Posted by: Tom | 2008/06/19

Heart attacks during exercise

On Monday we read in the Beeld of someone who had a heart attack whilest exercising on the treadmill. 1. would u agree it is best to first go for full medical check-up and get a green light first? 2. Before the attack are there no warning signs? Like very high BP or too low BP or Dizziness? Being a dedicated 3 x a week execiser I read the story and got scared. Please help.

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Our expert says:
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HI Tom

Absolutely, yes, a check up is always a good idea. It's not a guarantee though, and unfortunately, these deaths do happen. The problem is, to answer your second question, that identifying them before they happen is very tricky. Last year, there was a series of sudden deaths in exercise, ranging from soccer players to elite marathon runners. I actually wrote an article summing up all the knowledge, which you can read here:

It includes information on knowing your risk, understanding symptoms and what you might do. If I can try to reassure you, your chances of heart attack are massively REDUCED because you exercise, so you should be confident. Unfortunately, when this happens and a person dies doing exercise, it is a very harsh reminder of our own "mortality", but you can take confidence from the fact that you are actually lowering your risk by training. Those people who die during exercise have some serious underlying problem that would, in reality, have been more serious had they not trained.


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