Your Health: Knowing the risk for heart issues

Published: Apr. 17, 2023 at 5:21 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Each year, 356,000 Americans die suddenly, without warning, from cardiac arrhythmias.

And it’s not always the elderly or unhealthy, every hour a person under the age of 18 dies from an unexpected heart problem.

Tia and Logan Hansen make the most of every moment with their children Cove, Lydia and Skylar.

“I just feel grateful that I’ve lived a normal life and so grateful that my kids are just these crazy, fun, awesome kids,” Tia said.

Grateful they are healthy even though all three tested positive for Long QT Syndrome, a type of SADS, or Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome, a genetic disorder that Tia was diagnosed with when she was just 11.

“At first, it was, it was a really big deal,” Tia said. “It was very scary.”

Her aunt was the first to find out she had it, followed by her dad and two of her siblings. If someone in your family has SADS, their children have a 50% chance of also having it.

“Letting people know there’s something to check out as family history is number one,” said Alice Lara, with the SADS Foundation.

“The important thing is recognition and the warning signs that can cause trouble,” said Dr. Susan Etheridge.

The main symptoms include fainting, seizures, or shortness of breath during exercise, being startled by doorbells, alarm clocks or telephones.

Etheridge said to watch out for a history of unexpected, or unexplained sudden death in your family before the age of 40.

“They never put two and two together and know that that single car accident or that drowning was in fact a SADS condition,” Etheridge said.

SADS is treatable, usually with just a daily dose of beta blockers.

“I’ve lived my whole life being perfectly healthy, asymptomatic,” Tia said. “The other kids have been perfectly wild kids. You wouldn’t ever guess that they’re on beta blockers.”

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