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Common Risk Factors for Cardiac Arrest and Sudden Cardiac Death

image for CPR With Pacemaker and Defibrillator

The heart is a rigid organ that pumps large amounts of blood across your system. Its role is pivotal in keeping a person alive. This organ gets its stimulus from a complex network of nerves in the brain. It is vital to keep the heart safe, and people take up special courses. The American HealthCare Academy’s life-saving course list has something for everyone. Their CPR certification course gives you essential information about cardiac arrest and life-saving techniques including the right CPR ratio. This blog explains cardiac arrest, its risk factors, and its complications.    

What is a Cardiac Arrest?

Cardiac arrest is the loss of heart function in which the heart stops beating and pumping blood to the body. It is an emergency medical condition. The heart stops working due to a malfunction in the electrical system that controls it. It means the heart cannot pump blood to the rest of the body. The person’s organs and tissues do not receive the needed oxygen and nutrients. Without immediate treatment, the person will die. When someone experiences cardiac arrest, they lose consciousness and cannot breathe. If someone is nearby, they should immediately begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

CPR is a technique used to stimulate the heart and lungs and to supply the body with oxygenated blood. It helps to minimize the risk of brain damage and other complications. Sometimes, a defibrillator shocks the heart and restores a normal rhythm. A defibrillator delivers a calculated electric shock to the heart. It can help reset the heart’s electrical system and restart its normal rhythm.

Risk Factors for Sudden Cardiac Arrest

In today’s stressful life, anyone can face cardiac arrest. Below are the risk factors for sudden cardiac death and sudden cardic arrest:

  1. Hypertension: Hypertension (high blood pressure) can strain the heart and increase the risk of cardiac arrest. 
  2. Diabetes: Diabetes can cause damage to the heart and raise the odds of cardiac arrest.
  3. Coronary Artery Disease: This condition narrows the arteries that supply blood to the heart. This condition makes it more likely to experience cardiac arrest. 
  4. Smoking: Smoking increases the risk of multiple heart ailments and cardiac arrest. 
  5. High Cholesterol: High cholesterol levels can cause fat buildup in the arteries. Its collection prevents blood flow, making it harder for the heart to pump blood.
  6. Obesity: Carrying extra weight can strain the heart and increase the risk of cardiac arrest. 
  7. Family History: If people in your family have heart issues, it could point to upcoming heart trouble for you. It can increase an individual’s risk of cardiac arrest.

What is Sudden Cardiac Death?

Sudden cardiac death is death caused by a heart malfunction. It is a medical emergency in which the heart stops beating suddenly and unexpectedly. The person usually dies within minutes. SCD is responsible for approximately 300,000 deaths yearly. People suffering from SCD show typical symptoms minutes or seconds before the episode. To identify lingering SCD, watch for the below signs.

  1. Chest Pain or Discomfort: The person in question might clutch their chest. They could complain of pain as well.
  2. Shortness of Breath: Patients usually look like they cannot breathe.
  3. Lightheadedness: The patient may faint or feel dizzy due to a lack of blood supply.
  4. Unexplained Fainting or Seizures: A seizure is a sign of abnormal brain activity. The patient could show jerky movements in their arms and legs.
  5. Rapid or Irregular Heartbeat: An irregular heartbeat is a sign of a faulty heart. If the person complains of a quick or slow heart rate, you must get them checked immediately.

Risk factors for Sudden Cardiac Death

Identifying any underlying medical conditions and risk factors is essential to prevent death. It would help if you got regular screenings and changed your lifestyle. Taking prescribed medication also helps some people. Recognizing heart attack signs and contacting emergency services immediately is also essential.

  1. The most common cause of SCD is an abnormal heart rhythm. Doctors also call it ventricular fibrillation. It causes the heart to beat erratically and uncontrollably. An electrical malfunction is responsible for this issue. Without an effective electrical shock or defibrillation, the heart cannot pump blood effectively, resulting in death. 
  2. People with heart valve diseases are at a higher risk of SCD. The heart’s valves do not open and close properly in this condition. It leads to the mixing of deoxygenated blood, causing death.
  3. A disease of the heart muscles called cardiomyopathy is also responsible for sudden cardiac death. 
  4. Coronary artery disease (clogged arteries) could lead to high-intensity pain in the chest, followed by death.
  5. An underlying medical condition like an inherited heart disorder increases the risk of SCD. 


With a sharp rise in lifestyle diseases, anyone could fall prey to cardiac arrest. Some people cope with it faster, while others may need special medical care. A CPR certification from the American HealthCare Academy ensures you stay prepared with the right CPR steps. Please register on our website and review the courses to pick the best one. For how long does CPR certification last? CPR certificate issued by AHCA lasts for 2 years which can be renewd when it’s near expiry.