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Risk of Heart Attack in Gym Goers

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Training for endurance events and regular, intense exercise might cause heart damage and rhythm problems. Read below to know more.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Muhammad Zohaib Siddiq

Published At April 22, 2024
Reviewed AtApril 22, 2024

What Is a Heart Attack?

To survive, the heart muscle needs oxygen. A heart attack occurs when the blood supply that oxygenates the heart muscle is drastically decreased or stopped. This happens when an accumulation of fat, cholesterol, and other materials, called plaque, causes the coronary arteries, which feed blood to the heart muscle, to shrink.

Atherosclerosis is the name for this sluggish process. An artery's plaque becomes surrounded by a blood clot when it breaks. This blood clot may obstruct the blood supply to the heart muscle via the artery. A portion of the body experiencing diminished or restricted blood flow (and consequently, oxygen) is called ischemia. Heart muscle oxygen delivery and blood flow reduction are called cardiac ischemia. A myocardial infarction (MI), commonly referred to as a heart attack, occurs when ischemia damages or kills a part of the heart muscle.

The primary signs of a heart attack include

  • Discomfort or Soreness in the Chest - Most heart attacks are characterized by left or central chest tightness that either subsides or resurfaces.

  • Over a Period - Pain, fullness, squeezing, or painful pressure are possible descriptions of the discomfort.

  • Feeling Faint, Dizzy, or Weak - It is also possible for people to get a chilly sweat.

  • Discomfort or Pain in the Back, Neck, or Jaw - Soreness in one or both shoulders or arms.

  • Breathlessness - Although shortness of breath might occur before chest discomfort, it frequently happens with it.

Brisk walkers, or even fervent runners, are extreme athletes who consistently live up to their reputation by challenging their bodies to the utmost. They routinely push past fatigue, dehydration, and agony that would keep many people off their feet or in the hospital. They run 50 miles or more frequently or repeat marathons quickly. Heart attacks are a major global health concern, and several factors, including age, gender, lifestyle, and access to healthcare, can affect how often they occur. Exercise-induced heart attacks are a rare but dangerous occurrence. But overall, heart health benefits from activity.

Exertion-induced myocardial infarctions (MI), commonly referred to as exercise-induced heart attacks, can happen during or soon after physically demanding activities like exercise. These happen due to decreased blood supply to the heart muscle, which can cause an artery to become clogged and cause damage or even death to the heart muscle cells. Although it is shallow in presumably healthy persons, the absolute risk of an exercise-related cardiovascular incident changes with the incidence of identified or latent heart illness in the research population. The incidence of exercise-related cardiovascular events is constrained by small sample numbers and wide confidence intervals due to the rarity of these events. Furthermore, the computed incidence can vary significantly even with tiny changes in the quantity of events.

Why Regular Gym Goers at Risk of Heart Attack?

Various circumstances cause heart attacks during exercise. The abrupt rise in blood pressure and heart rate during physically demanding activity is one of the leading causes. This may place undue stress on the heart, mainly if the person is not used to vigorous activity or suffers from an undiagnosed cardiac problem. Furthermore, prolonged physical activity combined with electrolyte imbalances and dehydration can increase the risk even more. Sweating away vital minerals such as potassium and salt can interfere with the electrical signals coming from the heart, causing irregular heartbeats and, in extreme situations, heart attacks.

What Is the Reason for a Heart Attack at a Young Age?

When performing strenuous physical exercise, people can take proactive measures to lower their risk of suffering a heart attack. Before starting any intense exercise program, it is essential to consult a doctor, especially for those with pre-existing heart conditions or risk factors. Be mindful of the body and avoid overdoing things. Workout length and intensity should be gradually increased as the fitness level rises.

Reasons for a heart attack at a young age are:

  • Poor Diet: Consumption of trans fat, junk food, red meat, and dairy products can put youngsters at high risk for heart attack.

  • Smoking and Substance Use: Consuming any form of tobacco, recreational drugs, smoking, or unhealthy lifestyles can put youngsters at high risk.

  • Risk of Diabetes: People with diabetes are more likely to develop heart disease.

  • Stressful Work: A toxic work environment can result in headaches, high blood pressure, anxiety, a weak immune system, and sleep disturbances.

  • Imbalanced BMI (body mass index): Obesity, improper lifestyle, and lack of exercise.

How to Prevent Heart Attack?

There are proactive steps people can take to reduce their chance of having a heart attack when engaging in demanding physical activity. It is imperative to see a physician before beginning any strenuous fitness program, particularly for individuals with pre-existing cardiac diseases or risk factors. The heart can be more ready for physical effort and abrupt spikes in heart rate by performing suitable warm-up and cool-down exercises. Before, during, and after exercising, ensure the person is adequately hydrated to help avoid electrolyte imbalances and support heart health. Take care of the body by not overdoing it. As fitness levels develop, the duration and intensity of workouts gradually increase.

Conclusion:

It is crucial to remember that most people have a meager chance of having a heart attack due to exercise, particularly when considering the overall health advantages of regular or well-balanced exercise. However, it is essential to know the signs and risk factors of heart attacks, to put heart health first by living a healthy lifestyle, and to get medical help when needed.

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Dr. Muhammad Zohaib Siddiq
Dr. Muhammad Zohaib Siddiq

Cardiology

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