Tuesday January 21, 2020

Going in for long-distance running? Get your heart screened first

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New Delhi: Are you in your 40s and eager to run your first half-marathon or are even contemplating entering into the 42 km heart-pounding endurance challenge?

Running_womanWell, hold the adrenaline rush. First, take some key tests–especially related to heart–before you hit the road with your running shoes.

In the past five years or so, field experts, and middle-aged Indians have picked up on the growing popularity of long-distance running, thanks to celebrity runners like Milind Soman, and are joining half-marathons or full races over the weekends in surging numbers.

However, a proper health screening is a must before any professional run, cardiologists warn, to rule out any underlying condition that may have serious consequences for your life.

According to Dr Lekha Phatak, head (cardiology) at Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital in Mumbai, running is good for the heart but middle-age people must go for a thorough cardiac check up and begin the regimen slowly.

“Nowadays, we do not guide middle-age people to run or jog. Running is good for younger people and I personally do not advise middle-aged people for long-distance running,” she told IANS.

Anyone who has run a marathon can witness the wear and tear on his body – especially heart.

“If a runner indulges in ‘chronic exercising,’ he or she needs to be extra cautious as it may have several damaging effects on the heart like irregular heartbeat, stiff heart muscles and building up of scar tissues on the heart,” cautions Dr Sanjat Chiwane, cardiology consultant from Columbia Asia Hospital in Gurgaon.

It is important not to compromise on heart health while increasing endurance.

“Take a professional consultation before preparing yourself for strenuous running activities. Many studies have suggested that marathons put unusual stress on the heart so one should not participate in it frequently,” adds Dr Chiwane.

“Those with high blood pressure, we direct them not to run or take part in any marathon,” stresses Dr Pathak.

The best precaution is to let yourself know how much is your limit.

“Assuming that for 30 years of your life, you never exercised or led an active life and suddenly you decide to go for the run. It will certainly affect your body and muscles,” explains Dr TS Kler, executive director (cardiac sciences) at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre in New Delhi.

There have been several deaths, mostly of people who are in their 40s, during the long-distance run in the recent past.

In July this year, a 43-year-old man collapsed and died while running for a marathon in Borivali, Mumbai. Doctors blamed existing ailments that spiked due to exercising and sudden pressure on the organs.

In February this year, a young techie lost his life due to cardiac arrest while running the half-marathon in Bengaluru.

A senior executive in a bank suffered cardiac arrest while running the Mumbai marathon in January last year. After being in comatose for nine months, he died.

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In the US last year, two runners collapsed and died near the finish lines of half-marathons while a third runner collapsed and had to be resuscitated after completing the New York City half-marathon.

A study in the past has also found the link between sudden cardiac death and marathon running. Published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the researchers found that marathon runners may harbour underlying and potentially lethal cardiovascular disease.

Although the risk of sudden cardiac death associated with such intense physical activity was one in 50,000, proper health screening is required to ensure that you are not that ill-fated person.

“Pre-participation medical evaluations are recommended before any strenuous sports activity to identify cardiovascular disease that has the potential to cause sudden cardiac death, stroke, angina or heart failure,” elaborates Dr S S Sibia, director of the well-known Sibia Medical Centre in Ludhiana.

Before you decide to run, tests like “ECG, treadmill, echo and a complete blood profile are required,” advises Dr Subhash Chandra, chairman (cardiology) at BLK Heart Centre in New Delhi.

“Those with abnormal lipid profile, hypertension, smokers and diabetics should be considered as having increased health risk for marathons,” adds Dr Sibia.

However, what experts recommend for a normal and healthy middle-aged person is to jog or run three km a day on five days a week.

“Sixty minutes of running is more than enough for a day. Give yourself a rest for a day in a week to calm your muscles,” stresses Dr Chiwane.

If you have made up your mind for the long-duration run, pay heed to these precautions:

First, consult the doctor to find out if your body is eligible to run marathon or not. Prepare yourself not just physically but mentally as well. Maintain your nutritional stores to keep your body fit. Take a break or two during marathons to rest your body, the experts emphasise. Keep yourself well hydrated, do not go overboard in your enthusiasm and look at the bigger picture.

Last but not the least, hire a good trainer who can give you a head start after examining your health thoroughly.

(IANS)

Next Story

Diabetes is an Independent Risk Factor For Heart Failure: Study

According to health expert in India, if poorly controlled, diabetes leads to cardiomyopathy resulting in progressive deterioration of pumping capacity of heart

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Diabetes
The study shows that diabetes is an independent risk factor for the development of heart failure in the community dwelling population. Pixabay

Heart problems are a common development for people with diabetes and now researchers have found that diabetes is an independent risk factor for the development of heart failure in the community dwelling population.

According to health expert in India, if poorly controlled, diabetes leads to cardiomyopathy resulting in progressive deterioration of pumping capacity of heart.

“Diabetes is also a major risk factor for atherosclerosis and this eventually leads to blockage of coronary arteries. This leads to heart attack or myocardial infarction,” Satish Koul, HOD and Director Internal Medicine, Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Gurugram, told IANS. “Due to myocardial infarction, the heart muscle becomes weak and eventually heart fails as a pump leading to congestive heart failure,” Koul added.

According to the current study, published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researchers evaluated the long-term impact of diabetes on the development of heart failure, both with preserved ejection fraction – a measurement of the percentage of blood leaving the heart with each contraction – and reduced ejection fraction. They also looked at mortality in a community population, controlling for hypertension, coronary artery disease and diastolic function.

From an initial group of 2,042 residents of Olmsted County in US, 116 study participants with diabetes were matched 1:2 for age, hypertension, sex, coronary artery disease and diastolic dysfunction to 232 participants without diabetes.

Over the 10-year follow-up period, 21 per cent of participants with diabetes developed heart failure, independent of other causes.

Diabetes
Heart problems are a common development for people with diabetes and now researchers have found that diabetes is an independent risk factor for the development of heart failure in the community dwelling population. Pixabay

In comparison, only 12 per cent of patients without diabetes developed heart failure. Cardiac death, heart attack and stroke were not statistically different in the study between the two groups.

The study shows that diabetes is an independent risk factor for the development of heart failure in the community dwelling population. Furthermore, the outcome data support the concept of a diabetic cardiomyopathy.

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This research extends previous findings and demonstrates that even without a known cardiac structural abnormality and with a normal ejection fraction, diabetic patients are still at increased risk of developing heart failure as compared to their nondiabetic counterparts. (IANS)