Causes and Symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) can simply be described as a collapse of your heart. This means that your heart will stop beating without any warning which will lead to all brain functions stopping. Most people who get cardiac arrests are over the age of 45 but there are some cases of children getting it as will be discussed later in this article. It is important to note that a heart attack and a cardiac arrest are two different things. The most significant difference is that you can tell when you are having a heart attack, especially if it has happened before, but you can’t know when you will have cardiac arrest. However, the signs are quite similar such as:
- Sudden difficulty in breathing.
- Pain in either arms or back.
- Shortness of breath.
The causes of SCA are many hence it may be difficult to determine an exact cause unless thorough tests are done on the patient.
Coronary artery disease (CAD)
It is one of the most common causes of sudden cardiac arrest since it does not have any signs and symptoms. It is caused by plaque buildup in the coronary arteries which over time block them up leading to less blood supply into the heart. Because there are no evident signs of the disease, you may not know you have it till you’ve had a SCA.
Silent heart attacks
As the name suggests, these types of heart attacks are not really felt. One may feel some discomfort in their chest or pain in their arms but will not really know that they are having a heart attack. Once this happens, the person may not have the sudden cardiac arrest immediately; it may take up to six months for it to occur, though this is not a must.
If ones family has a history of people getting cardiac arrests, then this puts them at risk of getting it too. Some of the disorders that are inherited and may lead to sudden cardiac arrest include arrhythmias. There are also people who inherit certain structures of the heart which also increase the chances of getting sudden cardiac arrest even as children.
People who abuse hard drugs and alcohol also have a high risk of getting sudden cardiac arrest. This is because most of these drugs increase the heart rate which may lead to stress, blood cell rapture and cardiac arrest.
When undertaking strenuous activities, you may wear out your heart leading to sudden cardiac arrest. This is due to the release of adrenaline which may trigger the heart to go into arrest if you have a heart condition. It may also be caused by:
- Lack of oxygen.
- Rapid loss of blood.
- Low levels of potassium and magnesium in the blood.
Signs and symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest
It may be difficult to know when one will have sudden cardiac arrest but there are some common signs that when you see, you should get help as soon as possible such as when the person has:
- Intense chest pains.
- Feeling dizzy.
- Pains in the left, right arms or both.
- Shortness of breath.
- Lost consciousness.
These symptoms may vary in intensity and when they occur but they are the most important to look out for. This is especially crucial if the person has any kind of heart problem since it could save their life.
Knowing the causes and symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest may not completely stop it from happening but it may reduce the chances of it being fatal.