Following the death of noted city-based gynaecologist and laparoscopic surgeon Dr Rakesh Sinha after a sudden cardiac arrest on Monday, cardiologists are advising people aged above 30 and preparing for marathons to eat right and undergo periodic comprehensive health check-ups. “A lot of marathon runners start strenuous exercises a month before the event. Instead, they should do continuous exercise throughout the year,” said Dr Ajay Chaurasia, head of cardiology department at Nair Hospital.
According to him, full- and half-marathon runners should undergo a comprehensive test, including angiography, if they sense slight discomfort in the chest. “We do not know whether he (Sinha) felt uneasy before he went for jogging. A CT angiography shows all blockages in the heart, but it may miss a plaque sometimes,” said Chaurasia.
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In 2013, he recounted, KEM cardiologist Prasanna Nyayadish also suffered a cardiac arrest a few days after he started intense physical workout. Nyayadish died before medical aid could be given.
According to doctors, the age of people suffering from cardiac problems has reduced to 40 years on an average. In Nair Hospital, Chaurasia said a 24-year-old man came for angiography on Monday after suffering constant chest pains and suspecting a heart ailment.
According to cardiologist Dr B K Goyal, head of cardiac department at Bombay Hospital, about 20 per cent heart attack cases brought to him are of patients aged between 40 and 50. “I suggest those doing marathon running to undergo thallium stress test and coronary angiography to look for any insufficient blood supply to the heart or blockages,” he said. “Smoking and junk food are major causes of rising cases of heart attacks. At least those involved in intense physical activity should avoid it,” he added.
Over 40,000 people had participated in the 2016 Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, which is due in 18 days.
According to Dr Anil Sharma, cardiologist at Lilavati Hospital, every year about five marathon runners come with discomfort in the chest after they have run in the marathon. “Speed or marathon runners should slowly build up their capacity. With intense training, there is a surge in adrenaline that can rupture the plaque, causing blood clot and death.”
According to him, such deaths, as in the case of Dr Sinha, are rare. “Diabetic patients should be most cautious,” he said.
BKC’s Asian Heart Institute, which trains its cardiac patients for the half- and full-marathon, does a series of detailed tests to ensure the body is able to take the load of physical work. Patients who don’t respond well to stress are advised to take the dream run or half-marathon.