World Heart Day 2023: Expert Explains How Sudden Cardiac Arrest Affects Men And Women Differently
World heart Day 2023: Sudden cardiac arrest is an electrical malfunction in the heart which prevents the heart from pumping blood to the body.
Heart day: Cardiac arrest can lead to sudden death if not intervened immediately.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a global health problem. CVDs are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels, including coronary heart disease (CAD), cerebrovascular disease, rheumatic heart disease and other conditions. With young population in India being greatly at risk and having a genetic predisposition to cardiac ailments, estimates indicate a significant increase in CVD prevalence by 2030 with most cardiac mortality worldwide.
At present, sudden cardiac arrests (SCA) have a mortality rate of more than 90%, according to The Lancet Digital Health.
What is SCA?
SCA is an electrical malfunction in the heart which prevents the heart from pumping blood to the body. Cardiac arrest can lead to sudden death if not intervened immediately. Any variation in the heart's normal rate of 60-100 beats per minute-be it too slow or too fast-is referred to as a cardiac arrhythmia. Dangerous heart rhythm or arrhythmia can occur in people who have a sudden rise in heart rate or may also occur in individuals who are genetically predisposed to heart disorders.
Common symptoms of SCA
Sudden onset of weakness or unease can frequently be accompanied by unpredictable heart beats, chest pain and shortness of breath, during a cardiac arrest. SCAs can also cause sudden collapsing, negligible pulse without any evidence of respiration, and loss of consciousness, among other serious symptoms.
While coronary heart disease, smoking, alcohol use, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, and a sedentary lifestyle are all common risk factors for a SCA. Men and women are affected by SCA differently.
According to The Lancet Digital Health report, men who experienced a cardiac arrest usually described experiencing chest pain, trouble breathing and sweating during the cardiac arrest. While most female patients of cardiac arrest reported having trouble breathing.
The study also revealed that men are twice as likely to have an impending abrupt cardiac arrest if they experience sudden and unanticipated chest pain. While women have a threefold greater risk of an impending cardiac arrest if they experience abrupt, unanticipated shortness of breath.
According to some studies, while women's smaller vessels are harmed due to cholesterol deposits, men's bigger arteries are impacted by it. Indicating that SCA frequently acts as a silent killer in cases involving women since its effects are weaker in smaller vessels than in larger ones.
Can SCA be managed?
By being mindful of their lifestyle choices, individuals may prevent cardiac issues, potentially avoiding tragic events such as Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) altogether. The onset of many heart illnesses can be attributed to a sedentary lifestyle that includes excessive alcohol intake, frequent smoking, obesity, consumption of unhealthy foods, insufficient sleep, experiencing extreme stress and frequent use of oral contraceptives.
If a person has been detected with a risk of having sudden cardiac arrest, then a cardiologist might advise for an ICD (Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator). It assists in keeping a check on a person's heartbeat and helps in identifying any irregular heartbeats. It can protect individuals from SCA by delivering a strong shock to the heart.
(Dr. T R Muralidharan, Senior Consultant Cardiologist & Head of Department of Cardiology,Sri Ramchandra University Medical Center, Chennai)
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