In one of my articles we talked about the reasons for sudden deaths, in this article, we will be expounding on those silent killers that can stay unnoticed in the body for years.
Unnoticed diseases happens when we neglect our bodies, we don’t take care of them, signs and symptoms are ignored, we don’t eat healthy foods, only junks and chemical laden foods, we don’t have proper rest and sleep, we abuse drugs and live unhealthy lifestyles which eventually result in killer diseases. In this article, we will be looking at medical conditions that cause sudden death.
When we live unhealthy lifestyles and eat unhealthy foods and don’t care to know what goes on in our bodies, and even when the body tries to tell us that something is wrong through pains and other discomforts.
It is ignored and its voice suppressed by both prescription and non-prescription drugs; then diseases starts to develop and gain ground because the symptoms are ignored.
There are some diseases that don’t even give signs at all till when it is too late. In this article, we will be looking at some silent killers; silent killers are diseases that cause sudden deaths. Even young people are being affected by this and this makes it a serious topic that calls for attention.
- Coronary heart disease: This is the number cause of sudden death, it is characterized by a major blockage of an artery or arteries and it decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart, disrupts the electrical system of the heart and cause unstable heart rhythm which causes a heart attack or acute myocardial infarction which can lead to sudden cardiac arrest and death.
- Cardiac arrest: This is the leading cause of death in young people, this cause abnormal and uncontrollable heart beat and leads to cardiac death. This is mainly caused by undetected heart disease and abnormalities of the heart muscles, inflammation of the heart muscles which is caused by viruses and other illnesses; it prevents the heart from pumping blood and delivering oxygen to the body. Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops beating and this is the leading cause of sudden death worldwide.
- Aortic catastrophe: This is a medical condition characterized by a ruptured aorta; this leads to weakened blood vessels and turbulent flow of blood. This is caused by smoking, hypertension and intake of chemicals in food and water like chlorine that scratch the walls of blood vessels and make cholesterol and other compounds to attach themselves to the walls of the blood vessels.
- Pulmonary embolism: This is a medical condition that is caused by blood clots in the lungs, these clots block blood flow and increase blood pressure in the lungs; it also makes the heart work so hard that it cannot keep up. This also leads to decrease supply of oxygen to the brain and other body parts, this will then make the person to collapse and die.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: This is a heart disorder that makes the heart muscle to thicken and lose its ability to pump blood; the affected person dies suddenly due to rapid heartbeat. This is the most common cause of sudden death in people younger than 30.
- Faulty heart wiring: This is a heart condition that affects the electrical system that controls and synchronizes the heartbeat.
- Brain aneurysm: This condition is characterized by abnormal bulges in the wall of brain blood vessels.
- Aortic dissection: This condition creates a hole in the wall of the major artery leaving the heart, it can even cause complete rupture of the aorta; it makes blood flow to where it is not supposed to go and this is very fatal. This is one of the five most common causes of sudden death and it occurs due to weakening of the aorta.
- Stroke: This is caused when a blood vessel ruptures in the brain, this cause damages to vital brain tissues leading to paralysis or sudden death because of the disruption of blood flow and oxygen to the affected side of the brain.
Many of these diseases give no warning sign but there are some signs that can be indications of heart problems like:
- Unexplained fainting,
- Chest pain and fluttering in the chest; and sometimes the chest pain can radiate to the arms, jaw and upper back,
- Skipped heartbeat and fast heartbeat,
- Shortness of breath;
- Dizziness or loss of consciousness,
- Heaviness in the chest
- Nausea or vomiting,
- Irregular heartbeat
- Blurred vision or loss of vision
- Sudden headache that gets worse
- Mental confusion
- Slurred and incoherent speech
- Numbness on one side of the face
- Sudden and severe tearing of the chest and back pain if there is a dissection
- If there is a rupture, there will be severe pain in the flank or abdomen
These are few symptoms that can indicate a heart or brain problem; this shows that no sign or symptom should be ignored especially if it occurs more than once or keeps occurring, many of these symptoms are seen in other diseases too, so when you see this go for heart examination (electrocardiogram and ultrasound) so that the doctor can rule out heart problems or begin early treatment if you have one. There are things. Health conditions or lifestyles that are risk factors for these diseases, some of them are:
- Genetics/hereditary or family history
- Defective nerve fibers of the heart
- Previous heart attack
- Alcohol consumption and substance abuse
- Infection by viruses or other pathogens
- Thyroid diseases
- Smoking, drug abuse and misuse
- Traumatic brain injury
- Electrolyte imbalance ( caused by malnutrition; taking fruits and vegetables regularly prevents this),
- Medications ( side effects of some drug)
- Sleep apnea
- Trauma to heart tissues
- Lack of exercise and living a sedentary lifestyle
- Injury to blood vessels from accidents or surgery
- Deep vein thrombosis (estrogen therapy can cause this which can lead to injury of blood vessels)
- Some cancers especially lung, pancreas and ovary cancers.
- Intracranial blood vessel aneurysm.
- Birth control pills.
Other causes of sudden deaths that are not related to the brain or heart are:
- Acute respiratory arrest: This is a sudden stop in breathing and if breathing is not restored in 5 minutes, the patient will die because the brain won’t get oxygen and this will lead to cardiac arrest and brain death. This can be caused by:
- Acute obstruction of the upper airways of the throat, epiglottis, pharynx and vocal chords with mucus, food, blood, vomitus, foreign bodies, tumors, inflammation or infection.
- Lower airway obstruction of the lower pharynx, bronchi and lungs due to allergic reaction, asthma, pneumonia, pulmonary edema or pulmonary hemorrhage.
- Depression of the natural drive to breathe due to tumor, drug overdose, infection, bleeding, electrolyte imbalance, hypoglycemia and low blood pressure.
Signs and symptoms of acute respiratory arrest are confusion, anxiety, agitation, fatigue, choking or struggling to breathe, sweating, wheezing and respiratory distress.
The rest are massive gastrointestinal hemorrhage, gastric ulcers, esophageal varices, acute hemorrhagic gastritis, vascular malformation, acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis, mycobacterial infection, multiple sclerosis, intestinal obstruction, neoplasms, perforated appendix, pelvic inflammatory disease, end stage renal disease, acute renal failure, rupture of ectopic pregnancy, eclampsia, glomerulonephritis, acute leukemia, bone marrow crisis, hemolytic anemia and many more.
Pay attention to your body, eat well, live healthy lifestyles and regularly go for checkup.