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07/05/2024

Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) is one of the major health burdens that is responsible for nearly 10% of global deaths and 50% of cardiovascular deaths. The global incidence of cardiac arrest is 55 per 100,000 people annually.

A severe malfunction or complete cessation of the heart's electrical and mechanical activity is known as cardiac arrest, and it causes a nearly instantaneous collapse and loss of consciousness. When you experience cardiac arrest, also known as cardiopulmonary arrest, your heart stops pumping blood. This can happen in a matter of minutes and put your life in danger because your body needs oxygen all the time, which your blood provides.

The chance of surviving a cardiac arrest with favorable neurologic and functional outcomes drops with every minute that passes without treatment after the event. As a result, the effects of delaying to take action can be severe but often preventable.

Sudden cardiac arrest has the potential to be fatal if treatment is delayed. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and heart shocks using an automated external defibrillator (AED) are emergency treatments for sudden cardiac arrest. With prompt, effective medical attention, survival is achievable. Let’s learn the ways to prevent cardiac arrest by modifying our lifestyle choices.

What is Cardiac Arrest?

Heart arrest is the sudden loss of heart function in an individual who may or may not have been diagnosed with heart disease. It can occur suddenly or follow other symptoms. If necessary actions aren't done right away, heart arrest can often be fatal.

The heart's electrical signals regulate the heart's rate and rhythm. When these signals are abnormal or overactive, the heart beats too quickly, too slowly, or uncontrollably. These irregular heartbeats are known as arrhythmias, and some are harmless and transient, while others can result in sudden cardiac arrest.

Ventricular fibrillation is the most common irregular heart rhythm that leads to sudden cardiac arrest. Instead of pumping blood, the lower heart chambers start quivering due to rapid and irregular heartbeats. Your risk of experiencing this kind of heartbeat issue may increase if you have certain underlying cardiac conditions. However, even those without a known heart condition may also experience sudden cardiac arrest.

Risk Factors Behind Cardiac Arrest

Heart arrest may be more likely to occur if you have:

  • History of sudden cardiac arrest 
  • Family history of cardiac arrests
  • Personal or family history of abnormal heart rhythms (such as long QT syndrome and ventricular tachycardia)
  • Arrhythmias after a heart attack.
  • History of heart or blood vessel issues since birth.
  • Prevalent heart valve disease.
  • History of fainting.
  • Heart failure due to dilated cardiomyopathy.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
  • Altered concentration of potassium and magnesium in your blood.
  • Obesity.
  • Diabetes.
  • Habitual of taking recreational drugs that can increase the risk of arrhythmias.

Causes of Cardiac Arrest

Before the event of cardiac arrest, abnormal, rapid impulses suddenly take over the normal electrical impulses that stimulate your heartbeat. Abnormal, fast impulses suddenly take over the regular electrical impulses that initiate your heartbeat prior to cardiac arrest. The majority of abrupt cardiac arrests are caused by arrhythmias, or irregular heart rhythms. Ventricular fibrillation, or v-fib, is the most common arrhythmia that poses a serious risk to life. This is an irregular, haphazard discharge of impulses in the lower chambers of the heart. Your heart cannot pump blood when this takes place. Blood rich in oxygen cannot be delivered to the rest of your body when your heart's not beating.

The patient may die in a matter of minutes if he/she doesn't get timely treatment. The underlying causes of sudden cardiac arrest are circumstances and conditions that can result in these irregular heart rhythms. Among these are:

Lifestyle Alterations to Prevent Cardiac Arrest

Following are the tips to alter your lifestyle in order to prevent cardiac arrests:

  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid excessive alcohol intake
  • Choose a healthy diet high in vegetables, fruits and whole grains
  • Avoid taking trans fats
  • Increase your physical activity
  • If diet and physical activity alone does’t help you in lowering blood cholesterol levels, then reach out out to your doctor for right medication
  • Try keeping your blood pressure levels in normal limits by limiting the intake of salt
  • Maintain a healthy body weight by taking care of your calorie intake
  • Manage your blood sugar levels
  • Reduce your mental stress
  • Get adequate sleep everyday

Conclusion

Proactive heart health is necessary for preventing cardiac arrest. Maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular physical activity, and eating a balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are all essential. Limit alcohol consumption and abstain from smoking to lower risk factors. Frequent examinations can assist in identifying and treating heart disease-related conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. In an emergency, knowing how to perform CPR and identifying the early warning signs of heart problems can save lives. Make stress reduction a top priority, and get enough rest to maintain general cardiovascular health. When combined, these actions can dramatically reduce the chances of cardiac arrest.

FAQs

Q1: What is cardiac arrest's primary cause?

A: Ventricular fibrillation, an irregular heart rhythm, is the most common cause of sudden cardiac arrest. The lower heart chambers quiver ineffectively rather than pumping blood as a result of rapid and irregular heartbeats. You may be more susceptible to this kind of heartbeat issue if you have certain cardiac conditions.

Q2: Who is susceptible to a cardiac arrest?

A: In individuals under 30, it is uncommon. The primary risk factors in younger individuals are substance abuse, heart inflammation, coronary artery disease, and genetic arrhythmias. Coronary heart disease and other heart conditions are the primary risk factors in older adults.

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