I'm back in business, so to speak.
I can only apologise for the last couple of weeks; it has been a bad time for this blog but the momentum has continued and carried the unique visitors past the 4000 mark so congratulations to everyone who helped with that.
I wanted to get back to business as usual today and I have a few topics that have been on my mind for the past couple of weeks. One of which I would like to share with you today. The topic in question is SADS.
SADS stands for Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome and describes any death due to the heart not performing its job which was preceded by no obvious symptoms. Eight people die a week in England from SADS which is an amazingly large number.
Many of these deaths are from congenital heart diseases in young people; three in particular are: Long QT Syndrome, Brugada Syndrome and Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.
As usual with syndromes of which I have no knowledge I have had to do some research to find information to insert into this post. The science behind these syndromes is however very complex so I will try to sum them up in a short paragraph.
To be Arrhythmic means to be out of tune and this is the case with SADS; the heart is out of tune and beats irregularly. In all of the mentioned Syndromes adrenelin can cause the heart to beat faster and the electrical impulses that make the heart beat can become erratic. Many young people who die of SADS do so whilst exercising.
The main difference in each case are the abnormal genes that cause the erratic electrical impulses. This means that SADS is carried from birth.
The genes that cause SADS have been located and studied and are well known to medicine - even Brugada syndrome which was discovered only in 1992 is well known; 14 years is a long time in medicine.
What is the future for these genetic conditions? Each one of them can be treated to some degree. Implants can be added to the heart which can regulate the electronic impulses and also medicines are available which can dull the impact of these irregularities. What seems to be the problem is diagnosis.
I am hoping that with more support and encouragement, genetic disorders such as those that cause SADS will be noticed very early on in life and young children will not grow up to push themselves to be athletes if they are aware that they have the disease. Today very few people are aware that they have potential arrythmia.
There is not the money or the resources to diagnose every child at this present time, around 0.5% of the population have Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy - maybe in the future this will not be a problem. For now though how about testing all young athletes or aspiring footballers?
I am not an expert on SADS and some of the information above may be wrong, let me know if it is. If you want advice from somebody who does know a hell of a lot more than me then please visit SADS.org.uk