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Sudden Cardiac Arrest 101

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Death is obviously a part of life, but it isn't something most people exactly embrace. It's painful to lose loved ones. With every passing year, people consider more and more their own mortality, which can be scary to think about. Thankfully, most people don't dwell on it long and continue with life.

Some people aren't able to easily dismiss these fears, however. For those at risk of a sudden cardiac arrest and sudden cardiac death, the fear can be constant and debilitating. Here is what you need to know.

Is Sudden Cardiac Arrest and Sudden Cardiac Death a Heart Attack?

No. A heart attack, which about 800,000 Americans experience each year, is caused by a blocked coronary artery. Most of the time, the block is caused by diet or other lifestyle factors. For example, someone who eats too much saturated fat will develop a buildup in the arteries, which will cause them to narrow. This buildup, called plaque, can break free, form a clot, and cause blockage, stopping blood flow to your heart, and causing organ damage. This is a heart attack.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest is where the heart's electrical system just suddenly quits beating or beats erratically but without pumping. When the heart isn't beating, blood isn't being pumped to the organs and brain. According to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, just under 90 percent of people who have a Sudden Cardiac Arrest are dead within minutes. Those who are with others at the time of the attack and receive immediate medical attention are more likely to be in the 10 percent that avoids Sudden Cardiac Death.

What Are The Symptoms Of Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

The heart is a muscle, but its beating is controlled by the body's electrical, or nervous, system. Much like the epilepsy sufferer who receives little warning their electrical system is going to malfunction and bring on a seizure, most people who suffer a Sudden Cardiac Arrest have no warnings, either. Rarely, benign symptoms such as fatigue and dizziness may precede the event.

What Causes A Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

The same things that can cause a heart attack—coronary artery disease, an enlarged heart, or congenital heart disease— can also cause a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. But a Sudden Cardiac Arrest can also happen from illegal drug use, excess drinking, strenuous exercise—especially in middle-age—a genetic predisposition, not enough potassium or magnesium in the blood, a previous heart attack, or for no known reason at all.

How Is A Sudden Cardiac Arrest Treated?

If a person is fortunate enough to have a Sudden Cardiac Arrest around other people, there is a small hope for surviving. They must call immediately call 911 and perform CPR until medics arrive with a defibrillator that will jump start the heart. Unfortunately, without intervention, Sudden Cardiac Death will occur within minutes. However, for people who are at risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest, especially if they live alone, there is now a special vest available that can monitor your heart and perform defibrillation it if needed.

Look into companies like Rescue AED LLC for more information.