Go Red: Killer Arrhythmias - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Go Red: Killer Arrhythmias

Cleveland-area women Go Red for heart health (Source: WOIO) Cleveland-area women Go Red for heart health (Source: WOIO)

While Valentine’s day is the big day in February the entire month is about hearts.

It's National Heart Awareness Month and there's always new things to learn when it comes to keeping the ticker healthy.

New information is coming out all the time on how to protect your heart, on risk factors, on symptoms, on procedures and then some. Teaming up with University Hospitals Cleveland 19 is kicking off our Go Red campaign with a big one: arrhythmias that lead to sudden cardiac death.  

Cardiologist Dr. Dina Sparano is a busy woman dealing with different heart issues everyday with her patients. She says she's seeing a lot more women these days who are post menopausal who suffer one of the most deadly heart conditions.

It's called ventricular arrhythmia. "What that means is the potentially life threatening abnormal heart rhythm coming from the bottom chamber of the heart," said Dr. Sparano.

And, she adds it's something too many just never see coming which is why it kills 300-350,000 people in the U.S. each year.

Those who survive it are usually fortunate enough to have someone nearby who can perform CPR or use a portable defibrillator immediately. 

In that case, the next stop is the cardiac unit where it's all about a second chance.

"Once they become a survivor we run a battery of tests to try to get to the underlying cause things like the arteries around the heart to look for blockages, we look at the strength of heart function to see if it's been weakened," Dr. Sparano explains.

But, she says what's especially alarming is sometimes the cause is idiopathic, in other words remains a mystery.

What's not a mystery though is while no one can stop it from happening again they can help protect the patient if it does by implanting a defibrillator. 

She says, "that would be like having a paramedic with you all the time It does protect the patient from sudden death by delivering a life saving

Also  a possible lifesaver, the doctor stresses, is knowing the symptoms and risk factors of this type of arrhythmia.

Symptoms that stand out include: dizziness, black out spells, chest pain, shortness of breath and palpitations. 

Topping risk factors; smoking, history of heart disease, diabetes high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and kidney disease. 

As you'd imagine you can decrease the risk factors by basic healthy living including exercise, eating a Mediterranean style diet, and here's
a good one, enjoying a little red wine.

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