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Here’s everything you must know about this deadly medical condition of cardiac arrest

The sudden demise of legendary actress Sridevi has left the entire nation in mourning. The talented and beautiful actress gave Bollywood many of its blockbusters, and was hailed the first female Superstar of the Indian cinema.

Sridevi died at a relatively young age of 54. Ever since the news came out on Sunday morning, the country has witnessed restlessness. It is being reported that the actress died of a sudden cardiac arrest and the report has been confirmed by her brother-in-law, actor Sanjay Kapoor.

That’s the thing with sudden deaths: they are least expected and the most tragic. That’s the only reason why sudden cardiac arrests are deadly. Sridevi is not the only famous personality who has met an untimely end due to a sudden cardiac arrest. There have been many other famous celebrities who died similarly. In fact, Mother Teresa also died of a cardiac arrest. Reema Lagoo, Aarthi Agarwal and Suchitra Sen are some other Indian actresses who died of cardiac arrest or heart attack.

This might make one wonder: what are cardiac arrests? What are its signs and symptoms? Are there any early signs you can watch out for? We’ve got all your questions covered. Read on:

What is a sudden cardiac arrest?

A sudden cardiac arrest is an unexpected and a very sudden and abrupt loss of the function of the heart, breathing as well as consciousness. Sudden disturbance to the functioning of the heart which leads to disruption in pumping of the blood is the primary cause of a cardiac arrest. As a result, blood supply to the body is cut off. Sudden cardiac arrest needs immediate and prompt medical attention. If not given proper care, it can lead to sudden cardiac death.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest vs Heart Attack

Sudden cardiac arrests and heart attacks are often confused with each other and used interchangeably. However, there is a difference between sudden cardiac arrest and heart attack. In heart attack, blood flow is blocked in a portion of the heart and this injures the muscles. Sometimes, a heart attack can trigger a sudden cardiac arrest.

The symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest

None of the diseases comes unannounced. Every problem in the body gives us signs, however subtle they may be. However, when it comes to a sudden cardiac arrest, doctors often say that the attack may come completely out of the blue and not give any warning signs at all. However, much to our relief, a recent study established that even a sudden cardiac arrest has its warning indicators. Some common early symptoms include the following:

– A dizziness that doesn’t go away easily

– A general sense of fatigue

– Shortness of breath

– Heart palpitations

– Chest pain that may happen as early as four weeks before the cardiac arrest

Heart attack and cardiac arrest symptoms in women

Heart attack and cardiac arrest symptoms are different in women and men, say studies. Though there are many symptoms that run common, doctors have pointed out several differences. They include:

– Symptoms may be more subtle and more ambiguous

– Chest pain may not be the primary pain and may be accompanied by nausea, fatigue, pain in back, neck and shoulders as well.

– Tight artery blockages are not very common in women but they are in men

– The reason behind these differences could be that women may develop preeclampsia, a problem of high blood pressure during pregnancy, in their lives. Also, menopause puts women at a higher risk of suffering from heart disease during that phase of their lives.

Risk factors

There are many lifestyle risk factors that up your chances of a cardiac arrest. These include the following:

– A problem of high blood pressure or hypertension

– Diabetes

– Smoking

– High cholesterol levels

– No or very less physical activity

– Overweight or obesity

First aid for sudden cardiac arrest

In case of a sudden cardiac arrest, the patient must be immediately administered medical help. You should call a doctor as soon as possible. The administering of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can help or a doctor can also treat with a defibrillator. You may just give compressions to the chest if you have to wait for help to arrive. Survival of the victim is possible if proper measures are taken on time.

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