What to Know About Sudden Cardiac Arrest

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Heart-healthy living is a growing buzzword among the health and wellness industries, with more people concerned about their heart health now than ever. The intention to live heart-healthy means understanding your risks, making healthy choices accordingly, and taking any necessary steps or precautions to lower your chances of heart disease.

Here are the heart disease facts:

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for individuals in the United States.
  • Every 33 seconds, someone dies from cardiovascular disease in the United States.
  • Every year, approximately 805,000 Americans experience a heart attack.
  • More than 35,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of a hospital each year.

With October marking National Sudden Cardiac Awareness Month, it’s essential to know what cardiac arrest is, who is at risk, how to detect one coming on, and how it can be prevented. The statistics about heart issues may seem daunting, but educating yourself is step one to living a heart-conscious life.


What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) occurs when the heart unexpectedly stops beating, signaling a malfunction in the heart’s system. The irregular rhythm that causes SCA, or ventricular fibrillation, disrupts the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively. This can lead to loss of consciousness, loss of blood circulation, as well as oxygen deprivation in the brain and other essential organs. When not properly treated, sudden cardiac arrest can be fatal within minutes.


Sudden Cardiac Arrest is Different From a Heart Attack

Sudden cardiac arrest is mistakenly used interchangeably with heart attacks. However, there are distinct differences between the two heart conditions. SCA is typically caused by an electrical issue affecting the heart’s rhythm, and a heart attack is caused by blocked arteries, meaning the heart is not receiving enough blood to properly function. In other words, a heart attack is a circulation issue, and sudden cardiac arrest is an electrical issue. It’s important to note that having a heart attack can often increase your risk of experiencing SCA. The two heart conditions have similar symptoms, but the largest difference is that when experiencing a heart attack, the heart often remains beating.


What Are the Symptoms of SCA?

Sudden cardiac arrest occurs suddenly and oftentimes without any warning signs. An individual who experiences SCA may lose consciousness, stop breathing, and have no pulse. Some people may experience the following symptoms before SCA:

  • Irregular breathing and seizure-like movements
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath and/or palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

Who Is At Risk of SCA?

Men and older individuals are at a higher risk of sudden cardiac arrest, however, this heart condition can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or fitness level. Certain underlying health conditions and lifestyle factors can increase the likelihood of experiencing SCA. Examples include:

  • Personal or family history of heart disease
  • Previous heart conditions such as heart attacks or arrhythmia
  • High blood pressure or cholesterol
  • Poor lifestyle habits such as smoking, lack of exercise, substance abuse, and a poor diet

Preventing SCA

Learning how to prevent and treat SCA can be a matter of life or death. Victims of cardiac arrest outside of a hospital have a 93% chance of survival with an automated external defibrillator (AED) versus a 9% chance without an AED. Preventing SCA will depend on your risk factors, but ultimately understanding the warning signs is vital.

General preventive actions to safeguard your heart may include:

  • Manage stress
  • Quit smoking tobacco
  • Adopt a heart-healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Limit your alcohol intake
  • Screen for family history of SCA
  • Schedule regular doctor appointments to monitor heart health
  • Keep up to date with heart health studies

Magnesium in Recent Heart Health Studies

Recent studies have shown that low magnesium levels can lead to cardiovascular disease and other heart issues. Understanding your body’s natural production of essential nutrients is key to managing your intake. At Nova Vita Wellness Centers, our medical professionals can conduct lab panels. Together, we will interpret your results and customize a wellness plan based on any abnormal/ borderline results and goals.


Fast Reaction Time May Save Lives

Awareness and education are powerful tools in a crisis. In the event of sudden cardiac arrest, quick action may save someone’s life. If you witness someone collapsing without any warning and think they might be experiencing SCA, here’s what to do immediately:

  1. Check for responsiveness and get aid from any nearby individuals.
  2. Call 911: Immediately call 911 to ensure professional help is on the way.
  3. Perform CPR: If you are trained in CPR, begin performing chest compressions. This helps keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and other organs. Did you know CPR can triple one’s chance of survival?
  4. Use an automated external defibrillator (AED): An automated external defibrillator is necessary to restart the heart; the device delivers an electric shock to restore the heart’s normal rhythm.

Nova Vita Solutions

National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month is an opportunity to take action in educating ourselves about cardiovascular health. Understanding the symptoms, risks, and necessary actions in the event of SCA will improve survival rates.

Preventative action is a vital step towards a healthier heart and lifestyle. If you have a history of heart disease, feel that you may be at risk, or are curious about your nutrient levels, it’s important to seek medical attention. From lab panels that detect low nutrient levels to IV vitamin infusions to replenish nutrients to personalized treatment plans, Nova Vita is here to help. Whether you’re scheduling a blood panel or are seeking advice from our medical experts, taking the initiative to prioritize your health can be a life-changing decision.

At Nova Vita, we recognize that each patient is a combination of health, history, and genetics. This is why we help create a personal wellness journey for each patient to help them achieve optimal health. Start your proactive health journey and request an appointment online today.


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