The surprise link between low calcium and heart attacks

New research could reveal a key warning sign of sudden cardiac arrest.

Sudden cardiac arrest, true to its name, can land without warning. In 90% of cases it will be fatal. Most women who die from it will have no history of heart disease.

Researchers are working extensively to understand what puts people most at risk. Now newly-released findings may have finally offered that vital clue.

A recent study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings reveals that low calcium levels in the blood could lead to a higher risk of sudden cardiac arrest.

If true, this could bode very well for those at risk, as calcium levels are extremely easy and relatively affordable to detect. If more research backs up these findings, it could serve as a new way to identify the early warning signs – and potentially save lives.

Dr Hirad Yarmohammadi, first author of the study, said that lower serum calcium levels, “even within the normal range of values”, could increase the risk.

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“Although our findings may not be ready for routine clinical use in patients at this time, they are a step towards the goal of improving patient care by better prediction of risk.”

More research will now be needed to find out whether improving calcium intake – i.e. taking more dairy, or supplements, or selected fish, nuts and vegetables – will actually reduce the risk of an unexpected heart attack.

Either way, this comes as an important reminder to all over-60s that calcium intake is more important than ever as we age.

Calcium is absolutely essential for maintaining bone mass, helping form hard crystals that give the bones strength and structure.

Maintaining a healthy calcium intake can drastically reduce the risk of osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and other joint issues, especially when combined with recommended weight bearing exercises.

Our calcium requirements grow significantly with age – especially for women over 50 post-menopause – with the recommended dairy intake increasing from 2.5 to four servings per day.

Are you concerned about the risk of cardiac arrest? Would this possible link to calcium – if shown to be true – make you change your diet?