Home » World Cup hero Andreas Brehme died of cardiac arrest – these are the warning signs

World Cup hero Andreas Brehme died of cardiac arrest – these are the warning signs

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World Cup hero Andreas Brehme died of cardiac arrest – these are the warning signs

Former soccer world champion Andreas Brehme died of cardiac arrest at the age of just 63. This is reported by the “Bild” newspaper, among others.

Causes of sudden cardiac death

But what causes sudden cardiac death? A number of illnesses can contribute to the heart muscle no longer pumping blood as it should. It twitches or flickers at a high frequency without any blood being transported through the body. Ventricular fibrillation occurs and leads to circulatory collapse within a few seconds: the heart stops beating and blood pressure drops to “zero”. And all without warning.

Every year, over 65,000 people in Germany die of sudden cardiac death. This makes it the most common cause of death outside of hospitals in this country. Those affected often have a long-standing disease of the coronary arteries, known as coronary heart disease.

An undetected myocarditis can also lead to sudden cardiac death. The cause of inflammation of the heart muscle is usually viruses, for example Sars-CoV-2, flu and cold pathogens or the Epstein-Barr virus. Bacteria and fungi are also on the list of culprits. Myocarditis can also be caused by medications such as immune checkpoint inhibitors in cancer treatment, toxic substances or a rheumatological disease.

People under 40 also die from sudden cardiac death

Heart disease is often dismissed as a disease of old age. But it’s not just old people who suffer from it and are at risk of sudden cardiac death. The German Heart Foundation is now pointing this out.

It’s rare, emphasizes its CEO Thomas Voigtländer, but it does happen – even among young sporty people under 40. Many of these deaths at a young age could be avoided if those affected and their families, for example in the case of a hereditary predisposition, knew about their risk of “second death” and received medical care.

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“Unfortunately, many of these affected families do not know that they should also be examined. This lack of knowledge can also have fatal consequences for relatives of those affected,” emphasizes Silke Kauferstein, head of the Center for Sudden Cardiac Death and Familial Arrhythmia Syndromes at the Institute for Forensic Medicine at the University Hospital Frankfurt am Main.

For this reason, the German Heart Foundation, the Center for Sudden Cardiac Death and Familial Arrhythmia Syndromes at the University Hospital Frankfurt and the Sports Medicine Saarbrücken/Saarland University have now started an educational campaign. It is entitled “Together against sudden cardiac death”. As part of this, the experts want to train doctors better. At the same time, we also reach the attention of those affected and possible risk groups.

Warning signs in young people

In around 40 percent of cases, those affected by sudden cardiac death are between the ages of 15 and 65, writes the Heart Foundation. Between the ages of one and 40, it is estimated that 1,000 to 2,000 deaths from sudden cardiac death occur in Germany every year high number of unreported cases.

Kauferstein and the Heart Foundation chairman Voigtländer are therefore calling for more information among the population – and also among doctors in private practice. “Sudden cardiac death in young, apparently healthy people often appears to be the first sign of the underlying heart disease because it can progress for a long time without any clear symptoms,” explains Kauferstein. “However, in our detailed investigations of sudden cardiac deaths, we certainly see warning signs that were often ignored.” Doctors and the public should therefore pay attention to the following warning signs:

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Short periods of loss of consciousness (syncope), especially with specific triggers such as stress, shrill alarm clocks, exercise, seizures without clearly pathological findings (e.g. epilepsy) on electroencephalography (EEG), sudden unexplained deaths at a young age in the family, also sudden unexpected death in the Water inexplicable car accident (even with known epilepsy) in the family Heart failure (heart failure) and/or need for a pacemaker before the age of 50

If you notice such symptoms or know of any family history, you should definitely report them to your doctor. “For example, if you faint on the way to the supermarket for no apparent reason, you should have your fainting episode checked out by a doctor,” emphasizes Kauferstein in the Heart Foundation podcast on this topic.

“Due to possible hereditary components that promote these life-threatening cardiac events, we need to sensitize potential risk groups – especially relatives who already have a young person in the family with a sudden cardiac death – to this issue,” says Kauferstein. Because this can also protect siblings or the parents themselves.

How to protect your heart

At the same time, it is important to reduce your general risk of heart disease. This increases with age. Although there is nothing you can do about it, certain risk factors can be significantly influenced. According to the German Heart Foundation, the following points are needed to promote heart health:

Stress reduction Get enough exercise, preferably endurance sports such as hiking, cycling, jogging and swimming etc. A balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables as well as whole grain products and little meat Avoid cigarettes Avoid alcohol Pay attention to blood pressure Avoid or reduce excess weight and abdominal fat Preventive cardiological examinations for early detection Have cardiovascular disease done

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The original for this article “World Cup hero Andreas Brehme dies of cardiac arrest – these are the warning signals” comes from BUNTE.de.

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