Veteran Bollywood actor Sridevi, one of Indian cinema’s most acclaimed actors, died of a cardiac arrest in Dubai late on Saturday. She was 54. Sridevi was one of the most successful and celebrated actresses in the Indian movie industry. Her collaboration with Yash Chopra worked wonders. 

Anyone who knew the veteran actress would tell you that she was remarkably fit and her sudden demise came as a shock to many.

Now, the point to be noted is that even if a person does not have any history of a heart condition, he or she still could still get a cardiac arrest due to blockage in their arteries.

A sudden cardiac arrest is a condition in which, the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops resulting in decreased blood supply to the brain and other organs in the body. It is different from a heart attack, which occurs when blood flow to a portion of the heart is blocked. 

Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of sudden cardiac arrest. Some other conditions like hypertension, congestive heart failure, arrhythmia also increase the risk of cardiac arrest.

Non-cardiac factors leading to the Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) include accidental injury or trauma, pulmonary embolism, drowning, etc. The risk factors which increase the probability of the cardiac arrest are - smoking, lack of physical exercise, obesity, diabetes and family history.

Sudden cardiac arrest symptoms are immediate and drastic and include:

  • Sudden collapse
  • No pulse
  • No breathing
  • Loss of consciousness

Sometimes other signs and symptoms precede sudden cardiac arrest. These may include fatigue, fainting, blackouts, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, palpitations or vomiting. But sudden cardiac arrest often occurs with no warning.

Can sudden cardiac arrest be prevented?

If you have any of the risk factors listed above, it is essential to speak with your doctor about how to reduce your risk.

Keeping regular follow-up appointments with your doctor, making specific lifestyle changes, taking medications as prescribed and having interventional procedures or surgery (as recommended) are ways you can reduce your risk.