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Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Women: A Complex and Dangerous Condition

Pregnancy, Mental Health, and Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Women

Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Women: A Complex and Dangerous Condition

Suddenly, every year, around 350,000 individuals experience sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital setting. This condition is more common in women than men, with 40 percent of episodes involving women. Factors such as family history, risk factors, and congenital heart defects can contribute to the likelihood of experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. Nancy Dagefoerde, an advanced practice nurse at the OSF HealthCare Cardiovascular Institute, explains that this condition arises from an irregular heartbeat known as an arrhythmia.

Dagefoerde emphasizes the distinction between sudden cardiac arrest and a heart attack, clarifying that the latter occurs when there is a blockage in the coronary artery surrounding the heart. Despite lingering stigma around mental health, more individuals are seeking treatment when needed. For pregnant women contemplating the safety of medications like Zoloft or Prozac, Sarah Shoemaker, a certified nurse midwife at OSF HealthCare, advises discussing these concerns with a healthcare provider early on.

Shoemaker explains that some women spend years finding the right medication combination to maintain stability and health. In such cases, providers aim to minimize disruptions to established medication regimens by relying on a case-by-case evaluation of the benefits and risks. If adjustments are necessary, providers may introduce supplements as needed.

In conclusion, sudden cardiac arrest can occur in any adult but especially those aged 30 and above. Factors such as family history

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