Health & Nutrition

The Cause of Death of Healthy Young People

Why did healthy young people including accomplished athletes suddenly collapse dead? Scientists found a gene that is responsible for these sudden heart failures.

Periodicaly you’ll hear the heartbreaking news of a young healthy soldier that collapsed and died in the middle of a training exercise, a young athlete dying in the middle of an exercise class or a top athlete suddenly collapsing dead in front of thousands of viewers.

What causes all these tragedies? Researchers believe they found the gene responsible for these sudden deaths of young strong healthy and athletic people. The gene is called CDH2 and this gene can cause the making of faulty heart proteins. Heart muscle cells are held together by proteins somewhat like a glue. In people with ARVC, these proteins develop wrong and can’t keep the heart muscle cells ‘glued’ together. The muscle cells become detached and fatty deposits build up in an attempt to repair the damage. The heart can become scarred and the muscle weak. This condition can cause arrhythmia, and sudden death from exertion.

It took a 15 year effort to isolate the faulty gene with DNA scanning. The research was conducted with teams in Cape Town University in South Africa, the University of Padua in Italy and McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

“It is important that people who had someone young in their family that died from heart failure be informed that there is a genetic factor for this phenomenon” say the researchers.  Identifying the gene can help the people who have ARVC who are at risk of sudden heart failure to know they’re at risk even if there are no symptoms present. Anyone from such a family as we mentioned should take a genetic test to determine if he has this gene. If he discovers he has this gene there are medical and dietary procedures to promote heart health and prevent a sudden heart attack.


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