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Sudden Cardiac Death Much More Likely to Strike Men
Date:11/15/2009

Males have triple the odds than women, study finds, and black men are especially prone

SUNDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Men, especially black men, are at a relatively high risk of sudden cardiac death over their lifetime compared to women, a new study finds.

That lifetime risk in men aged 40 and over is one in eight, or 12.3 percent -- triple that of women, whose risk is one in 24, or just over 4 percent, the study found.

"Compare this with the lifetime risk for lung cancer, which is one in 12 for men and one in 16 for colon cancer, and one in 17 for both in women," said Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, lead author of the study presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, in Orlando, Fla. "These are diseases we think heavily about the consequences and certainly screen people."

"Relatively high lifetime risk estimates for such a devastating disease hopefully have implications for people thinking about prevention efforts," added Lloyd-Jones, who is associate professor of medicine and preventive medicine at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University in Chicago.

"These are startling figures," said Dr. Elliott Antman, spokesman for the American Heart Association (AHA), and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Coronary Care Unit at Brigham and Women's Hospital, both in Boston.

Traditionally, estimates have focused on a person's risk of sudden cardiac death over the next 10 years. These new numbers are the first lifetime estimates for sudden cardiac death, Lloyd- Jones said.

According to the American Heart Association, some 300,000 cardiac arrests -- when the heart suddenly loses function, often without prior diagnosis of heart disease -- occur each year in the United States.

The study authors looked at sudden cardiac death data on nearly 5,000 U.S. adults involved in three major h
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