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How to prevent sudden cardiac arrest

Cardiac arrest is preventable with healthy lifestyle

FOLLOWING the sudden death of former Coach of the Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi, as a result of  cardiac arrest, the need to adopt preventive health strategies as well as heart-friendly lifestyle becomes paramount. Medical experts describe cardiac arrest as a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. It often occurs with no warning, and if this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. Sudden cardiac arrest usually causes death if it’s not treated within minute. Cardiac arrest is preventable with healthy lifestyle.

 The immediate cause of sudden cardiac arrest is usually an abnormality in the  heart rhythm (arrhythmia), which is the result of a problem with the heart’s electrical system. Unlike other muscles in the body, which rely on nerve connections to receive  electrical stimulation to function, the  heart has its own electrical stimulator. Interruptions in the electrical stimulation  can be serious enough to lead to a sudden stop in heart function (sudden cardiac arrest). Most of the time, cardiac-arrest-inducing arrhythmias don’t occur on their own.

 There is usually a trigger. Signs and symptoms These include sudden collapse and loss of consciousness and a lack of pulse or breath. Other signs may include fatigue, fainting, blackouts, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, palpitations or vomiting. Complications When sudden cardiac arrest occurs, the brain is the first part of the body to suffer because, unlike other organs, it doesn’t have a reserve of oxygen-rich blood. It’s completely dependent on an uninterrupted supply of blood. Reduced blood flow to the brain causes unconsciousness. There are a number of heart conditions that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest.

 They include coronary artery disease, heart attack, an enlarged heart,  and leaking or narrowing of the heart valves, amongst others. Risk factors Because sudden cardiac arrest is so often linked with coronary artery disease, the same factors that put a person at risk of coronary artery disease may also put that person at risk of sudden cardiac arrest. These include: A family history of coronary artery disease, smoking, High Blood Pressure,High blood cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, drinking too much alcohol. Other factors include a previous episode of cardiac arrest or a family history of cardiac arrest; a previous heart attack; a personal or family history of other forms of heart disease, such as heart rhythm disorders, congenital heart defects, heart failure, etc. The incidence of sudden cardiac arrest increases with age, and being male . Men are two to three times more likely to experience sudden cardiac arrest.

Sudden cardiac arrest prevention tips: Healthy lifestyle: There’s no sure way to know someone’s  risk of cardiac arrest, so reducing the level of risk is the best strategy. Go for regular checkups, get screened for heart disease and live a heart-healthy lifestyle. Don’t smoke, and use alcohol in moderation. Eat a nutritious, balanced diet, stay physically active. If you know you have heart disease or conditions that make you more vulnerable to an unhealthy heart, discuss with your doctor who would recommend appropriate steps to improve your health. What to eat: A heart-healthy lifestyle includes, heart-healthy eating, and regular exercise. Heart-healthy eating includes fat-free or low-fat dairy products, such as skim milk, fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, trout, about twice a week.

 Add fruits, such as apples, bananas, oranges, pears, and watermelon; legumes, such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, black-eyed peas; vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and carrots. What to avoid eating: Avoid eating a lot of red meat, palm and coconut oils, sugary foods and beverages, saturated fat—found mostly in foods that come from animals; trans fat (trans fatty acids)—found in foods made with hydrogenated oils and fats, such as stick margarine; baked goods. Also reduce your salt intake. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health and can lower risk for sudden cardiac arrest. Managing and coping with stress,  relaxing, and cope with problems can improve  emotional and physical health.

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