Healthy Lifestyle May Ward Off Sudden Cardiac Death in Women

Exercise, staying slim and eating right were associated with a 92 percent decrease in risk

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TUESDAY, July 5 (HealthDay News) -- Healthy living significantly reduces a woman's risk of sudden cardiac death, a new study says.

Researchers analyzed data from about 82,000 women who participated in the Nurses' Health Study from 1984 to 2010. During those 26 years, there were 321 cases of sudden cardiac death among the women. The average age of women who died was 72.

Four low-risk lifestyle factors were significantly and independently associated with a lower risk of sudden cardiac death: not smoking; having a body mass index lower than 25; exercising at least 30 minutes per day; and consuming a Mediterranean-style diet that included plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains and fish, with moderate alcohol intake.

Women who adhered to all four low-risk lifestyle factors had a 92 percent lower risk of SCD than those who didn't have any of the low-risk factors, said Stephanie Chiuve, of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues.

Their study appears in the July 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Each year in the United States, there are 250,000 to 310,000 cases of sudden cardiac death, which accounts for more than half of all cardiac deaths, according to the researchers.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about sudden cardiac arrest/death.

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