BWH Logo A recent report linked sudden cardiac arrest to genetic variation. More recently, a team of scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) has disclosed that women who conform to a healthy way of life apparently faced a lower risk of sudden cardiac arrest.

The investigators examined 81,722 enrolled female nurses from the Nurses’ Health Study, who were in the age-group of 38 to 63 years at the onset of the study from 1984 to 2010. Participants were asked to fill a questionnaire that was mailed to them. It covered questions involving medical past, cardiovascular and lifestyle risk variables every 2 years. Data on dietary preferences and habits were examined every 4 years.

As per the study, a healthy lifestyle is one which means no smoking, 30-minute workout on a daily basis, reasonable body mass and a Mediterranean style diet. The latter constitutes high intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains, fish and moderate consumption of alcohol. The analysis recorded 321 sudden cardiac death instances.

“Sudden cardiac death is an important public health challenge because the majority of SCD events occur in seemingly healthy people, and is the first indication of heart disease. Our findings show that following a healthy lifestyle, which is associated with an 80 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease, 90 percent lower risk of diabetes, and a 50 percent lower risk for stroke in women, may play an important role in the prevention of sudden cardiac death as well,” explained Stephanie Chiuve, an instructor in medicine in the Division of Preventive Medicine at BWH.

It was revealed that women who managed to adhere to all 4 healthy lifestyle habits seemingly faced 92% lower risk as compared to women with no such activities. Furthermore, scientists noted that 81% of deaths due to the aforesaid disease could have been avoided, had these women followed an energetic way of life. 79% of women who didn’t smoke might have restrained their arrest, had they conformed to the other 3 variables.

The study is published in the July 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.