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How to Checkmate Cardiac Arrest

How to checkmate cardiac arrest

Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart beat stops suddenly for some time. Every year, thousands of people suffer from cardiac arrest and not all are lucky enough to survive the fatal condition. Cardiac arrest can be prevented or one can at least avoid it by bringing a few changes in one’s daily life.

But one may ask, what is cardiac arrest? Cardiac arrest is the abrupt loss of heart function in a person who may or may not have diagnosed heart disease.

According to Professor of Medicine/Cardiology at Babcock University, President and CEO of Tri State Cardiovascular Institute, and Chief, Division of Cardiac Catheterisation and Interventional Laboratory at University College Hospital in Ibadan, Prof Kamar Adeleke, Cardiac arrests affect more than 4,000,000 people globally on a yearly basis and is caused by the sudden stopping of the heart. Cardiovascular conditions, electrical disturbances in the circulatory system, abnormal rhythm of the heart and heart attacks can create the grounds for a cardiac arrest.

“The term ‘heart attack’ is often mistakenly used to describe cardiac arrest. While a heart attack may cause cardiac arrest and sudden death, the terms don’t mean the same thing. Heart attacks are caused by a blockage that stops blood flow to the heart. A heart attack (or myocardial infarction) refers to death of heart muscle tissue due to the loss of blood supply, not necessarily resulting in the death of the heart attack victim,” explained Prof Adeleke.

Prof Adeleke said Cardiac arrest is caused when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions. In cardiac arrest, death results when the heart suddenly stops working properly. This may be caused by abnormal, or irregular, heart rhythms , “Most of these deaths can be postponed if people ate healthier foods and quit smoking. Men develop it sooner than women. However, an increasing number of women are experiencing heart disease but they are not being diagnosed soon enough. Decades of progress in the United States on reducing cholesterol, blood pressure and smoking are being counteracted by rising obesity rates,” he explained.

Likely causes

Stress and anxiety

A stress-filled life, including work stress, does seem to raise the odds of heart disease and stroke. Emotional stress may be a trigger of otherwise unexplained cases of cardiac arrest. Those with cardiac arrest are likely to have been through a highly stressful event the day before. Men with stressful jobs may already be at risk of early artery disease by their early 30s. In addition to normal life stressors, the physical demands, such as hard labour, a person experiences in the workplace can independently increase their risk as well.

Poor sleep patterns are a cause. Also, people who work a mix of day and night shifts face a greater risk of dying from heart disease than those who work fixed days or nights only. People with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome—in which airways become blocked periodically during sleep and breathing stops for brief periods — experience a relatively high number episodes of irregular heart rhythm.

A family history of heart disease. If either or both of your parents have it, your risk is higher.

Young adults exposed to adverse experiences as children have greater signs of unhealthy blood vessel function than young people without a traumatic past.

Prof Adeleke suggested that the best thing to do is to start off with an exercise routine today. “You can begin slowly by only walking on the treadmill for about an hour each day. One can prevent cardiac arrest by awaking every morning before anyone else in the house and drinking a glass of water. The next step is to get into exercise gear, begin stretching and start with the daily activities. Keep moving the body until a good sweat is developed. It is also extremely important to follow a healthy balanced diet.”

Roles of diet

Prof Adeleke said Heart conditions and ailments such as cardiac arrests can be avoided by having a healthy breakfast including oatmeal, boiled eggs and orange juice daily. As far as possible include a midday snack like an energy bar. You can have a good lunch based on salads (without the dressings), followed by another snack in the evening like fruit and end the day with a wholesome dinner including chicken or fish.

He said: “It is highly recommended that you consume foods that reduce the risk of cholesterol and which control blood pressure. You should ensure that you avoid the consumption of foods with a high content of saturated fats and tropical oils as these are one of the primary factors responsible for increasing the risks of a cardiac arrest. A diet high in oils and fats hastens the development of disorders such as coronary heart disease, arthrosclerosis and obesity, all of which are contributing elements to heart related health problems.

“If natural activities like a healthy diet and plenty of exercise are not effective in ensuring unacceptable cholesterol level, it is highly advisable to seek expert medical opinion. Based on the doctor’s diagnosis of your condition, he/she may prescribe cholesterol lowering medication.”

He added: “Another thing to do is to check on your habits and give up any detrimental factors to health such as smoking and the consumption of alcohol. Avoid smoking cigarettes or cigars completely. Avoid secondary smoke as well. You must also restrict the consumption of alcohol and reduce its quantity substantially if you are an avid drinker. It would also be beneficial to your health if you can bring down the level of emotional stress that you experience in your day-to-day activities.”

Further tips

Prof Adeleke said exercise is considered to be an effective tool in the battle against heart diseases. It is also useful in improving the quality of life in those individuals already suffering from heart diseases, “Regular exercise can lead to reduction in weight, resulting in greater energy. Exercising is beneficial in ensuring better sleep at night. It is also believed to be effective in reversing the process of atherosclerosis. Moreover it is helpful in lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol and even in eliminating stress.”

Way out

According to www.raysahelian.com/heartdisease, You should prepare your meals with very little sodium or salt. Too much salt in your regular foods increases blood pressure risk which can lead to cardiac problems and cardiac arrest. Those who suffer from very high pressure should try and completely restrict the use of sodium (salt) to prevent cardiac arrest. Try to maintain a healthy weight by balancing your calorie intake. All health problems like diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure should be treated and monitored.

Diets rich in saturated fats and simple sugar are likely to increase cardiovascular risk. Beneficial ingredients that research has consistently shown to reduce the risk include fish, fruits, berries, vegetables, garlic, onions, wine, and cocoa or dark chocolate. Eat more whole grains— such as oatmeal, brown rice and some breakfast cereals with bran. Focus on vegetables and fresh vegetable juices, omega-3 fatty acids, cold water fish, whole grains, fibre, legumes, a little bit of wine (if it cannot be done with), and nuts such as almonds and walnuts. Nuts have a good range of healthy fatty acids and, in moderation, are a good addition to one’s diet. As much as possible, eat raw nuts since their fatty acid profile is altered when cooked, heated, or roasted. If men and women add these beneficial ingredients to their daily diets, they might increase their life expectancy by several years. Consume fresh garlic when you can since it dilates blood vessels and can improve circulation.

Regularly eating fish and other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may lower your risk of fatal heart disease.

Eating bacon, sausage, hot dogs and other processed meats raises the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Eating unprocessed beef, pork or lamb does not appear to raise risks of heart attacks and diabetes as much. It is likely that salt and chemical preservatives may be a major cause of these two health problems associated with eating meat. Eating more fruits and vegetables decreases levels of C reactive protein, an inflammatory marker for vascular disease.

Teenagers who consume a lot of sugary foods and drinks have an increased risk in the future.

Too much salt and too little potassium in your diet may boost your risk for cardiovascular disease and death.

Eating beans, lentils and other legumes will help you cut down on LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol and lower your risk for heart disease. Eat more garlic and onions.

Cholesterol or egg intakes have not been associated with a higher risk of heart disease in most studies. Replacing refined sugars with egg, protein and unsaturated fats helps improve heart health.

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