Does being fit mean being healthy? Here’s what to know

Unfortunately, heart attack, cardiac arrest and cardiovascular diseases have become quite common in the younger population, and a significant global concern. There is a misconception that a person who ‘looks’ healthy, is into sports or other such physical activities, may not be suffering from heart-related problems.

But, over the past few months, celebrities termed ‘healthy’ have succumbed to heart attacks and cardiac arrests, which begs the question, does being fit necessarily mean being healthy?

This Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month, Dr Aman Makhija, interventional cardiologist and electrophysiologist at Sir Gangaram Hospital tells that ‘heart attack’ and ‘sudden cardiac arrest’ are two terms that are often used interchangeably, even though both are different.

“An individual has a heart attack due to a blockage in the arteries, leading to sudden chest pain, sweating, palpitation, sinking sensation, and anxiety. If left untreated, this can lead to a sudden cardiac arrest. There are other causes of sudden cardiac arrest, too, such as arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat),” he says.

The rising cases of cardiovascular diseases

The primary reason, says the doctor, is the “unhealthy, inactive, sedentary lifestyle that most individuals find themselves stuck in these days”. Leading a sedentary lifestyle with risks of obesity and diabetes, makes one susceptible to having a heart attack, he says.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month, cardiac arrest, heart attack, heart health, cardiac arrest in youngsters, being physically fit, heart attack in youngsters, indian express news If heart attack is left untreated, it can lead to a sudden cardiac arrest. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

“The use of harmful substances like tobacco, alcohol, cigarettes is among the major contributors to the decline of heart health. The rise in blood sugar levels, hypertension, and other commonly detected diseases can ultimately lead to heart diseases.

“Fit people can be affected as well. Though family history is directly linked to cardiovascular health, but there are other cardiac issues such as irregular heartbeats, arrhythmia, coronary heart disease, and much more,” warns Dr Makhija.

Strengthening cardiovascular health

* Though people having a family history of cardiovascular diseases are at a higher risk, one can always control and prevent it by leading a heart-healthy lifestyle.
* It is recommended to have a 40-minute workout with moderate to vigorous level of activity, 3 to 4 times a week to help improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
* Unhealthy habits such as drinking, smoking, working long hours, and an untimely sleep pattern can also put your heart under stress. Avoiding such habits will help.
* Consuming a healthy balanced diet, avoiding junk and processed food with high levels of salts and sugars will contribute to a healthier heart.
* It is also essential to get regular body checkups that involve heart scans so that your doctor can advise you on eliminating any potential risks that may occur.

“While prevention is essential, patients who are already suffering from heart conditions need to be extra cautious. Patients should understand certain warning signs of a sudden cardiac arrest such as breathlessness, fatigue, headache, chest pain, and must seek medical help,” the doctor concludes.

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