What to know about cardiac dysfunction

Leslie Jordan’s cause of death has been revealed as a “sudden cardiac dysfunction.” (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Leslie Jordan’s cause of death has been revealed as a “sudden cardiac dysfunction and arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease,” also known as atherosclerosis.

The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office confirmed the news on Thursday Yahoo Entertainment.

The “Call me Kat” actor, 67, died on Oct. 24 in a car crash in West Hollywood, Calif. Jordan had been on his way to work when he drove into a building following what appeared to be a medical emergency.

There was no evidence of alcohol or drugs in his system, and he was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

Following his death, Jordan’s current and former co-stars, including George Takei, Ellen DeGeneres and his “Will and Grace” castmates, took to social media and paid tribute to the iconic comedian.

The tributes mentioned someone who was “happy, always telling stories and generating laughs in his real life, just as he was online.”

Actress Mayim Bialik, who plays Kat on “Call Me Kat,” gave a statement from the cast when Jordan passed away.

“There aren’t words to convey the loss we are experiencing as a cast and as a ‘Call Me Kat’ family,” she said. “Leslie Jordan was larger than life. He was a Southern gentleman; tender, wise, naughty and hilarious. We got to know and love him at the height of his happiness and joy and it is inconceivable to imagine a world without our Leslie.”

So, what is a cardiac dysfunction and arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease? Read on for everything you need to know.

What is cardiac dysfunction and what causes it?

Sudden cardiac dysfunction is one of the leading causes of natural death today. This type of heart failure occurs most commonly in adults and is seen twice as much in males than females.

Similar to a cardiac arrest, this condition occurs when there is a malfunction in the electrical system of the heart. This causes the heart to beat dangerously and extremely fast, also known as ventricular fibrillation.

The first few minutes of cardiac dysfunction are critical as the blood flow to the brain gets cut down and the person loses consciousness — which can ultimately result in death.

In Canada, approximately 35,000 people experience this type of cardiac failure every year. As a patient’s survival rate doubles with immediate medical attention, it is important to call an ambulance as soon as possible.

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Sudden cardiac dysfunction is one of the leading causes of natural death today. (Photo via Getty Images)

What is arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease?

Atherosclerosis, or arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease, is the buildup of cholesterol, fats or other substances in your arteries. This buildup is often called plaque, which can cause arteries to narrow, block blood flow, and lead to a blood clot.

Depending on which arteries become blocked, atherosclerosis can cause several health problems including coronary artery disease, heart attack, aneurysms and heart failure.

Atherosclerosis usually starts early in life and many people develop plaque by middle age. However, mild plaque buildup typically does not affect blood flow.

People with atherosclerosis don’t usually show symptoms until the artery is blocked at least halfway. As the condition progresses, it may cause a heart attack or a stroke.

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If you or someone you know is experiencing any warning signs of cardiac dysfunction, call 911 immediately. (Photo via Getty Images)

What are the signs and symptoms of cardiac dysfunction and arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease?

In many cases, sudden cardiac dysfunction occurs without any signs or symptoms. However, sometimes drastic symptoms can be seen, such as dizziness, shortness of breath, weakness and rapid heartbeat — but this is rare.

Moreover, if someone suddenly collapses, becomes unresponsive to touch or sound, loses pulse or stops breathing, they might be experiencing a cardiac dysfunction.

Atherosclerosis often causes “no symptoms until it is advanced enough to block a large part of an important blood vessel.”

If the blockage occurs in a coronary artery, it will typically cause chest pain. If the blockage is in the legs, it can cause leg cramps during exercise or walking.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above warning signs, or suddenly becomes unresponsive, call 911 immediately — this is a medical emergency.

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Living a heart-healthy lifestyle can help prevent your risk of heart disease or dysfunction. (Photo via Getty Images)

What are the risks of cardiac dysfunction and arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease?

There are many factors that can lead to a greater risk of both cardiac dysfunction and arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease, such as people who smoke or have high blood pressure or cholesterol.

Additionally, people who are obese, have diabetes, live an inactive lifestyle or who have mental health conditions are more at risk.

If you have a family history of heart disease you also have a higher chance of developing heart complications.

How can I help prevent cardiac dysfunction and arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease?

In general, prevention for cardiac dysfunction and arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease are the same — do everything you can to promote optimal heart health.

For example, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, eating a healthy and balanced diet, managing stress and getting at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise is recommended.

Additionally, talk to your doctor or a healthcare professional about being screened for heart dysfunction and how to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.

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