The sudden death of Kannada Superstar Puneeth Rajkumar at the age of 46, following a sudden cardiac arrest sent shockwaves across the country. The actor known for his amazing levels of fitness, inspiring fans and fellow actors by posting videos of his intense workouts on social media under the title ‘Power In You’ reportedly complained of severe chest pain, while doing exercise in his private gym, on the morning of October 29. Puneeth who was rushed immediately to hospital for emergency medical help was put on ventilator and despite best efforts by the doctors, he breathed his last.
In the recent times, Indian film industry witnessed sudden deaths of celebrities caused due to heart attacks or cardiac arrests. In June, film director and husband of actress Mandira Bedi died of massive heart attack, at 50. Big Boss 13 winner and actor Siddharth Shulka too died of cardiac arrest in September, aged 40 wondering what could have triggered such swift negative changes in the health of these men, otherwise known for their strict lifestyle, discipline and dedication to fitness.
Well, for general public the news of a young celebrity dying of a heart related ailment is a shocker but doctors warn that it needs to serve as an eye-opener for everyone. Dr Rajpal Singh, Director – Interventional Cardiology and Heart Failure, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta, says, “It is unfortunate to witness growing number of heart ailments among the youth. As doctors, we are regularly treating patients even in their 20s walking into emergency complaining of chest pain and other heart attack related symptoms. There is no definite reason on what could cause such intense changes in the functioning of heart but there are many ways to prevent it.”
The expert says that 80 per cent of cardiovascular issues are caused due to blockages, while the rest of 20% are contributed by various factors including uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure, high levels of cholesterol, genetic predisposition to heart ailments that runs in the families etc.
“While certain factors like lifestyle, healthy eating habits, managing chronic conditions can be handled, there are other issues like gender (men are more prone to heart attacks than women), genetics cannot be modified. We urge people 40 and above to get full body check-up done every two years, while those crossed 45 should do it annually,” he says.
Dr Rajpal Singh further cites uncontrolled levels of blood sugar, smoking, unhealthy eating habits with excessive intake of fatty foods as other reasons that can ruin heart health, at any time. The surgeon opines that the blame cannot be put alone on the intense workouts at the gym, as being reported in Puneet Rajkumar’s case. “Regular workouts and spending time in the gym may not contribute alone to cardiac arrests or massive heart attacks. However, if the person has started some new workout, which is extremely intense in nature, pursued it adamantly, without understanding the limitations of the body and denying it the time to warm up, it can certainly mount pressure on the functioning of heart. Doctors never advise anyone to stay only on protein based diet and ignore carbs, good fats. Go for a balanced diet to keep your heart healthy,” he says.
5 Things To Do For A Healthy Heart:
Control Blood Sugars:
India is the diabetic capital of world and uncontrolled levels of blood sugar is one of the primary reasons behind damaged blood vessels, nerves that regulate the functioning of heart. It puts extra pressure on the heart to work harder, triggering a heart attack, stroke or even a sudden cardiac arrest. If you are a diabetic and a patient of high blood pressure, your heart needs utmost care.
Keep Cholesterol Under Check:
Low-Density Lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol, often termed as bad cholesterol leads to build up of plaque in arteries which consists of cholesterol, fatty substances, calcium and other waste products. These blockages that get collected make the arteries narrow down and stiffen, restricting the blood flow to the heart, thus triggering a heart attack. Run regular blood tests to check the levels of bad cholesterol, eat healthy fats, exercise for a healthy heart function.
One of the main triggers behind coronary artery disease is smoking, as it leads to formation of plaque in blood vessels. The chemicals in the cigarettes narrow down the arteries, build plaque forming thick clots in veins and arteries, thus compromising the functioning of heart. Studies reveal that smokers are 2 to 4 more likely to get heart attacks or stroke than non-smokers.
Say No To Fad Diets:
A wholesome diet plays a pivotal role in the functioning of heart. Doctors in unison agree that fad diets do more harm than good and one needs to exercise caution while drawing up their diet chart. Ensure eating more vegetables, fruits, plant based protein, good carbs, good fats for the heart to function at its optimum level.
Stay Stress Free:
Stress is a cause of major concern and it can leave an unimaginably negative impact on one’s health. Intense levels of stress triggers high blood pressure which can result in heart attack or stroke. Stress can in fact contributes to cardiovascular disease just like smoking, poor diet and lifestyle. Practice yoga, pranayama, cultivate a hobby and spend time with loved ones and say no to stress.
What Should You Do In Case of A Heart Attack?
Heart attack presents with certain common symptoms including
- Chest pain, heaviness and discomfort
- Pain in the left arm
- Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck and in back
- Excessive sweating
- Severe fatigue and shortness of breath
Call for emergency medical help. Do not walk, run or get stressed. Ensure reaching hospital in minutes for immediate attention by the expert doctors.