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Death Syndrome - Essay Example

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Amid the pressing and widely discussed social problems generated by such notorious diseases as cancer, AIDS, new epidemics like SARS or avian influenza, many of less visible health problems that endanger lives of people may remain largely unnoticed by the public…
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Death Syndrome
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Download file to see previous pages Among such conditions is what is generally termed as the sudden death syndrome (SDS). This notion pertains to a bunch of different medical cases that may be associated with various causes. What is important, though, is that to SDS are susceptible young people who have previously manifested no visible disturbing symptoms that would suggest that such incidents might happen. In this regard, it is perhaps the most important task for the medical establishment to target the younger part of the general public in order to inform it about the risks associated with SDS. More specifically, drinking, as one of the most prevalent types of harmful behavior in young adults that may be linked with SDS, should be specifically addressed with the hope to decrease the teenage abuse of alcohol. Let us take a look at what forms SDS may take, and try to see why the investigation of the linkage between SDS and teenage drinking is important to researchers.
As we have mentioned, SDS is the term that may be used to cover a wide range of incidents of unexpected non-traumatic and non-violent deaths due to natural causes. In fact, cases of SDS affect people with such diverse illnesses as epilepsy (such epilepsy related deaths are termed Sudden Unexpected and Unexplained Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) (Lathers and Schraeder, 1990) and Fatty Liver Syndrome (FLS) of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic origin (Randall, 1980). As shown by research, even young athletes have something to fear, as some of them, mostly males according to statistics, fall victim of sudden deaths due to hard to detect heart diseases (Testa, 2006), and while different types of cardiovascular disease may be uncovered postmortem, any such death is quite disturbing. But perhaps the most perplexing, due to the apparent lack of underlying pathologies, type of heart-related sudden deaths is associated with Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome (SADS), which is a disorder of the hearts electrical system capable of killing seemingly healthy individuals without warning. SADS is also known as Long QT Syndrome. This syndrome interferes with the length of time between the onset of the Q wave and the end of the T wave in the electrical cycle of the heart called QT interval, which is needed for the recharge of the hearts electrical system after a heartbeat. People with a prolonged QT interval are more likely to develop an abnormally fast hearth rhythm called arrhythmia. When this happens, blood cannot flow from the heart, and the person can lose consciousness and may suddenly die as the result of the brain deprivation of blood. It is currently known that this dysfunction has its roots in an abnormality of protein structures of cells in the heart referred to as ion channels. These cells indeed serve as the channels that control the flow of such ions as sodium, calcium, and potassium. It is the pattern of the inflow and outflow of these ions that generates the hearts electrical activity. It is also known that dysfunctions of these channels may be acquired, for example due to the effect of some medicines, or inborn, when a mutation in one of the genes responsible for the formation of channels occurs. In this respect, it is unknown exactly which inherited defects lay ground for different types of arrhythmias. For instance, it is thought by some researches that cases of SUDEP also work by inducing ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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