Men at 40 Face 1-in-8 Chance of Cardiac Death

Most causes preventable, many cases have warning signs
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2009 6:58 AM CST
A man clutches at his heart.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – A 40-year-old American male has a one-in-eight chance of sudden cardiac death in his lifetime, according to a new study that's stunned even cardiologists, one of whom calls it "fairly astonishing data." The study shows women's odds much lower at one in 24, and black men's risk even higher than white men's, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Sudden cardiac death—death within an hour of the onset of symptoms—strikes young as well as old, often without apparent warning. But experts say many cases of sudden cardiac death can be prevented—through healthy eating, exercise, and quitting smoking. And about half of cases have signs that could be read as warnings: dizziness, fainting or the unexplained drowning or car accident death of a family member.