Because sudden cardiac arrest is so often linked with coronary artery disease, the same factors that put you at risk of coronary artery disease may also put you at risk of sudden cardiac arrest. These include:

  • A family history of coronary artery disease
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Drinking too much alcohol (more than one to two drinks a day)

Other factors that may increase your risk of sudden cardiac arrest include:

  • A previous episode of cardiac arrest or a family history of cardiac arrest
  • A previous heart attack
  • A personal or family history of other forms of heart disease, such as heart rhythm disorders, congenital heart defects, heart failure and cardiomyopathy
  • Age — the incidence of sudden cardiac arrest increases with age, especially after age 45 for men and age 55 for women
  • Being male — men are two to three times more likely to experience sudden cardiac arrest
  • Using illegal drugs, such as cocaine or amphetamines
  • Nutritional imbalance, such as low potassium or magnesium levels
Nov. 15, 2012