Sudden Cardiac Arrest – Prevention
At this time there is no definite way to gauge the likelihood of suffering a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), so reducing the risk is your best strategy. Steps to take include regular checkups, screening for heart disease, and living a heart-healthy lifestyle with the following approaches:
- Don’t smoke
- Only use alcohol in moderation
- Eat a nutritious, balanced diet
- Stay physically active
A growing body of research supports the role of lifestyle measures in protecting against this sudden, silent killer. Given the serious outcome of this disease, scientists are now looking to diet as one of the most promising primary prevention strategy.
The most important line of defense is adopting heart-healthy lifestyles that can guard against heart disease in the first place.
The urgency of preventive approaches takes on even more meaning when you consider that most victims of SCA weren’t identified as being at risk in the first place.
The results of a study published in a 2011 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that 81 percent of cases of SCA were due to unhealthy lifestyles.
The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, found that a Mediterranean-style diet, when combined with other healthful habits, such as maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and exercising, provided a 92 percent reduced risk of SCA.
The researchers evaluated data from the Nurses’ Health Study, which included information from more than 81,000 women over 26 years.
- Women who ate a diet closest to the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, omega-3 fats, and fish; moderate in alcohol; and light in red meat, had a 40 percent lower risk than women whose diets least resembled the Mediterranean diet
- Normal-weight women had a 56 percent reduced risk compared with obese women
- The more the women exercised, the smaller their risk; at least 30 minutes of exercise per day lowered the risk by 28 percent
- Smoking was the biggest factor: Women who had never smoked had a 75 percent decreased risk than women who smoked at least 25 cigarettes per day
The American Heart Association stresses the following approaches for the general population to achieve ideal cardiovascular health:
- Fruits and vegetables: at least 4.5 cups per day
- Fish (preferably oily fish): at least two 3.5-oz servings per week
- Fiber-rich whole grains: at least three 1-oz-equivalent servings per day
- Sodium: less than 1,500 mg per day
- Sugar-sweetened beverages: no more than 450 kcal (36oz) per week
- Nuts, legumes, and seeds: at least four servings per week
- Processed meats: no more than two servings per week
- Saturated fat: less than 7 percent of total energy intake.
We hope we have shed some light on the risks and prevention of SCA. At Global Medical Services, our goal is to fight SCA and the damage it does to our society. Now get out there and start your heart-healthy lifestyle!