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cardiac arrest is a very critical situation where the heart – that makes blood (in its upper chamber or atrium) and pumps blood to all other organs of the body through the heart valves – crashes and seizes to function. This sudden failure of the system leads to loss of heartbeat, no flow of blood in the body, loss of organ functions, and ultimately death. The bottom chambers of the heart (ventricles) stop beating and start behaving like mere thick gooey masses leading to no production of heart beat or supply of oxygen and blood into the body. This abrupt crash of the system if not resurrected timely can lead to immediate death.

As per records, on an average 10% of the total deaths in India are caused due to cardiac arrests, which also is one of the major causes of death in the world. One of the prime reasons apart from congenital or acquired heart diseases is the unhealthy lifestyle that leads to a cardiac arrest. An unhealthy lifestyle -involving lack of physical activity, consumption of excessive alcohol, smoking, high intake of fried food, obesity, drug abuse, lack of nutritional diet, etc. – is a very strong trigger for a cardiac arrest. It leads to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and several other issues, which ultimately compromise the functioning of the arteries by blocking, narrowing or in many severe cases causing a leakage that disturbs the functioning of the heart.

Some major cardiac arrest symptoms include abruptly racing heartbeat, extreme anxiety, dizziness, thumping heart rhythm, fluttering ventricles, frozen body temperature, acute shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness, and palpitations.

While cardiac arrests are sudden, they are preventable provided a healthy lifestyle and habits are adopted. No matter what age or gender, a healthy lifestyle is the major step to avoid a cardiac arrest. Some of the healthy lifestyle habits that one must practice are:

Indulge in Healthy Eating: Food defines the age of the heart, hence it is very important to feed it the right stuff to ensure proper and healthy heart functioning. Foods that are high in saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, cholesterol, sugar, etc. should be avoided. Instead, consumption of fresh fruits, green vegetables, fibre, whole grains, fish, nuts, etc. is extremely good for the heart and aids its running. Dairy products, red meat and poultry are also not a healthy option for the heart. Consume dry fruits and use less oil in cooking food. Also, the diet should be full of nutrition.

Increase Physical Activeness: One of the major causes of a cardiac arrest is the lack of physical activity. No matter what age or gender, at least 30 minutes of any kind of physical activity is very essential to prevent heart problems and especially a cardiac arrest. Medium to high workout level is critical to maintain the heart strength and burn that build-up of plaque.

Get regular check-ups done: A healthy lifestyle habit that should be implemented is to be aware about the heart’s health consistently by getting regular check-ups and examinations done. Heart-health screenings are necessary to keep a check on the level of blood glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure, heart rate, body mass index and more. If the results indicate any variation from the normal range, proper methods of lifestyle change need to be put into practice to ensure the values are within normalcy. Alongside this, it is also necessary to consult the doctor, and speak about your diet, lifestyle, variation in values, and more.

Avoid Smoking or even Passive Smoking: Smoke is one of the prime causes of disturbing the functioning of the heart. It damages the lining of the arteries causing fat to build up, which ultimately leads to narrowing of the artery and hampering of the flow of blood in the body. Not just smokers but even non-smokers are highly subject to developing heart diseases due to prolonged exposure to smoke.

Reduce Stress: Today, stress is the cause of many health problems, especially the ones related to the matters of the heart. Stress increases heart rate and also shuffles the blood pressure, causing a lot of damage to the arteries. One could practice yoga, meditation or increase involvement in hobbies to reduce overall stress.

Maintain a Healthy Weight: Obesity is one of the major reasons for a cardiac arrest and needs to be completely sorted.It increases the chances of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, all of which are strong triggers for a cardiac arrest. Instead, workout each day, healthy eating, controlled calories intake, nutritional food helps maintain a healthy weight.

Limit Alcohol Intake: Excessive alcohol consumption increases the chances of high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, stroke, irregular heartbeats, etc. Too much alcohol is also a contributor to obesity, alcoholism and more.

While a healthy lifestyle is the best way to prevent a cardiac arrest, it is also important to understand that immediate medical help and treatment is the only way for survival post a cardiac arrest. One needs to be prompt and have immense presence of mind to ensure that the right and quick approach is adopted.  Immediate emergency help can help revive a person if treatment is initiated within the first minutes of an arrest. However, every minute lost reduces the chance of survival by 10%.

That said, a healthy lifestyle should not be a choice, it should be a way of life. Create and sustain healthy cycling habits in yourself and your family. Be more active, prefer outdoor over indoors, take a walk when possible, and always be alert.

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