Understanding the causes
Sudden cardiac arrest can be triggered by various factors, including underlying heart diseases like coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, and congenital heart defects. The concerning aspect is that SCA may occur in individuals who exhibit no previous symptoms of heart disease. Asymptomatic cardiac arrests pose a significant challenge as they are challenging to predict and mitigate.
Prevention and safety measures
1. Regular Medical Checkups: Regular health checkups are essential, particularly for individuals over the age of 40 and those with a family history of heart disease. These examinations can help identify potential risk factors and underlying heart conditions. Tests should include ECG, ECHO, TMT, LIPID PROFILE AND FBS which are to be done yearly once.
2. Family Medical History: Understanding your family’s medical history is a valuable tool in assessing your own risk for heart disease. It allows your healthcare provider to create a more personalized prevention strategy.
3. Healthy Lifestyle Choices: Adopting a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the risk of cardiac events. Maintain a balanced diet, engage in regular physical activity, and achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
4. Recognize premonitory Symptoms of SCA: Being aware of the warning signs of SCA is critical. Symptoms may include sudden chest pain, shortness of breath, light headedness, and fainting. If you experience these symptoms during exercise, seek immediate medical attention.
5. CPR and AED Training: Learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) is essential. Prompt action by a bystander can be lifesaving when SCA occurs, as it helps maintain oxygen flow to vital organs until professional help arrives.
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It is advised to follow these when working out at gym:
• Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts.
• Listen to your body and take breaks when you need them.
• Avoid exercising in extreme heat or humidity.
• Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
• Yearly preventive Cardiac check-ups to be done especially if you are in high intensity exercise regimen
While gym deaths and asymptomatic cardiac arrests are rare, their impact can be devastating. To minimize the risks associated with exercise, individuals should prioritize their health, remain vigilant for symptoms, and be prepared to act in the event of an emergency. Through regular checkups, lifestyle choices, and adherence to safety guidelines, fitness enthusiasts can enjoy their workouts with reduced concerns about these rare but serious events.
(Author: Dr. PavanKumar P Rasalkar, Consultant Interventional Cardiology, Fortis Hospital, Nagarbhavi, Bengaluru)