Cardiac Arrest - A Leading Complication In Young India | Know More.

Cardiac Arrest - A Leading Complication In Young India | Know More.
5 Nov 2021
9 mins
Table Of Content
Cardiac Arrest - A Leading Complication In Young India | Know More.

    In today's fast-paced life, people are more inclined towards having an unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, high pollution levels. As a result, there has been an alarming increase in cardiovascular diseases.


    India has one of the highest burdens of cardiovascular disease (CVD) worldwide, and every 1 in 5 heart/cardiac attack patients are younger than 40 years of age in India, and why so?


    Studies by medical professionals show that almost across the country, at least 25 percent of Indians aged below 40-years are at high risk of suffering from a heart/cardiac attack or any other heart-related severe complication. In contrast, such risk increases up to 50 percent of the population for those between 40 and 50 years. This adds up to the chances that nearly 75% of the Indian population aged below 50 is at the risk of suffering from cardiac arrest or any other such heart complications.


    Although used alternatively, people often mistakenly use the term 'heart attack' to describe cardiac arrest though it's true that heart attack may cause cardiac arrest.


    While heart attacks are caused by a blockage that stops blood flow to the heart, cardiac arrests are caused when the heart's electrical system malfunctions and stops beating properly. Thus, when there is a "circulation" problem, it is known as heart attack, whereas when the heart stops beating properly, and the pumping function is "arrested" or stopped, it is known as cardiac arrest.


    Therefore, cardiac arrest is the abrupt loss of heart function in a person who may or may not have been diagnosed with heart disease and can often lead to fatal conditions if appropriate steps are not taken immediately. However, cardiac arrests may be reversed if immediate CPR is performed. 

    Also, the defibrillator shocks the heart to restore a normal heart rhythm within a few minutes.


    Cardiac arrest can come on suddenly or in the wake of other symptoms and is caused by irregular heart rhythms called arrhythmia.

    Commonly arrhythmia is associated with cardiac arrest in ventricular fibrillation. The heart's lower chambers suddenly start beating chaotically and don't pump blood as in ventricular fibrillation.


    Usually, cardiac arrest is caused by majorly heart-related diseases and conditions.


    Most cardiac arrests occur when the electrical system of the patient's heart malfunctions, and these malfunctions are in turn caused due to an abnormal and irregular heart rhythm such as ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation. However, at times, a person can also get a cardiac arrest if he/she has an extremely slow heart rhythm (a condition known as bradycardia). 


    Meanwhile, other major causes of cardiac arrests may be due to:


    Scarring of the heart tissue: If the heart tissues are scarred or enlarged for any reason, it may cause complications by developing ventricular arrhythmias, which in turn can lead to cardiac arrests. 


    Thickened heart muscle (cardiomyopathy): In this condition, heart muscles get hard enough to pump blood to the rest of the body and can be damaged, which may create pressure on the heart valves. And these diseases can, in turn, make one more prone to sudden cardiac arrests. 


    Heart medications: Sometimes, arrhythmias can get triggered under certain heart medications. At times, anti-arrhythmias drugs that are used to treat arrhythmias can sometimes produce ventricular arrhythmias even at regular doses, widely known as the 'proarrhythmic effect.' And this, as a result, may cause life-threatening arrhythmias and cardiac arrest.


    Blood vessel abnormalities: The inner vessels such as the coronary arteries and aorta may be the root cause of such cardiac arrests. Upon a rigorous and intense physical activity, sudden adrenaline release can trigger sudden cardiac arrest.


    Recreational drug use: This can occur in otherwise healthy people due to unhealthy lifestyles and habits.


    On the other hand, sudden heart attacks occur when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked, and such blockages are often a buildup of fat, cholesterol, and other substances. This, in turn, forms a plaque in the arteries that feed the heart, i.e., the coronary arteries. 

    These plaques can at times rupture and form a clot that blocks the blood flow that leads to interruptions, and these interruptions can damage or destroy part of the heart muscle.

    This, in turn, causes a heart attack, or also known as a myocardial infarction.

    Therefore, one should seek immediate medical help without any delay if one ever faces any symptoms.


    Critical reasons for cardiac arrest are: 

    1. Stress
    2. Inactive and unhealthy lifestyle
    3. Skipping regular health checkups
    4. Neglecting blockages
    5. Genetic factors
    6. Increased cholesterol
    7. Chronic illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and hyperglycemia


    Cardiac Arrest Treatment:

    For an extreme emergency situation, one can/should perform Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as a form of emergency treatment for cardiac arrest. One can also use a portable defibrillator for the same. These immediate treatments will get the patient's heart beating again within a few minutes.


    However, you need to visit a doctor as soon as possible without any further delay to get appropriate treatments to reduce the risk of another attack.


    Your doctor might recommend you as per your condition:

    • Medications that will help you lower your high blood pressure and cholesterol to reduce the pressure on your heart
    • Surgery that will allow you to repair damaged blood vessels or jammed heart valves. Such surgeries can also bypass or remove blockages in the arteries.
    • Exercise to improve the cardiovascular fitness 

    Adding changes to your diet can also help your lower cholesterol while improving your heart's health.


    Sudden cardiac death is a precipitous and unexpected death that is caused by the loss of functioning of the heart. It majorly constitutes and is responsible for half of all heart disease deaths.


    Such deaths are more common and frequently occur in adults who are in their mid-30s to mid-40s. Cardiac arrest is more common and affects men twice as often as it does women, and on a few rare occasions, on an average of 100,000 children each year, 1-2 of them are affected by this condition.


    Therefore, doctors strictly recommend people seek medical assistance when they notice early warning symptoms like breathlessness, chest pain, excessive sweating, dizziness, etc. Also, obese individuals are at more risk of health and heart complications. Moreover, individuals with pre-existing health complications should quit smoking and stop consuming alcohol, and undergo regular medical checkups.

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