Warning Signs and Risk Factors

image CardiacRiskStats 2000x733 - Warning Signs and Risk Factors

Sudden Cardiac Arrest often has no warning signs. But according to a study published by the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 72% of students who suffered from SCA were reported by their parents to have had at least one cardiovascular symptom before the event. They just didn’t recognize it as life threatening.

The first step in prevention is to determine any risk factors already present in your child’s life.  Don’t just assume you know answer to the question simply because your child never mentioned possible symptoms,  or family heart history was never mentioned. Sometimes kids don’t speak up because they don’t want to be different. Student athletes may worry they will lose playing time. Or, youth may be living with a chronic condition they simply don’t recognize as unusual.

  1. Download our Cardiac Risk Assessment Form (English version)(Spanish version)
  2. Talk with extended family members to get a complete heart history (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, mom, dad, siblings)
  3. Complete the form with your youth, explaining warning signs and asking them if they’ve experienced symptoms
  4. Take the form to your youth’s next checkup, or if the youth is experiencing symptoms, or your doctor is not aware of significant family heart history, make an appointment for a checkup

Because sudden cardiac arrest prevention is not a standard part of youth health care, it’s important for you and your youth to be your own heart health advocates. Watch this video to learn more.

SCA Prevention WarningSigns FemaleDocwithTeen - Warning Signs and Risk Factors

Warning Signs

  • Fainting (syncope) or seizure during or after physical activity
  • Fainting or seizure resulting from emotional excitement, distress or startle
  • Unexplained fainting or seizures
  • Chest pain or discomfort during or after exertion
  • Racing heartbeat, especially when the body is at rest
  • Unusual shortness of breath
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness during or after physical activity
  • Unusual fatigue or tiredness

Family Risk Factors

  • Family history of heart disease
  • Family history of unexpected death during physical activity or seizure
  • Unexplained death of a seemingly healthy family member under age 50
  • Unexplained near/drowning or car accident of family member