Preventing cardiac deaths

Routinely, depressing news about people dying due to cardiac arrests flashes through various news portals.

According to the experts, sudden cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack, when blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked. However, a heart attack can sometimes trigger an electrical disturbance that leads to sudden cardiac arrest.

There are varied reasons for the spate of sudden cardiac deaths in the Valley, as per the experts.

Among others, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a condition in which heart muscles become thickened, remains a major cause in young and is usually inherited and often undiagnosed, the expert says. It affects one in 500 people in the general population.

Detecting this condition early and placing an implantable cardioverter device (ICD) can prevent young individuals from dying, they say.

According to the Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK), screening of young people for such conditions can prevent sudden cardiac arrest or deaths.

It said several of the diseases that cause sudden death in young can be detected by cardiac screening and treated before they turn into a tragedy.

If not treated immediately, the DAK said, sudden cardiac arrest leads to death.  ‘Chances of survival outside a hospital increase in those who receive immediate bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).”

Besides, winter can aggravate the overall heart health of people, particularly the high-risk population. Those who have hypertension, diabetes or lung issues are at higher risks as winter appears to be a high time for heart attacks. The risk is not confined to the aged alone. The young and healthy individuals can also suffer heart attacks and strokes. All those people who are high risk, which means those who have a family history of heart disease, have high blood pressure, or those who are diabetic and have lung problem, are advised to protect themselves against the winter chill.

As per a survey published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, the number of strokes in the general population goes up by 11 percent for every 2.9 degree centigrade decline in temperature.

Cold temperatures cause the heart arteries to condense thereby restricting the blood and oxygen flow to the heart. This often causes a rise in blood pressure, making a heart attack or stroke more likely.

The mercury drop increases the chances of blood clot formation since blood platelets are more active and stickier. Given the contemporary scenario which appears worrying, there is a need for taking measures to arrest sudden cardiac arrests and heart attacks.


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