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Risk factors for sudden cardiac death in postmenopausal women

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By Jimmy Downs

Tuesday Dec 11, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new study in Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests that postmenopausal women are at higher risk for sudden cardiac death if they are older, African-American, using tobacco, having high pulse, higher waist-to-hip ratio, elevated white blood cell count, having history of heart failure, or myocardial infarction, or diabetes mellitus, having carotid artery disease or hypertension (high blood pressure).

Known risk factors for sudden cardiac death in the general population include family history of coronary heart disease, smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, (or simply say metabolic syndrome), sedentary lifestyle, and drinking too much alcohol.

The current study was based on data from 161,808 women enrolled n the Women's Health Initiative clinical trials and observational study.  The overall incidence rate of sudden cardiac death was 2.4 per 10,000 women/year.

In addition to the traditional risk factors for coronary artery disease, risk factors for sudden cardiac death in postmenopausal women mainly include higher pulse, higher waist to hip ratio (obesity), high white blood cell count, and heart failure.

One significant finding is that nearly one half of women who suffered sudden cardiac death had previously diagnosed coronary heart disease.

Many of the modifiable risk factors are related a person's diet and lifestyle.  What may increase risk of sudden cardiac death include eating too much dietary saturated fat, trans fat (partially hydrogenated vegetable oils),  COPD drugs, and energy drinks among other things, early studies suggested.

What may cut the risk of sudden cardiac death include statins, fish oil or omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA, Coenzyme Q10 , magnesium, and vitamin D, according to previous studies.

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