Why do some people drop dead? – By Harold Gunatillake

Why do some people drop dead? – By Harold Gunatillake

Website www.Doctorharold.com

Human nature generally seeks to control the situations we encounter, but death remains something over which we have no control. This frightens many people.

Some may attempt to exert some form of control over death by behaving cautiously to avoid risks or undergoing rigorous, frequent health checks.

Know what arrhythmic tachycardia is when the heart is desperately stressed. If your pulse is irregular and rapid, get to the closest casualty. Your body is getting starved of blood.

This is not a topic we should touch on during the festive season. Still, unfortunately, many people seem to drop dead in Sri Lanka, especially

young people, and it is essential to highlight the aetiology and make our people live healthier life.

News Wire reports the increase in young people dying due to heart attacks, according to the – Colombo Coroner, dated September 2023

Out of the 1,500 autopsies conducted by the Colombo National Hospital’s Coroner’s Court within the last three months, 100 people under the age of 50 have died due to heart attacks and diabetes, Colombo Coroner attorney-at-law Iresha Samaraweera said, DailyNews Newspaper reported

She also said that 200 deaths related to people in the age group of 50 to 60 years were due to heart attacks and diabetes.

She said that one-third of the sudden deaths that occurred during the relevant period were due to heart attacks, and the trend of young people dying due to heart attacks is increasing, The DailyNews report added.

Sri Lankan Heart Disease Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the leading cause of death in Sri Lanka, while stroke is the second cause of death. CAD accounted for 34% of deaths in an autopsy study.

Salt intake among Sri Lankans seems to be very high. One inevitable factor due to eating rice with many curries is each having too much-added salt during the cooking process. Sodium assists in maintaining body fluid balance.

Excess sodium intake increases the risk of ischaemic heart disease (IHD), adding to global and local mortality due to

non-communicable diseases.

If you have coronary thrombosis, your heart will likely have a hard time functioning properly. It may stop altogether. Coronary thrombosis is a common cause of sudden cardiac death. It accounts for one-third of sudden cardiac deaths in the United States.

Five decades ago, during the 2nd world War and after, we had few restaurants in the streets of the main cities. They were mainly Ananda Bawans and pastry shops. People ate home-cooked food with water and with some tempering afterwards.

Today, that cooking method has changed to eating quickly cooked fried foods containing high calories and fats.

Today, in the main cities, restaurants on every street corner serve such food. In addition, a new trend of street eating stalls has cropped up.

This could be the main reason why heart disease is so common in young people. Home cooking has been something of the past. After work, the young people for convenience by taking away street foods.

Once, Colombo Galle Face green was used only for recreational purposes, but today, it turned out to be vendor-cooked fried foods.

Lack of exercise, due to working young people coming home late is another factor causing heart disease.

Stress among the young ones and taking illicit drugs are pretty common factors, too, for heart disease.

Due to the poor socio-economic situation in the country, the middle and lower classes would be affected, and the situation may not improve, unfortunately.

There are five causes of sudden death:

fatal arrhythmias, acute myocardial infarction, intracranial haemorrhage/ massive stroke (cerebrovascular accident), massive pulmonary embolism and acute aortic catastrophe.

Fatal arrhythmia is cardiac myopathy. Cardiomyopathy is a general term for diseases of the heart muscle where the walls of the heart chambers have become stretched, thickened or stiff. This affects the heart’s ability to pump blood around the body. Most types of cardiomyopathies are inherited.

So, what do we mean by the word arrhythmia? An arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, is a problem with the rate or rhythm of your heartbeat. Your heart may beat too quickly, too slowly, or with an irregular rhythm.

What is the leading cause of arrhythmia? Narrowed heart arteries, a heart attack, heart valve disease, prior heart surgery, heart failure, cardiomyopathy and other heart damage are risk factors for almost any kind of arrhythmia.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure is another cause that can lead to cardiomyopathy and death.

It is essential, after the age of forty, that you check your blood pressure regularly. If you don’t, you may not know that you could be having high blood pressure. In the early stages, you may not have any symptoms until one day, you feel giddy and collapse. This happens to be a significant cause of sudden deaths in Sri Lanka.

A significant number of patients who suffer sudden cardiac death will have no preceding symptoms. Others may have a history of chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, dizziness or syncope. Thus, even healthy, relatively young patients with “minor complaints, such as palpations, ” must be taken seriously.

If you ever feel you have palpitations, meaning the heart is working fast, you must rush to the closest hospital casualty immediately.

Myocardial infarction, or death of an area of heart muscle during sudden blockage of the coronary arteries that feed into that area, could get blocked with a blood clot due to the plaques in such arteries.

You need to have a healthy lifestyle, such as eating a plant-based diet, exercising daily, and minimising your stress, all required to prevent myocardial infarction.

I hope I have put in the fear of mosses on this topic of discussion. It is a serious situation and could be a silent progressive situation until you drop dead. Think about it all the time, and stay healthy, don’t forget the daily walking.

Good health to all, stay well, and goodbye until the next time we meet.

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