Sudden Cardiac Death claims 450,000 American lives each year, according to a study published in the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
Most of these deaths occur to people with no earlier symptoms of cardiovascular disease.
And the data indicates that men face a higher risk of sudden cardiac death than women.
The following, published by Heart News Study Highlights, offers the first lifetime estimates for sudden cardiac death in the United States.
The findings are alarming.
➡ One in nine men face a higher probability of a premature death, without warning, and most before the age of 70.
➡ One in 30 women may face the same risk.ted
High blood pressure and other cardiac-related contributing factors, such as lifestyle choices, general health, diet and food preferences, were associated with the rising statistics of sudden cardiac death.
The current study offers the first “lifetime” estimates of those at risk, and the numbers raise a red flag.
in the Framingham Heart Study (a decades-long cardiovascular study) data was collected on more than 5,200 men and women aged 28 to 62.
- None of the participants had cardiovascular disease at the time of their participation.
The study focused on four major risk factors — blood pressure, total cholesterol, smoking, and diabetes.
The researchers calculated cumulative lifetime risk estimates for sudden cardiac death, as well as estimates according to any predisposing conditions.
- Sudden cardiac death occurred in 375 people during follow-up
- The risk was greater for men than women – with roughly one out of 9 men, at age 45 considered as “high risk.”
Men with two or more major risk factors (such as smoking, high blood pressure, etc.) at all ages had even higher lifetime risks…more than one in eight men.
About 1 out of 30 women at age 45 were at risk.
• High blood pressure alone and/or a combination of other risk factors was associated with higher risk.
According to researchers, although Sudden Cardiac Death is a leading cause of death in the United States, the earlier methods for predicting its risk in a person’s lifetime have only been partly successful.
As reported by Donald Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Sc.M., senior study author and chair of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois:
“Sudden Cardiac Death has been very hard to study because most patients had no history of heart problems and were not being monitored at the time of their death.”
“The majority of all cases occur before age 70; this is obviously sudden and devastating for families, with a burden that can be quite severe.”
This study now sets the stage for thinking about how we can screen the population effectively to find out who’s at risk.
Typically, doctors screen for conditions where the risk of death is less common.
- For instance, the lifetime risk for colon cancer is about one in 21, and for this reason, everyone over the age of 50 is told to have a colonoscopy.
- By comparison, however, the lifetime risk of sudden cardiac death for men is one in nine, and yet men are not being screened for it.
Hopefully, this study and future research will lead to advances in screening methods to find the probability of a devastating, unexpected death.
However, your health is up to you…If you even suspect or have a family history of heart disease or strokes, please ask your physician for these screening tests. If necessary, please consult a Cardiologist for the most thorough screening exams. Take care of YOU.