Sudden cardiac death and risk factors

August 15, 2011

Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is defined as death within 1 hour of onset of symptoms. While SCD is more common in men than women, it is still a considerable public health problem with 120,000 cases occurring annually. Analysis from the Nurses’ Health Study shows that 69% of women who suffered Sudden cardiac death had no reported history of CAD prior to the event. This highlights the need to identify factors associated with increased Sudden cardiac death risk. The NHS found that risk for SCD is closely associated with risk for CAD with 94% of women reporting at least one coronary risk factor. Smoking, hypertension, and diabetes were associated with a 2.5to 4-fold increase in SCD risk which is similar to the risk conferred by having had a history of prior MI. This finding suggests that aggressive modification of CAD risk factors may decrease the risk for SCD. CAD is the major contributor to morbidity and mortality in women. Some risk factors are modifiable with changes in lifestyle or with medications, while others are unmodifiable such as age and genetics. Reducing the risk of CAD is achieved through a healthy lifestyle of diet, exercise, and smoking cessation while aggressively controlling disease processes that increase the risk of atherosclerosis.

SEE ALSO: Acute myocardial infarction, Cardiovascular disease, Cholesterol, Diabetes, Exercise, Hormone replacement therapy, Hypertension, Nutrition, Smoking

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Category: Coronary Risk Factor