Young, fit and active? You may still have a heart problem.


Over the years, we have grown accustomed to believe that cardiac problems (like heart attacks) are problems faced by the elderly population or by those who live an unhealthy lifestyle. And that all of us who eat right, work out regularly and live a healthy lifestyle and completely free of the dangers that a cardiac complication carries with it.

Leading a lifestyle that includes exercises and a healthy diet is always good for your heart as well as your overall health. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will keep any underlying cardiac problems at bay…

There is hardly anything that is more alarming than watching a fully-fit professional athlete suffer a cardiac arrest in the middle of a performance, while the whole world is watching. Earlier this year, Fabrice Muamba, a 23 year old professional footballer playing in the English Premier League collapsed on the pitch during a match due to a cardiac arrest and had to be taken off on a stretcher. Muamba was immediately rushed to a hospital and reports reveal that his heart did not respond to as many as 15 defibrillator shocks before it came to life again. It was. in effect, ‘dead’ for 78 minutes. Muamba’s is alive, his condition has improved significantly, however the cardiac arrest effectively ended his playing career much earlier than he would have wanted.

Just a few days after this incident, a 27 year old Indian footballer, D. Venkatesh, suffered a cardiac arrest during a football match this year. But, he was not as lucky as Fabrice Muamba; medical treatment was not enough to save his life. And just a month later, Peirmario Morosini, a 25 year old footballer, collapsed during a match and could not be saved. The cause, once again, identified to be a cardiac arrest.

Of course, events like these are not very common. But they are not rare cases either. Muamba, Venkatesh and Morosini are just three of the many professional sportsmen who have had the ill-fortune of suffering a cardiac arrest at such a young age. And these incidents raise an alarming question; Why and how do high-performance sportsmen and athletes suffer heart attacks?

What is important to know is that playing sports can unmask an underlying, undiagnosed condition. The causes of a cardiac arrest may vary from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – one of the most common genetic cardiac conditions where the heart muscle thickens, causing a stoppage of blood flow, to cardiac arrhythmia – where the rhythm of the heart is broken and a cardiac arrest occurs. A third reason may be a congenital abnormality in the structure of the coronary arteries; a condition an individual may be born with but may never have been diagnosed.

To say that a cardiac event can happen to anyone, including those who look to be at the peak of their health, is not too far from the facts. Remember, most of these events are due to hereditary or congenital conditions.

You may ask yourself: ‘Could the same happen to me as well?’ Well, first, being fit and active is always beneficial to anyone who wants to avoid a cardiac event, but at the same time, every individual, including professional athletes and sportsmen should taje the trouble to become acquainted with the real condition of their body.

This is probably why most doctors keep stressing on the importance of undergoing a medical evaluation on a regular basis, so you can have a good idea of which direction your health is taking you.

Asian Heart institute offers you a comprehensive health checkup through any of our four health checkup plans. To know more, you can visit http://www.asianheartinstitute.org/medical-services/executive-health-checkup.php or to book an appointment, you can call +91 99201 55000.

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