Low-Risk Lifestyle Linked to Lower SCD Risk Among Women

Not smoking, ideal BMI, exercise, Mediterranean diet lower women's risk of sudden cardiac death

WEDNESDAY, July 6 (HealthDay News) -- Conforming to a low-risk lifestyle is associated with a decreased risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) in women, according to a study published in the July 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Stephanie E. Chiuve, Sc.D., from the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues assessed the impact of adherence to a healthy lifestyle on lowering the risk of SCD in women. The lifestyle factors of 81,722 U.S. women, who were part of the Nurses' Health Study between 1984 and 2010, were assessed every two to four years. Not smoking, a body mass index of less than 25 kg/m², regular exercise for 30 minutes or more per day, and being in the top 40 percent of the alternate Mediterranean diet score were classified as low-risk lifestyle factors. Women were followed up for an average of 26 years.

The investigators identified 321 cases of SCD, with the average age of 72 years at the time of the SCD event. There was a significant and independent correlation between all four low-risk lifestyle factors and a lower risk of SCD. The multivariable relative risk of SCD was 0.54, 0.41, 0.33, and 0.08 for women with one, two, three, and four low-risk factors, respectively, compared to women with no low-risk factors. Eighty-one percent of SCD cases could be ascribed to smoking, inactivity, overweight, and poor diet. The population attributable risk among women without clinically diagnosed coronary heart disease was 79 percent.

"Adherence to an overall healthy lifestyle was associated with a lower risk of SCD and may be an effective strategy for the prevention of SCD," the authors write.

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Updated on June 06, 2022

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