Sudden Death: Talkin’ About My Generation

Aug 19, 2009 | Stacy Matson | Celebrity Health
Sudden Death: Talkin’ About My Generation

image by: Pixabay

Sudden Cardiac Arrest and Heart attack are not the same. Learn the difference! John Hughes’unexpected death helps focus attention on this devastating disease. Sadly, two-thirds of SCA events occur in people without any previous indications of heart disease

The film industry has lost another legend. Last week Sudden Cardiac Arrest appears to have claimed the life of writer/director John Hughes. He died at the age of 59 during a morning walk in Manhattan where he was visiting family. Hughes wrote and directed most of the iconic teen films of the 1980’s such as Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink, basically any movie worth watching at the time.

Film critic Roger Ebert once called Hughes "the philosopher of adolescence".  Hughes understood and wrote about young people in a way that few filmmakers have been able to mimic. He respected his young audience and wrote for them, not for them.  He tapped into the mind-set of teens through his dialogue, cynical observations, awkward character depictions, and even the music he used in his films.  Hughes put into words and portrayed on film the life experiences of so many American teens. Appearing in a Hughes film often turned unknown actors into poster children for teenage torment and anxieties. John Hughes is responsible for the careers of "Brat Pack" members Molly Ringwald, Rob Lowe, Matthew Broderick, Jon Cryer, and Emilio Estevez.

It is a widespread misconception that 'sudden cardiac arrest' is synonymous with a heart attack. In order to educate the public, the American Heart Association and the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Coalition (SCAC) are quick to point out the difference. A heart attack or myocardial infarction occurs when the arterial supply or coronary arteries are compromised or blocked, thus cutting off the blood supply to the heart. And if allowed to continue will eventually lead to infarction or injury to the heart muscles. "The term "massive heart attack" is often wrongly used in the media to describe sudden death". The SCAC has a beautiful analogy to explain to the general public:  "If you think of your heart as a house – SCA would be a problem with the electricity; a heart attack would be a problem with the plumbing".

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of mortality world-wide and the majority of CVD deaths are attributable to SCA which claims more than 250,000 lives in the U.S. each year. Most sudden cardiac arrest victims lack any of the classic warning signs, such as chest pains, shortness of breath or nausea, which typically requires immediate medical attention. Two-thirds of SCA events occur in people without any previous indications of heart disease.

One person dies of SCA-related events every two minutes. This is equivalent to more than 650 deaths each day. Each year, more people die from SCA than from breast cancer, lung cancer, stroke, or AIDS combined. SCA mortality is high. 95% of SCA cases are fatal.

And unbelievably, there are more than 200 known risk factors for heart disease, and according to the American Heart Association; the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease include smoking, a family history of heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, and diabetes.  To help you understand this issue check out Sudden Cardiac Arrest - Is There Hope?


Stacy Matson is a health enthusiast from Southern California and regularly blogs on Celebrity Health for A Healthier World, as well as contributing to the Best of the Best.


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