June 27, 2016

Life-Saving Knowledge: Warning Signs of Sudden Cardiac Death Among Adolescents

Shutterstock Soccer GirlsBy Jennifer Sellers

In at least one-third of sudden cardiac deaths among adolescents, there are warning signs:

  • Chest pains, at rest or during exertion
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness, especially during exertion
  • Fainting, seizure or convulsions during physical activity
  • Fainting or seizures during emotional excitement, emotional distress or being startled
  • Palpitations — awareness of the heart beating unusually (skipping, irregular or extra beats) during athletics or cool-down periods after athletic participation
  • Fatigue or tiring more quickly than peers
  • Being unable to keep up with friends due to shortness of breath (labored breathing)
  • History of a heart murmur
  • Family history of sudden death during physical activity or during a seizure
  • Family history of sudden, unexpected death before age 50
  • Family history of cardiac or aortic disease under 50 years of age

A child or teen experiencing any of these symptoms should be examined by a physician, who may then make a referral to a pediatric cardiologist. Any health concerns that arise during an athletic practice or sporting event should immediately be discussed with the school’s athletic trainer.

To find a Mission Health primary care provider near you, visit mission-health.org/primarycare.
This story originally appeared in Mission Health’s My Healthy Life magazine.


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