Cardiac arrest: What increases your risk? What to do, how can it be prevented?
The immediate cause of cardiac arrest is usually an abnormal heart rhythms, called arrhythmias.
New Delhi: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa died on Monday night after failing to recover from a cardiac arrest she suffered on Sunday. The 67-year-old leader passed away at Apollo Hospital in Chennai after battling for life for 75 days.
Since cardiac arrest strikes immediately without warnings, it is important that we educate ourselves about this dangerous medical condition and know what to do when faced with such situation.
Here are some important things you need to know about cardiac arrest.
A cardiac arrest happens when your heart stops pumping blood around your body. Also called sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), it is a medical emergency, characterised by loss of consciousness and abnormal or absent breathing. Before this occurs, some people may experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or nausea.
What causes sudden cardiac arrest?
The immediate cause of cardiac arrest is usually an abnormal heart rhythms, called arrhythmias. Other possible causes of cardiac arrest include - coronary artery disease, heart attack, physical stress, major blood loss, lack of oxygen, intense physical exercise, and some inherited disorders etc. Sometimes, the cause of SCA is unknown.
There are certain factors that may put you at risk of SCA, including smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, alcoholism, a sedentary lifestyle.
Can SCA be prevented?
Reducing your risk is the best strategy because there's no sure way that tells your risk of SCA. Preventive measures may include-
- Screening for heart disease, especially, if you have a family history
- Leading a healthy lifestyle such as - eating a nutritious, balanced diet and staying physically active
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Not smoking.
What to do if someone has SDA?
This medical emergency needs immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or use of a defibrillator, without which the person will die within a few minutes. Immediate CPR can help restore partial flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and other vital organs until more definitive medical treatment is available. In case you don't know CPR, you should immediately call emergency medical help. Hospital care includes drugs, an implantable device or other medical procedures.