Three things that increase your risk of an SCA

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Sudden cardiac arrest risk

Three things that increase your risk of an SCA

Over the years, the USA has been in and out of the spotlight for their public health crises. Rates of cancer, diabetes, and obesity are getting worse in many areas. But one of the deadliest doesn’t seem to get as much attention as the others – sudden cardiac arrest.

SCA claims the lives of around 365,000 Americans every year. That’s roughly the equivalent to the combined annual deaths of firearms, car accidents, breast cancer, house fires, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and HIV. UK sudden cardiac arrest statistics reflect a similar level of alarm – taking the lives of around 100,000 people every year. Often incorrectly compared to heart attacks, an SCA can strike at any time, no matter your age or level of fitness.

Here are three things to be aware of that increase your risk of suffering from a potentially deadly sudden cardiac arrest.


SCA results from an electrical disturbance in your heart that disrupts its pumping action, stopping blood flow to your body. These rhythm problems are commonly caused by scarred heart muscle. Several factors can contribute to this:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Viral infections
  • Hereditary or autoimmune conditions
  • Chemical toxicity

All these factors can be prevented, or at the very least reduced, by a healthy lifestyle consisting of regular exercise and a balanced diet.


Although smoking has long been linked to sudden cardiac arrest, its precise contribution is largely unknown. Recent research on 100,000 women has shed light on just how much smoking threatens the heart’s ability to beat. The relative risk of suffering from a sudden cardiac arrest looks like this:

  • 1 to 14 cigarettes every day = 1.84-fold increase in risk
  • 25 or more cigarettes every day = 3.3-fold increase in risk

The study also found that smoking duration was also a significant risk factor. For every five years of smoking, the SCA risk increased by 8%. Other findings from this study gave smokers reasons to be optimistic – women who quit smoking reduced their risk. After 20 years, the level of risk practically reversed and almost matched women who had never smoked.

A family history

If sudden cardiac arrests run in your family, you’re at higher risk of suffering from the same. Although this risk may feel out of your control, there’s no doubting the positive risk-reducing effects of a healthy lifestyle. Genetic dispositions also highlight the importance of regularly getting your heart checked out by your doctor to identify any warning signs or potential problems.

It’s critical we all look after our hearts to the best of our abilities. However, in the case of a sudden cardiac arrest, acting fast can save lives. Access to a defibrillator is often the difference between life and death while waiting for medical services to arrive. Do you know where your nearest defibrillator is?

At Defib365, it’s our mission to provide businesses and communities across the UK with defibrillators. Investing in just one for your organisation can make the difference between life and death. Whether you would prefer to lease or buy our products, get in touch today on 0333 050 6649 to find out how we can help you.

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