Published on January 22, 2021

Life Hacks to Prevent Sudden Cardiac Death

heart and ekg

Sadly, one out of two Mississippians will die from cardiovascular disease—10% of these deaths will occur with no warning. This outcome seems to be more likely in those with unhealthy lifestyles, smokers and those with unmodified cardiac risks. The more of these issues you have, the greater the risk of an untoward event.

Fortunately, there are simple “life hacks” to lower the risk:

Lower your blood pressure.

  • Start by bringing your weight in line. This may result in a 15-20 point drop in your systolic blood pressure. High protein, low carb diets seem to provide a better sustained weight loss as compared to a low-fat diet.
  • Regular exercise (of ANY TYPE) can lower your blood pressure by 10 points.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption. While many have shown one to two alcoholic beverages can lower your cardiovascular mortality; more than two alcoholic beverages per day significantly increase your blood pressure and risk of liver injury.
  • Limit salt. Salt makes you retain water, increasing your blood pressure. The more you eat, the shorter you live.
  • Lower stress through productive ways—don’t smoke, yell, eat or drink. Instead, take a walk, clean house or mow the lawn. Amazingly, productive strategies for stress reduction result in a 10-15 point blood pressure drop!

Lower your cholesterol level.

  • Increase your intake of soluble fibers such as those found in oat bran, beans and vegetables. This will help slow the absorption of dietary fats and speed GI transit. A 10% drop in your bad cholesterol is highly likely, as well as a 10% drop in risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Eliminate trans fats. These fats are often used to preserve foods and are highly invasive into blood vessels. Read the label. Foods with less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving can be labeled “trans fat-free.”
  • Eat foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. These won’t affect bad cholesterol (LDL) but can help increase good cholesterol levels (HDL). You can also lower your blood pressure. Such foods are salmon, cod and mackerel, as well as walnuts, flaxseed and almonds.

Give up smoking.

  • Walk around the block when you crave a cigarette. Exercise can distract you, and breaking a sweat may lift your mood and boost self-control.
  • Tell everyone you are quitting and recruit their help. Others can help you be strong. You may even develop your own support group of like-minded people.
  • Eat more veggies. A high fiber diet not only helps lower cholesterol but can lessen your craving for cigarettes. Consume more milk and cheese. Milk and dairy fats make cigarettes taste bad, and you lose that smoking satisfaction quickly.

Do these weird things!

  • Sing. Singing lowers stress levels, improves mental alertness, improves blood circulation and increases heart rate variability – all of which decrease the risk of sudden death.
  • Catch some rays. Fifteen minutes of direct sunshine per day can increase Vitamin D levels, improve mood and boost nitric oxide levels – lowering your blood pressure and preventing sudden death.
  • Sleep well. Don’t use chemicals to force sleep and avoid noise (like TV) during sleep. Ask your spouse if you snore—if so, get a sleep study! These issues may triple your risk of sudden death.

Apply these strategies and see how well you feel! Wishing you all the best of health.

Sudden cardiac death seems to be more likely in those with unhealthy lifestyles, smokers and those with unmodified cardiac risks. The more of these issues you have, the greater the risk of an untoward event.