Researchers found out that sudden cardiac arrests may not be sudden after all. In fact, they were able to isolate a number of indicating signs that the heart cardiac arrest victim can feel a month before the disaster strikes.
A new study suggests that those symptoms can include a combination of chest pain, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, back pain, nausea or stomach pain.
The most scary part is that only 15-20% of those that experience the symptoms will seek medical help. The other 80% usually don’t give too much attention to the symptoms thinking it’s a flu or just ignoring them. And the fact is that sudden cardiac arrests are highly lethal. People who get them usually die within 10-15 min, and less than 10% of the victims actually survive according to Dr. Sumeet Chugh, associate director of the Heart Institute and director of the Heart Rhythm Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Just to be clear, a cardiac arrest is different than is different than a heart attack, even though people are using both terms reciprocally. A heart attack is when the blood supply to the heart stops due to an arterial blockage. On the other hand a cardiac arrest happens when the heart electrical activity goes amiss and the heart simply stops working.
Cardiac arrest kills close to 8 million people every year and up until now experts though that cardiac arrest happens unexpectedly, but now it has been shown that a great percentage of the victims had some of the warning signs.
The new study focused on nearly 850 patients, aged 35 to 65, whose symptoms were tracked prior to experiencing a cardiac arrest between 2002 and 2012. Three-quarters were men, and all were a part of an ongoing study in Oregon.
The results say that 50% of men ( experienced chest pain and tightness) and 53% percent of women (experienced shortness of breath) experienced at least some warning symptoms before their hearts stopped. More than 90% of them said that the symptoms reoccurred the day before the cardiac arrest.
It doesn’t mean that these symptoms are all related to heart problems, most of them could be just caused by a fly, too much exercise etc. The challenging part is to recognize the real signal through all the noise – says Dr. John Day, president of the Heart Rhythm Society and director of Heart Rhythm Services at Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Murray, Utah.
The symptoms should not be ignored if you have risk factors for heart disease (family history of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or an already known heart problem.