Cardiac Arrest: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention

Cardiac arrest is the sudden stop of the heart function. Also called cardiac death because the heart stops pumping blood and the whole body goes low on blood supply.

When this happens, the organs of the body start dying one after the other, because they cannot live without the oxygen (especially) and nutrient supplied by the blood.

N.B: Cardiac Arrest is NOT same as a Heart Attack.

Symptoms of Cardiac Arrest

  • Sudden collapse
  • No pulse
  • No breathing
  • Loss of consciousness

Signs to look out for before cardiac arrest;

  • Chest discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Palpitations
Cardiac Arrest

Causes of Cardiac Arrest

Most common cause is a heart disease and a consistent/regular heart attack/ Do you have a heart disease? NO, you don’t know because you don’t think it’s important to check

Who’s At Risk of having a Heart Disease;
✓ A person with a family history of coronary artery disease: Coronary Artery Disease is a disease of the heart caused by a loss or blockage of blood supply to the heart muscles. This can also be known as a heart attack.
Smoking: smoking has been documented to have adverse effects on the heart and a number of other organs, e.g: lungs.
High blood pressure: if not properly controlled can lead to serious consequences, including heart failure.
High blood cholesterol: can lead to formation of plaques (atherosclerosis) that block blood vessels and can cause a heart attack (CAD) or a stroke.
Obesity: obese individuals are at risk of developing serious heart problems and other problems.
Diabetes: people living with DM have been observed to develop associated heart diseases like Hypertension.
✓ A sedentary lifestyle: favours weight gain which can lead to obesity.
previous heart attack: one who has had a previous heart attack should be screened further to ascertain the cause and possible treatment where available. If not, a recurrence of the attack can occur and if it happens, would be more severe than the first.
✓ Family history: of any other heart disease is a sign saying that we should be wary of possibly developing a heart disease sometime in their life.
Age: it is more common in elderly individuals (over the age of 50).
✓ Being male

How To Prevent Cardiac Arrest;

You can prevent a heart Arrest if you know the condition of your heart and choosing a healthy lifestyle.

  • Always check your blood pressure as often as you can
  • Always eat food items that are low in cholesterol
  • Quit smoking
  • Regular exercises to lose weight of overweight.
  • Religious adherence to your antidiabetic a and antihypertensive medications as prescribed.

Dear readers, take your routine medical checks as important as living is. You might be a ticking bomb and not know it. Routine checks help you know if your system or organs are “doing well”.

Always see your doctor, when you have any concerns.


  • Dr. Echibuogu Nelson Tochukwu currently works as a medical officer at Prince Of Peace Specialist Hospital in Lagos. He holds an MBBS Degree from the Abia State University. He is a story teller, script writer and a lover of sport. You can follow him on twitter below.

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