevent SCA and some of the risk factors.

Sudden cardiac arrest can often strike active, apparently healthy individuals. What can a person do to try to prevent SCA?

First, a heart-healthy lifestyle is important in the prevention of coronary artery disease and other heart conditions.

Eat a heart-healthy diet. (
Exercise regularly.
Lose weight if you are overweight or obese.
Take your heart medications as directed.
Drink alcohol only in moderation.
Do not smoke.

Next, realize that eighty percent of SCA victims have signs of coronary artery disease. Many individuals do have signs or symptoms that could indicate an increased risk for sudden cardiac arrest. These are some of the symptoms:

An abnormal heart rate or rhythm (arrhythmia)
A rapid heart rate, even when at rest (tachycardia)
Episodes of fainting (syncope)

Thirdly, there are indicators that suggest high risk for sudden cardiac arrest, such as:

Prior sudden cardiac arrest
Prior heart attack
Heart failure ? (Shortness of breath, fatigue, or heart palpitations with physical activity and maybe at rest.)
Ejection fraction less than 40%
Family history of sudden cardiac arrest

Consult a cardiologist if you have any risk factors for sudden cardiac arrest.

By controlling underlying medical conditions or abnormal heart rhythms that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest, risk can be greatly reduced.

The following website has information on steps you and your family can take to help prevent SCA:

As we get closer to the start of a new year, it may be a good time to make that resolution for a heart-healthy lifestyle.

There will be a few more posts concerning SCA and the medications that are used to control the risks.

Until then,

Dr. Paul

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