Friday, April 19, 2024

Why Do Fit People Have Heart Attacks

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Wheeled Into The Emergency Room

Why do athletes have heart attacks?

I was able to comprehend and answer most of the questions that the doctors were asking me. I even remember giving my phone passcode to a colleague so they could call and inform my wife about my condition. My ECG was the first thing that was checked and that was when they found that I had suffered a heart attack.

I was wheeled into the operation theatre and an emergency surgery was done. The pain that had started from my left hand had now spread to all over my body and I felt as though I had been given an electric shock. The LAD artery, considered to be one amongst the three most important coronary arteries in the body, was completely blocked and the doctors mentioned post-surgery that what I had experienced was a major heart attack.

Young Adults Are Increasingly Diagnosed With Hypertension

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is one of the biggest risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, just like the trend in heart attacks, the incidence of hypertension is rising faster in young adults than in older adults. High blood pressure makes your heart muscles thicken, harms your blood vessels, and increases your risk of a heart attack.

While Most Heart Attacks Do Affect People With Usual Risk Factors Such As A Sedentary Lifestyle Diabetes And Obesity Experts Warn That Even Those Who Lead A Virtuous Life Can Suffer From One As Well

New Delhi: The untimely demise of Bollywood legendary actor Sridevi on Saturday night in Dubai following a sudden cardiac arrest has not only shocked the entire nation but also raised serious health concerns. The iconic actor, who was also a dancer all her life, was fit and healthy. She frequently posted pictures of her workouts. She exuded elegance in her appearances – her photos and videos of the function that were now being shared on social media as her last were the proof. Also, as per her friends accounts, the diva, who redefined grace and beauty in Hindi cinema, led a healthy lifestyle. Her brother-in-law Sanjay Kapoor also confirmed that the actress had no past history of heart problems.

Although we dont really know what the cause of her death was, the doctors in the UAE said she had suffered a cardiac arrest. Sridevi was in Dubai, along with husband Boney Kapoor and younger daughter Khushi, to attend the marriage function of Boney Kapoor’s nephew Mohit Marwah. The medical team had failed to revive her after the actor had collapsed in her hotel room in Dubai on Saturday evening. She was declared dead when she was taken to the hospital. Read: Actor Sridevi dies of cardiac arrest in Dubai here’s all you need to know about this fatal malady

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Stress Tests Have Limitations

To find out if youre at risk, you can have a stress test done, but there are limitations. A stress test only detects the condition of blood flow in the body on the day the test is conducted. Thats why youll hear stories of people who experienced a heart attack shortly after having a physical exam.

Whats important to understand is that a stress test does not reveal the presence of potentially fatal soft plaques that are growing in the coronary arteries. These plaques can rupture anytime and lead to a heart attack. The condition of blood flow can change in a short period of time, and therefore, passing a stress test does not mean that a person will not suffer from a heart attack in the days or weeks that follow.

Two Months Before The Heart Attack

Why do fit people have heart attacks? Maybe it

To think back, there were some symptoms. I started feeling dizzy after small physical movements, like for example when I would get out of my car and walk towards my office building. However, it would pass quickly and therefore I did not give it much thought. Looking back I remember feeling bloated on several occasions and when I look at old pictures, I am able to make that out.

I also started developing a lot of dark circles around the same time. Frequent headaches during the last three months were also a given. However, all this can also very well be attributed to being a new parent and could be a side effect of not getting enough rest and having to wake up at all odd hours.

For almost seven years I have been prone to acidity and that ensured that I ate healthy, and had most of my meals at home. I tried not to miss my meals or change the times of the meal too much to ensure that I stayed fine. I did consult a doctor and it was diagnosed to be GERD, a gastric related issue, wherein the stomach produces more acid than needed. With medications the symptoms would decrease but it was something that kept coming back.

Later, after my heart attack, doctors mentioned that I was perhaps confusing the angina pain to be acidity.

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Diabetes Is A Key Risk Factor For An Early Heart Attack

If you have diabetes, youre 2-4 times more likely to die from heart disease compared with adults who dont have diabetes. The problem develops when your blood sugar isnt controlled well enough to keep it within a healthy range. High blood sugar damages your blood vessels, which increases the chance of fats building up in your arteries and causing atherosclerosis.

Patients with diabetes are also more likely to have other chronic health diseases that significantly increase the risk of a heart attack, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Why Aeds Are So Important In Gyms

Although regular exercise helps strengthen the heart and lowers the risk of cardiovascular problems long-term, strenuous exertion doesincrease immediate risk for heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest. That’s especially true for people who are already at higher-than-normal risk, either because of lifestyle or genetic factors.

Young and healthy people are less likely to have heart problems while exercising, but it can still happen. In February, celebrity trainer Bob Harpera famously fit CrossFittersuffered a “widowmaker” heart attack and went into cardiac arrest at his gym.

Harper was also saved by bystanders who performed CPR and used the gym’s AED. “I will never ever walk into a gym again that doesn’t have CPR, people that know their CPR, and there’s an AED somewhere in that gym,” the trainer said this morning on Today.

According to the American Heart Association, more than 350,000 people suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year throughout the United States. And many of these events happen while people are working out: A 2013 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that136 of 849 public, indoor sudden cardiac arrests reported over a 12-year period in and around Seattle occurred at either traditional or non-traditional exercise facilities.

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Why Fitter People Survive Heart Attacks

Not only does research show fitter people are less likely to have heart attacks, but when they do, they tend to be less severe, says study author Mike Blaha, M.D., M.P.H. That increases the likelihood of surviving one, he says.

And even when exercisers suffer serious heart attacks, theyre more likely to live, Dr. Blaha says.

Related: 7 Ways to Never Have a Heart Attack

Heres why: Every time you work out, your body needs additional blood and oxygen. Consistent cardiovascular exercise builds extra new blood vessels to your heart to accommodate for thisa process called collateralization.

That means more blood supply to your heart. And if a blockage causes a heart attack in one vessel, blood can still continue to flow to your heart muscle via those additional vessels, says Dr. Blaha.

So the area of your heart that sustained the attack will be less likely to wither and incur long-term damage.

Can A Fit Healthy Person Who Exercises Regularly Suffer A Heart Attack

Young Muscular People Are Dying (NOT STEROIDS)

Question:Can a fit healthy person who exercises regularly suffer a heart attack?I am thinking of starting on an exercise regime or planning to take part in a race. Should I get my heart checked?

Many Singaporeans are realizing the importance of exercise and have embarked on various sports in an effort to improve their cardiovascular health. There is however a real risk of developing a heart attack during exercise in patients with undiagnosed heart disease.

Mr A is a fit 48-year-old father of two young children. He has only one risk factor of high cholesterol . He presented with a gradual onset of chest & abdominal discomfort associated with jaw discomfort and numbness of the left hand as he was playing badminton. He stopped immediately, contacted me and was advised to come to my clinic for an urgent clinical review. His ECG was unremarkable but blood tests revealed that he had suffered a heart attack.

An urgent minimally invasive trans-radial coronary angiogram was performed for him and it revealed a critical 95% narrowing in the Right Coronary Artery and a severe 80% narrowing in the Left Circumflex Artery .

Immediate Percutaneous Coronary Intervention of both arteries was performed for him successfully. This significantly reduced his risk of recurrent heart attacks, heart failure and irregular heart rhythms that may lead to sudden cardiac death. He was discharged in a stable condition and is recuperating well at home.

Read Also: How Long Can You Live With Diastolic Heart Failure

The Link Between Heart Health And Intense Exercise

Unlike weekend warriors, brisk walkers or even enthusiastic joggers, extreme athletes regularly live up to their name, pushing the limits of their physical capabilities. They run 50 miles or more or repeat marathons in rapid succession, regularly pushing past exhaustion, dehydration and pain that would sideline or hospitalize many people.

Extreme, long-term endurance exercise puts equally extreme demands on the cardiovascular system, says Dr. Singh.

A study done on marathon runners found that even after finishing extreme running events, athletes blood samples contain biomarkers associated with heart damage.

These damage indicators usually go away by themselves, but when the heart endures extreme physical stress over and over, the temporary damage may lead to remodeling of the heart or physical changes such as thicker heart walls and scarring of the heart.

Moreover, research found evidence that high intensity exercise can acutely increase the risk for sudden cardiac arrest or sudden cardiac death in individuals with underlying cardiac disease. This can also increase the risk of heart rhythm disorders, especially for the minority who have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or coronary heart disease.

Tragic Events Underscore Need To Understand Balance Between Fitness And Health

The recent death of a 55-year-old competitive mountain biker in the popular Leadville Trail 100 MTB in Colorado has garnered the attention once again of a media obsessed with pointing out the irony of highly trained and seemingly healthy endurance athletes who die suddenly while racing or training.

The cyclist died of an apparent heart attack in the last miles of the high-altitude 100-mile ultra mountain biking race it would have been his 19th time completing the event. While the story is truly sad and we send out condolences to friends and family, it also underscores a need for the entire athletic community to have a more serious discussion about the real cause of sudden deaths in athletes. The most common cause is a heart attack, and many of these tragedies are the result of athletes being willing to sacrifice their health sometimes unknowingly while following no-pain, no-gain programs in a futile attempt to gain more more fitness.

This story is not new. Our modern-day marathon is based upon the story of the ancient Greek runner Pheidippides, who died after running from Marathon to Athens, Greece, to deliver news of a military victory against the Persians in the Battle of Marathon. So in fact the marathon event itself is based upon the death of an athlete.

  • Cardiovascular disease does not occur in a healthy body.
  • Cardiovascular disease is preventable through a healthy lifestyle.
  • Cardiovascular disease is usually accompanied by abnormal signs and symptoms.

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What Can You Do To Prevent Or Reduce Your Risk Of Heart Disease And Heart Attack

A heart attack can occur at any age, but youre never too young to start a heart-healthy lifestyle. All strokes and heart attacks are potentially preventable. Heart attack prevention should begin early in life – such as assessing your risk factors, identifying and treating the root causes of cardiovascular disease. There is nothing one can do about family history, but other risk factors can be controlled. Reducing your risk starts with smart choices and commitment to leading a heart-healthy lifestyle. They include:

  • Eating a heart-healthy balanced diet consisting of plenty of fruit and vegetables, mainly focussing on fibre to help lower your risk of heart disease.
  • Avoiding junk and other processed foods that are loaded with unhealthy fats, salt and sugar, all of which can lead to obesity – one major factor behind heart disease.
  • Quitting smoking or avoiding binge drinking to reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Controlling your weight by staying physically active – an active lifestyle has been shown to be helpful in preventing a heart attack.
  • Getting regular health checkups to detect any possible underlying risk factors.
  • Managing your risk factors – high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, etc.

How Active Do You Need To Be Each Day

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A healthy amount of exercise and activity is:

  • At least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise three to five times a week
  • Getting five minutes of movement every hour
  • Walking 10,000 steps a day

Although Im a big fan of the 10,000-steps-a-day goal, your goal shouldnt necessarily be to do those steps all at one time, Blaha says. Its better to spread your activity out during the day and get steps in every hour to meet your goal.

Activity trackers can be especially helpful in motivating you to move more. Besides recording your movement to show you how much activity youre getting, modern activity trackers can boost your heart health by sending you alerts when youve been sitting too long.

Ideally, you should both exercise and have a high daily activity level, Blaha recommends. Research indicates that doing one or the other doesnt provide the same level of heart-protecting benefits as doing both, advises Blaha.

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What Is Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Sudden cardiac arrest sometimes strikes seemingly healthy people who have never had a moment’s worry about heart disease. Usually, though, some type of cardiac trouble is at its root. Cumulative damage from cholesterol-clogged arteries or high blood pressure is the most common cause.

Researchers at the University of Berlin carried out one of the most comprehensive studies on sudden cardiac arrest. Of the more than 400 cases they studied, someone saw or heard the victim collapse almost 70 percent of the time. That person tended to be a family member since nearly three-quarters of the SCAs happened at home.

Warning signs were also surprisingly common among people whose heart attacks were witnessed. These included:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness

Some people began to experience these hours before the SCA. In 90 percent of the cases, symptoms lasted for at least five minutes. Only 25 percent of the victims had true out-of-the-blue heart attacks that weren’t preceded by symptoms. The results are published in the journal Circulation.

Theres A Tendency To Ignore Obvious Heart Attack Risks And Symptoms

The heart-attack symptoms that alarm a 70-year-old dont stir someone whos 30even if they include classics like persistent nausea and serious sweating, or the beach-ball-in-the-chest feelingbecause hes sure a heart attack isnt happening to him.

Even doctors can be in age-related denial. According to Dr. Blankstein, they may be less likely to prescribe cholesterol-lowering statins or clot-preventing aspirin therapy to younger men. If your doctor isnt paying attention, you should be if your risk factors and labs show youre a candidate for heart trouble, make sure to talk about what changes you might need.

Risk factors you should be paying attention to that you can control: High blood pressure, high cholesterol, excess weight, diabetes, recreational drug use, smoking, physical inactivity, high levels of stress, heavy alcohol use, unhealthy diet. You can’t control your age, your family history, or your ethnic group , so if yours put you at high risk, you should pay extra attention to factors you can control.

Tyrone Morris got a break, even though it took him three days to call a clinic. Hes now on the heart-transplant list, wearing an implanted pump called HeartMate 3, because his own diseased organ is permanently compromised. He lost weight, started playing basketball again, and moved to a job he finds to be lower stressowning his own restaurant, BigCountrys BBQ in Milwaukee, which uses a sauce made without salt or sugar.

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Overweight And Obesity Are Key Players In Heart Attacks

Being overweight has a significant influence on your risk of having a heart attack for several reasons. For starters, carrying extra weight places a high demand on your heart. Obesity alone makes you more likely to have a heart attack even if youre otherwise healthy.

However, patients who are overweight and obese often have other health conditions that detract from their heart health, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

Eve Walker Had No Idea Just How Vulnerable To Heart Disease She Wasuntil She Looked Deeper In Her Family History

Healthy Dose: Study Looks at Why More People Are Surviving Heart Attacks

The editors at Health are a dedicated team of experienced health editors, writers, and other media professionals who strive to bring trustworthy and responsible health and medical content to their readers. As a team, we have decades of experience in health journalism and have worked at legacy publishers and some of the biggest news and media companies in the U.S.

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Back in 2001, when I was just 28, I thought of myself as being in good health. I was a size six and active, a modern dancer. I was working in a consulting firm and had two young sons. But one day I was so exhausted, I had trouble walking upstairs. I figured I just must not be in the best shapeI certainly wasn’t concerned enough to contact my doctor.

A couple of days later, I felt a tingling that started at my leg and moved up one side of my body. This time I knew something wasn’t right, and a neighbor took me to the hospital. It turned out that I was having a heart attack.

At the hospital, I was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart muscle enlarges and thickens, making it hard for the heart to pump blood properly. It may also cause arrhythmias, also known as abnormal heart rhythm, or even heart failure. It’s also usually inherited.

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