A man with an undisclosed personality has slumped and died behind the wheels in his car along the CMD Road, Magodo, in Lagos on Friday.
The Director General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, disclosed the death at the scene of the incident in Lagos.
Oke-Osanyintolu said that the agency’s paramedic team had responded to a distress call and upon arrival, met a lone driver slumped at the wheel.
He said that when the patient’s vital signs were checked, pulse was absent, pupils were fixed and dilated, the patient was dead already.
Oke-Osanyintolu said that the relatives of the victim, who were already present at the scene of incident, agreed to transport him to the nearest morgue.
He, however, said that the agency’s paramedics and the Nigeria Police were present at the scene while the vehicle had been moved from the thoroughfare.
Researchers at the online scientific journal, ResearchGate, say cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cerebrovascular disease are the most common causes of sudden natural death while driving.
Physicians at Medical West Hospital in Alabama, USA, warn that many times, what seems to be a relatively young and healthy person can just “drop dead.”
“Known as sudden cardiac death (SCD), it is a sudden, unexpected death caused when the heart stops functioning.
“The demographics of the most frequent cases of SCD are in adults aging from their mid-30s to mid-40s, with men twice as likely as women to be affected. Children are rarely affected, at a rate of 0.0015 percent,” the hospital said.
“An SCD is not a heart attack, which can sound confusing. With heart attacks, there is a blockage of blood flow to the heart. The lack of blood causes damage to the heart muscle, resulting in the heart attack.
“With an SCD, the electrical system that powers the heart stops operating properly, and the heart begins to beat extremely quickly. Because of how fast the heart is beating, it’s not getting blood out to the body — often times resulting in unconsciousness because blood isn’t getting to the brain. And if it’s not treated very quickly, the victim will pass away,” the hospital added.
When it comes to risk factors, some are universal, and others are age specific, experts say; noting that there are way too many stories of younger people suffering SCD while engaged in athletic activities.
“You may have heard of ‘enlarged hearts’ — the fancy phrase hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, where the heart muscle grows abnormally thick, making it more difficult for the heart to pump blood. It is the most common cause of SCD in athletes and often goes undetected,” experts say.
Speaking further about the risk factors, the hospital noted that other younger people’s risk factors include heart arteries that have grown abnormally that create difficulties.
Also, heart rhythm disorders can lead to rapid heartbeat patterns, causing fainting and possibly SCD.
But in general, the risk factors for SCD are:
• A previous heart attack (especially within the six months after a heart attack)
• Coronary artery disease (brought along by smoking, family history, high cholesterol, etc)
• History of fainting
• Family history of SCD
• Recreational drug use
• Heart failure (extremely weak pumping from heart).
According to physicians at the US-based Cleveland Clinic, sudden cardiac death (SCD) is a sudden, unexpected death caused by loss of heart function (sudden cardiac arrest).
Sudden cardiac death is responsible for half of all heart disease deaths, the clinic said.
It also stated that sudden cardiac death occurs most frequently in adults in their mid-30s to mid-40s, and affects men twice as often as it does women. This condition is rare in children, it added
Experts say the association of driving and cardiovascular disease has been investigated for many years.
“In Japan, Motozawa et al have reported that among the autopsies results of Transportation Bureau of National Police Agency (Japan), the main cause of death is ischemic heart disease.
“In European countries, meta-analysis has shown that CVD patients have 23 percent higher risk of accident involvement than drivers without CVD,” ResearchGate noted.
(NAN and other scientific sources).