Causes and Prevention of SCD/ Sudden Cardiac Death

My brother’s colleague passed away at the age of 27 due to SCD! Shocking but true… Many youngsters are going through SCD abandoning their families at a time they need them the most.

But thankfully, SCD can be prevented. A right understanding of its causes and intervention at the right time can help you take care of your loved ones. Read on to know more…

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

What is SCD?

SCD/ Sudden Cardiac Death is a condition that leads to sudden death. It is a condition wherein the heart stops functioning suddenly. Thus, there is no oxygen supply to the body and is followed by death.

How common is sudden cardiac death?

15 to 20% of deaths these days are due to SCD confirms research.

Never ignore these signs/ symptoms that could lead to SCD

  • Unexplained palpitations

*Palpitation refers to an increased heart rate that you can feel.

While palpitations are common during exercise or after an intensive workout, unexplained palpitations need attention. 

  • Abnormal breathing/ shortness of breath
  • Pain/ discomfort in the chest
  • Unexplained weakness
  • Nausea/ vomiting sensation
  • Dizziness

Tips to prevent SCD

  • Avoid stress

Stress is one of the most common causes of heart diseases leading to death.

Try to avoid stress. You can avoid some types of stress through thorough and realistic planning.

Relaxation exercises such as pranayama/ breathing exercises and yoga are scientifically proven to reduce stress. Make sure you learn them from a certified teacher.

  • Try to stay happy

Several scientific studies conclude staying happy and spreading smiles boosts your heart health and also keeps you glowing.

On the contrary, depression (constant sadness) and anxiety (over-worry) increase the risk of heart diseases.

  • Stay active

Staying physically active also helps you keep happy; they are interlinked.

By staying physically active, you

  • Improve the levels of healthy cholesterol
  • Reduce the levels of unhealthy cholesterol
  • Reduce unhealthy fats and triglycerides
  • Live longer

Living a sedentary lifestyle/ low activity levels increase the risk of SCD.

  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle
  • Try to have more of heart-healthy foods such as whole grains instead of refined grains such as maida, healthy oils such as coconut oil or olive oil instead of palm oil, nuts such as almonds instead of deep-fried snacks, and fresh fruits instead of sweets.
  • Avoid excess coffee and salt.
  • Quit smoking and alcohol. The combination is more lethal, it increases the risk of heart diseases by four times.
  • You need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a day to stay healthy. Anything less or more than that is not good for you.
  • Regular health check-ups are helpful

Workplaces arrange for a free health check-up every 6 months these days. Do not take them lightly. They help in preventing SCD as well as other diseases. I’m sure you all agree prevention is better than cure.

Regular health check-ups also help in early detection and prevent the worsening of heart diseases.

Other medical conditions increase the risk

Certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart diseases such as heart attack in the past, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, being overweight/ obese, having a higher waist circumference, kidney disease, illegal drugs, and certain medicines too increase the risk of SCD.

Never miss your doctor’s appointment.

Hereditary factors put you at a higher risk

Blood relatives such as parents/ siblings/ grandparents with a history of heart diseases increase your risk of SCD.

Make sure you discuss every disease/ medical condition present in your family with your doctor.

If you see anyone around you experiencing below symptoms ask for immediate help from the hospital:

  • Sudden collapse
  • Loss of consciousness
  • No pulse

Without any delay, ask for emergency help. You might be the one saving someone’s life and family.

Till the emergency team arrives, you can give frequent chest compressions. CPR and defibrillation help in reviving the heart.

Time is the key

By attending within a minute, you can bring the affected person back to life in about 90% of the cases. With every minute’s delay, you reduce the survival chances.

Needless to say, prevention is the best medicine!


Written by Dr. Kamakshi Mahale.

Dr. Kamakshi G.Mahale is a Dental Surgeon by profession. She completed her Bachelors in Dental Surgery from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences at SDM College of Dental Sciences and Hospital, Dharwad, in 2007. She is a passionate health blogger and a medical writer too.

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