Uncertainty of Life
Life is uncertain. It keeps the future well hidden and unknown to us. Sometimes we think we are onto something but life takes a different toll and completely outdoes us. Life reflects some of the future aspects on us but sometimes a few realities turn out to be what was very far beyond our imagination. In this regard one thing that changes life completely and also shakes the world of others is death.
Death is inevitable and sometimes mysterious. When it comes after a disease, it is expected, but we all see much unexpected deaths every now and then. Such unexpected life altering events may be due to murders, trauma, accidents or heart failure.
Of all the above, I recently came across many cases of sudden heart failure, or we should call it Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD). The people who fall prey to this may be as fit as can be at one moment and the next moment they have collapsed on the ground. No matter how healthy a person may be, he does not stand a chance in front of this.
One thing that bewildered me was that all the cases of sudden cardiac death that I witnessed, all of them were young or in early ages. The other particular observation was that all victims were males. I heard about five such cases in a month and not one of them was related to females. This compelled me to do some online research on this.
The Framingham Heart Study showed that the lifetime risk of SCD is three times greater in men (12.3%) than women (4.2%). This should not come as a surprise, as men are already more prone to heart diseases than women. However beyond the age of 85 years, the incidence of SCD becomes equal in both men and women. This was confirmed by a study published in the journal Circulation, which also proposed that the risk of SCD is higher in males (one in 33,134) than in females (one in 76,646).
But it’s just not the male gender from which SCD stems; findings of a study in European Society of Cardiology Congress 2007 brought into view after autopsy the most common diagnostic causes of SCD, notably: premature Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD) (24%), structurally normal heart (16%), hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (13%), arrhythmia-related death (13%), myocarditis (9%), pulmonary embolism (7%), long-QT syndrome (4%), dilated cardiomyopathy (4%), and coronary anomaly (2%). For those who have a structurally normal heart, the cause of death remains uncertain.
SCD is a sure cause of death because it stops the heart and deprives the body from oxygen, which is a major fuel for each cell of the living system. Unless previously suffering from any disease, SCD exhibits itself without any prior alarm, and because it can occur at any age and in healthy state as well, people are not ready for it. The survival rate of people who receive initial emergency care by ambulance is only 2%. However, with defibrillation within 3-5 minutes, the survival rate increases to 30%.
People having left ventricular ejection fraction of less than or equal to 35% are at high risk for SCD. Such people have been shown to benefit from Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICD). An ICD is a small, battery operated electrical device that is implanted in the chest. It can detect the abnormal ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia and prevents them by producing a shot of electricity. But the first most treatment for SCD in people without ICD is Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and due to the lack of knowledge in the masses, it is unfortunate that people mostly do not know CPR and are unable to deal with such conditions alone.
SCD is an alarming disaster and shakes the world of people like an earthquake. People are busy in their merry life and out of blue they have to face this life altering catastrophe. On one hand there is the loss of the loved one to bear, and on the other end is the shock of the news to overcome. However it is a blessing that time heals all the wounds and no matter how uncertain life becomes and how drastic circumstances one faces, time is a natural curer.
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