In recent times, there has been a concerning rise in sudden cardiac arrests among the younger population, particularly those aged between 30 and 45 years old. These incidents have often occurred during sports and physical activities, leaving us to wonder whether good health and fitness are enough to ward off cardiac problems. Dr. Ehab Esheiba, Clinical Assistant Professor and Head of Division at the Centre for Cardiac Sciences at Thumbay University Hospital, provides valuable insights into the factors contributing to this trend and offers guidance on preventive measures.
Understanding heart attacks and cardiac arrests
To better comprehend sudden cardiac arrests, it’s essential to differentiate them from heart attacks. A heart attack occurs when the arteries supplying blood to the heart become blocked, resulting in damage to the heart muscle. While serious, heart attacks are not always fatal and can often be treated with medical intervention.
On the other hand, cardiac arrest signifies the abrupt cessation of all heart functions. It can be caused by a heart attack or disturbances in the heart’s electrical activity. Cardiac arrest is, by definition, a life-threatening event and requires immediate attention.
Why are sudden cardiac arrests fatal?
Sudden cardiac arrests are fatal because they result in the complete cessation of heart activity. Time is of the essence when responding to a cardiac arrest. Without prompt treatment within three minutes, the consequences can be dire, leading to either death or permanent brain damage.
Preventing sudden cardiac arrest
While sudden cardiac arrest can be a daunting prospect, there are proactive measures individuals can take to reduce their risk:
Regular check-ups: Diabetes, high blood pressure, and weight management screenings are essential, especially for those with a family history of cardiac diseases.
Healthy lifestyle: Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise (around 150 minutes per week), smoking cessation, weight management, and managing cholesterol and triglyceride levels can significantly reduce the risk of cardiac arrests.
Avoid supplements and hormones: It’s crucial to avoid the unsupervised use of supplements, chemical substances, or hormones that are available over the counter or promoted through social media.
Sudden cardiac arrest remains a concerning issue, even among active and apparently healthy individuals. While it may strike without warning, understanding the risk factors and taking preventive measures can make a significant difference. Regular check-ups, a healthy lifestyle, and avoiding unsupervised supplements are key steps towards safeguarding one’s heart health.