Health Hub: Excessive exercise can have lethal consequences

Heart attacks among those below the age of 40 are not as uncommon as they once used to be. But doctors say that increasingly, they are even affecting those in their thirties and late twenties — and some of these are caused by unusual, excessive exercise.

“Over the last five years, I have seen around 40 patients below the age of 30, almost all men, who have had heart attacks triggered by strenuous physical activity. These patients are otherwise completely healthy,” says Y. Vijaya Chandra Reddy, senior consultant and interventional cardiologist, Apollo Hospitals.

When you indulge in sudden, unaccustomed activity – such as lifting heavy weights or running around too much in the gym, it has the potential to erode the lining of your heart, thereby leading to the formation of a clot, Dr. Reddy says.

“Another consequence of injudicious exercise is that it leads to an increase in the sheer stress of blood inside your arteries, which also can lead to the erosion,” he says.

A recent study conducted in the United States also found clear evidence of an increase in cardiovascular deaths in heart attack survivors who exercise in excess.

The key, doctors say, is to do the right kind of physical activity. “Endurance exercises such as walking are excellent for the body,” says Geetha Subramanian, emeritus professor of cardiology, Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University. Warm-up and cool-down sessions are essential, she says, adding that all exercise should be done within an individual’s capacity, to avoid straining the heart.

Cycling, swimming and simple jogging are also good, while weight-lifting and other forms of excessive exercise should be graded, supervised and done at the right time, preferably after a health check-up by your physician, doctors say.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 7:50:23 AM |

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