Medication for sudden cardiac arrest, heart problems and hypertension are commonly prescribed by doctors across the world. But what if you came to know that a drug commonly used to treat high blood pressure and chest pain could give you sudden cardiac arrest? That’s what research by the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam says about nifedipine and amlodipine or dihydropyridines, which have been commonly prescribed for high blood pressure and angina over many years. The study revealed that high-dose (60 mg/day) nifedipine was significantly associated with an increased risk of cardiac arrest with any dose of amlodipine. There was no risk associated with amlodipine. Sudden cardiac arrest refers to a condition in which the heart stops pumping after a cardiac arrhythmia (ventricular fibrillation/tachycardia). This could be lethal if not treated immediately.

According to Dr Anupam Goel, Principal Consultant, Max Super Specialty Hospital, Saket, New Delhi, sudden cardiac arrest can cause the other organs of the body to stop functioning as well as they don’t receive blood supply. In sudden cardiac arrest, the person affected can collapse and have no pulse or breathing. There is also loss of consciousness. Treatment in the form of Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as soon as possible can help a person recover from the condition. This should be followed by treatment with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

Some other common risk factors for cardiac arrest include:

Smoking: One of the topmost reasons for heart problems including sudden cardiac arrest is smoking or tobacco consumption. One of the most effective ways to protect your cardiovascular health is by giving up smoking. Also, ensure that you are not doing passive smoking or indulging in hookahs or electronic cigarettes since they come with their own set of health problems.

Sedentary lifestyle: A sedentary lifestyle can cause obesity which can lead to insulin resistance, high cholesterol and high blood pressure — all of which can cause cardiac arrest. Sitting for prolonged periods of time was recently found to be one of the major causes of diabetes, heart disease and mortality. Moderate exercise every week is shown to have a positive impact on heart health.

Unhealthy diet: A diet that’s high in fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar can cause weight gain and lead to problems like cardiac arrest. A diet that’s rich in nutrients including low-fat dairy, whole grain products, legumes, nuts, seeds, lean protein sources like chicken and fish, vegetables, greens and fruits will protect your heart.