Sports-related Cardiac Arrest Among Older Adults is Quite Rare: Study

Older man playing basketball with granddaughtersAs we age, many of us become more health-conscious and may assume that the risk of experiencing sports-related cardiac arrest increases. While it’s true that this is an unfortunate danger for all athletes, with regular or irregular exercise regimens, it’s actually far less common than you might think among older adults.

From studies showing how to reduce your risk to understanding when risks increase for those over 50, let’s talk about why sports-related cardiac arrests are rarer in this population and what preventive measures should be taken if you still remain concerned.


The first thing to keep in mind is that exercise is one of the most heart-healthy habits, so the risk of cardiac arrest from sports does not outweigh the benefits.

To help understand the total risk, researchers analyzed sudden cardiac arrests that have occurred among people aged 65 and older in Portland, Oregon, and Ventura County, California. Data was collected from two studies, The Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study and the Ventura Prediction of Sudden Death in Multi-Ethnic Communities Study.

People who died from sudden cardiac arrest during sports or those who died within one hour of the activity were categorized as having a sports-related sudden cardiac arrest.

The findings showed that even though sports activity is steadily rising in older adults, sudden cardiac arrest triggered by physical activity is uncommon. It was also noted that people who have sudden cardiac arrest with exercise tend to have fewer comorbidities and cardiovascular risk factors than people who have sudden cardiac arrest not triggered by exercise.
The author of the study, Sumeet S. Chugh, MD, concluded the study by saying, “The annual incidence of sports-related sudden cardiac arrest among older adults is extremely rare.

This means older people who regularly participate in sports should continue. Those who develop new symptoms should consult their physician. Those who want to start should be encouraged to do so, but only after consulting their physician and obtaining an exercise prescription.”

Maintaining Heart Health

As we age, heart health is something that should be monitored. As this study goes to show, exercise is still a vital activity that should be performed daily to help promote cardiovascular health.


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Author Bio

Sarah began her interest in nutritional healing at an early age. After going through health problems and becoming frustrated with the conventional ways doctors wanted to treat her illness (which were not working), she took it upon herself to find alternative treatments. This led her to revolutionize her own diet to help her get healthier and tackle her health problems. She began treating her illness by living a more balanced lifestyle through healthy food choices, exercise and other alternative medicine such as meditation. This total positive lifestyle change led her to earn a diploma in Nutritional Therapy from Health Sciences Academy in London, England. Today, Sarah enjoys helping others by teaching healthy lifestyle changes through her personal consultations and with her regular contributions to the Doctors Health Press. Also, passionate about following her dreams in life, Sarah moved to France and lived in Paris for over 5 years where she earned a certification in beadwork and embroidery from Lesage (an atelier owned by Chanel). She then went on to be a familiar face sitting front row and reporting from Paris Fashion Week. Sarah continues to practice some of the cultural ways of life she learned while in Europe. They enjoy their food, and take the time to relax and enjoy many of life’s little moments. These are life lessons she is glad to have brought back home with her.