This Silent Heart Arrythmia Affects the Young and Healthy
In light of the tragic death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, many fans have to wonder: what happened to this strapping, young player? Baseball fans and even those outside that world are grieving over this sudden loss.
More than that, a fan only has to pull up Twitter to see all the media responses from affected teams, players and fans who express their deepest sympathies to the Skaggs family.
The young pitcher died while sleeping in his hotel room just before his team’s big game against the Texas Rangers.
Right now, officials haven’t pinpointed the cause of Tyler’s death, according to ESPN. Officials don’t suspect suicide at this point in their investigation (1).
However, Americans can be reminded to take care of themselves and stay aware of possible conditions that could affect them even during the prime of life.
Facts You Should Know about Brugada Syndrome
One heart condition called Brugada syndrome can lead to this deadly consequence.
Only, rather than affecting older people who’ve made a few unhealthy choices in their lives, this syndrome takes its toll on a younger population.
In fact, Brugada syndrome often leads to sudden death around age 40, according to the National Institutes of Health (2).
The condition is known to affect a person’s heart rhythm and can cause fainting, irregular heartbeat and labored breathing, particularly during rest or sleep.
Brugada syndrome may affect as many as 5 in every 10,000 people across the globe, states the NIH.
It’s also thought to be a possible contributor to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (or SIDS). SIDS involves infants, usually under 1 year, dying suddenly during sleep.
In addition, studies have shown that men are 8 to 10 times more likely to suffer from Brugada syndrome than women. Asian populations are particularly at risk since experts have discovered this sudden pattern of dying at high rates in Japan and other Asian countries.
What to Watch Out For
Because Brugada syndrome doesn’t always show obvious symptoms or reveals itself during rest, many people don’t notice the condition until later—or not at all.
Warning signs that you might have Brugada syndrome:
- Difficulty breathing, especially during sleep
- Irregular heartbeat
- Symptoms that are exacerbated by fever
In addition to these warning signs, you should get help immediately if you suspect that a heart attack is occurring.
Symptoms of a heart attack include:
- Erratic heartbeat
- Chest pressure, tightness or squeezing
- Shortness of breath
- Cold sweat
- Feeling of heartburn or indigestion
- Sudden dizziness or lightheadedness
Those diagnosed with Brugada syndrome may need to take medication or implant a cardiac defibrillator to monitor their heart’s rhythm. Patients may also need regular doctor visits to make sure their condition is under control.
Why Do People Get Brugada Syndrome?
Doctors don’t know exactly what causes Brugada syndrome. However, researchers have seen a specific mutated gene in about 30% of cases, states the NIH. This suggests that it has genetic underpinnings.
In addition, medicine for depression, high blood pressure or mental illness could cause the syndrome. Some cases have also shown abnormally high levels of potassium or calcium, or abnormally low potassium levels.
Younger people should take note and understand their risks for conditions like Brugada syndrome.
This potentially life-threatening condition can be managed if it’s diagnosed. But a quick and accurate diagnosis requires people to voice their concerns about symptoms like dizziness or fainting early on.
- ESPN. (2019, July 1). Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, 27, dies in Texas. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/27099081/angels-pitcher-tyler-skaggs-27-dies-texas.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.). Brugada syndrome. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/brugada-syndrome#.