A recent study reports that women who were overweight at the age of 18 are at an increased risk for sudden cardiac death (SCD), regardless of what their current weight is.
What is SCD?
SCD is a sudden and unexpected death that is caused by the loss of your heart's function. It cuts off the blood supply to your brain and other vital organs. According to the Boston Scientific, SCD kills more than 300,000 people each year in the U.S., and only one in 11 people survive SCD. Unfortunately, about 75 percent of its victims have no known risk factors for heart disease, and it's typically the first indication of cardiac disease in women.
Researchers followed 72,484 women that were generally healthy at the beginning from 1980 to 2012. Over this period of time, 454 women suffered from SCD. Researchers found that compared with participants who had a body mass index of 21 to 22.9 at the age of 18, those other participants with a BMI of 23 to 29.9 had a 33 percent higher risk for SCD. Participants with a BMI of 30 to 35.9 has twice the risk, and participants who had a BMI higher than 35 had four times the risk.
Is there a way to prevent SCD?
Stephanie Chiuve, ScD, Associate Epidemiologist, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School, discusses the recent study on SCD and if there's a way to prevent it.