Healthy Living by Women Dramatically Cuts Risk of
Sudden Cardiac Death
SCD kills within an hour and accounts for more than
half of all cardiac deaths; watch video below
July 7, 2011 - Adhering to a healthy lifestyle,
including not smoking, exercising regularly, having a low body weight
and eating a healthy diet, appears to dramatically lower the risk of
sudden cardiac death in women. Women abiding by all four lifestyles
lowered their risk by 92 percent, compared to women following none of
"Sudden cardiac death (SCD) (defined as death
occurring within one hour after symptom onset without evidence of
circulatory collapse) accounts for more than half of all cardiac deaths,
with an incidence of approximately 250,000 to 310,000 cases annually in
the United States," the authors write as background information.
Low health literacy
patients were older, of lower socioeconomic status and less likely to
have a high school education; also more likely to have multiple chronic
diseases - watch video -
April 26, 2011
The authors of the study in the July 6 issue of the
Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) also note that
no prior studies have examined the combination of multiple lifestyle
factors and risk of SCD.
A low-risk lifestyle was defined in this study as
not smoking, having a body mass index (BMI) of less than 25, exercise
duration of 30 minutes/day or longer, and consuming a diet closely
related to a Mediterranean-style diet (emphasizes high intake of
vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains and fish, with moderate
Using data collected as part of the Nurses' Health
Study, Stephanie E. Chiuve, Sc.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital and
Harvard Medical School, Boston, and colleagues examined the association
between a healthy lifestyle and risk of SCD.
A total of 81,722 women who participated in the
Nurses' Health Study from June 1984 to June 2010 were included in the
study, and lifestyle factors were assessed via questionnaires every two
to four years.
During the 26 years of follow-up, there were 321
cases of SCD among women (average age 72 years at the time of the SCD
event) in the study.
All four low-risk factors were significantly and
independently associated with a lower risk of SCD. Not smoking,
exercising and eating a healthy diet each were inversely associated with
risk of SCD. BMI also was associated with the risk of SCD, with women
having a BMI between 21 and 24.9 at lowest risk.
Women at low risk for all four lifestyle factors
had a 92 percent lower risk of SCD when compared with women at low risk
for none of the four lifestyle factors.
"The primary prevention of SCD remains a major
public health challenge because most SCD occurs among individuals not
identified as high risk," the authors write.
"In this cohort of female nurses, adherence to an
overall healthy lifestyle was associated with a lower risk of SCD and
may be an effective strategy for the prevention of SCD."
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