Many believe that cardiac arrest occurs suddenly, but researchers argue that warning signs are often present.
This is why it is helpful to be aware of the symptoms and risk factors many people ignore.
Cardiac arrest is not a heart attack
First of all, it is worth mentioning that a heart attack is a circulation problem, and cardiac arrest is associated with the cessation of bioelectric activity.
A heart attack occurs when a blockage obstructs blood flow to a part of the heart in an artery. Cardiac arrest is a problem with the electrical activity of the heart. The subtle, complex rhythms of your heartbeat become disordered, and your heart cannot pump blood properly.
When the heart stops, the person suffocates or stops breathing and, if the necessary measures are not taken, dies within a few minutes. A heart attack can cause cardiac arrest, but this is a separate disorder.
For some time, doctors believed that cardiac arrest always happened unexpectedly, but some studies show the opposite. In more than half of cases, people experience symptoms a month before cardiac arrest but are unaware that it is dangerous and ignore them.
In addition, nearly a third of deaths from cardiac arrest can be prevented if the person experiencing these symptoms knows and seeks help.
Sudden cardiac arrest
1. Chest pain
The classic warning sign is discomfort or embarrassment as if an elephant had stepped on your chest.
Chest pain occurs when there is not enough oxygen in the blood to reach the heart muscle. The pain can be given to the left arm and increases with physical activity.
It lasts more than a few minutes or dies down and returns after a few hours or even the next day.
2. Reflected pain
3. Difficulty breathing
If you usually climb stairs calmly and suddenly feel short of breath after a few steps, this is a danger sign.
4. Excessive sweating
If you sweat more than usual, especially if you’re not trying hard, it could signal heart problems.
It is much more difficult for the heart to pump blood if the arteries are blocked, and our body reacts to this with increased sweating.
Middle-aged women may confuse this symptom with hot flashes, but it is best to double-check.
5. Flu-like symptoms
Fatigue, nausea, vomiting, weakness, stomach pain and dizziness can also be signs of heart problems, especially in women. In a study of 5,000 women who experienced heart problems, 71 per cent experienced extreme fatigue during the month and the attack.
And although heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in women, many still believe that heart problems are a male disease and ignore the symptoms, especially if they do not include chest pain.
6. Feeling of doom
People experiencing cardiac arrest symptoms often begin to deny them.
Often a situation arises when a person experiencing chest discomfort insists that everything is in order or considers the problem to be trifling.
At the same time, he is scared and feels that something bad is about to happen. If you feel something like this, it is better to check and not wait until irreparable damage happens.
When to worry
It can be difficult to tell a relatively minor problem like heartburn from a serious hazard (chest pain). So, with heartburn, pain in the esophagus often occurs, which feels very similar to a heart attack.
The nerve from the heart and esophagus sends a signal to the same part of the brain, and the brain may not distinguish between them. If you feel chest pain or other symptoms, do not tempt fate but rather seek medical attention.
Causes of sudden cardiac arrest
By knowing the risk factors, a person can also prevent serious problems. Among them are :
- Age (the older, the higher the risk)
- Family history of coronary heart disease
- High cholesterol
- Passive lifestyle
- Use of drugs such as cocaine and amphetamine
- Nutrient imbalances, such as low levels of potassium or magnesium
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Chronic kidney disease.
Other heart conditions can also disrupt the heart rhythm and lead to sudden cardiac arrest. Among them:
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Congenital heart disease
- Arrhythmia, namely ventricular fibrillation
- Long QT syndrome.
There is also scientific evidence, including a study published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy, that regular high-dose ibuprofen can also increase the risk of cardiac arrest.
Of course, the risk is not as high as with other factors. But if you are taking ibuprofen more than twice a month, you may need to talk to your doctor about switching to another drug.
There is also evidence that people with low blood calcium levels were more likely to have cardiac arrest than high levels.
Experts say further research is needed to confirm or determine if people with low calcium levels can eat more calcium-containing foods.