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Siddhaanth Surryavanshi dies of heart attack post gym session: What are young Indians doing wrong? Not walking and hitting treadmill first

A stress test is critical because it can prevent sudden fatalities arising from over-exercising, usually caused by abnormal heart beats, say experts

Television actor Siddhaanth Vir Surryavanshi passed away on Friday. (Source: Instagram/ @_siddhaanth_)

The death of television actor Siddhaanth Vir Surryavanshi, known for his roles in shows like ‘Kkusum’ and ‘Kasautii Zindagi Kay’, at the age of 46 was no different from that of his predecessors in the industry, the likes of comic artiste  Raju Srivastava and actor Siddharth Shukla. Like them, he collapsed at the gym during a workout in the morning hours, 11 am to be precise. So what is it that young Indians are doing wrong?

Understanding a sudden morning attack at the gym

Most of these episodes happen early in the morning. “Usually there is an early morning surge of blood pressure, which is part of our evolutionary biology. Blood clotting tendency, too, is higher at that time. If a person who has some underlying coronary risk factors, has not slept well, is dehydrated and steps up to do vigorous exercise, plaque instability can lead to rupture and trigger large clot formation,” explained cardiologist Prof K Srinath Reddy, Public Health Foundation of India.

“Normally chronic obstruction of 70 per cent or more in a coronary artery produces angina or chest pain on exertion, since available blood supply does not meet the increased oxygen demand of the exercising body and straining heart. However, a heart attack (acute myocardial infarction) can occur when soft plaques that form in the coronary arteries rupture and cause a large clot to form. This may come without any prior warning symptoms. Even plaques of 30 per cent can rupture and set up the formation of a large obstructive clot.” This is precisely the reason why young people are just as susceptible to episodes even when they appear to be fit.

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Dr Reddy clarified that exercise isn’t bad but “it is essential to detect and control the risk factors which build and rupture plaques in the coronary arteries. Care and caution are all the more needed in Indians who have an ethnic susceptibility to experiencing a heart attack at younger ages than other population groups, for several reasons.”

“People can suffer a heart attack due to valvular heart ailments, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and arrhythmia. We have witnessed that most of the heart attacks are recorded after gym while climbing up or on their walk back to home,” said Dr Vijay Surase, cardiologist at Jupiter Hospital. Some patients may not have a medical history of heart ailment but due to over-stressing without proper training, their heart beat shot up by nearly 300 as against the resting range of 60-100 beats per minute. “Without proper training, the beginners start deadlifting which causes dissection of the coronary arteries, an emergency condition that occurs when a tear forms in a blood vessel in the heart,” he added. Dr Surase also advised against taking steroids which weaken the heart as it fails to pump up adequate blood, raising the risk of heart failure and sudden cardiac death.

Before choosing any health regime, especially those that put additional strain on your body, like weightlifting, crunches, deadlifts and pull-ups, get a stress test done. Do not sign up arbitrarily, said Dr Zakia Khan, Senior Consultant-Interventional Cardiology, Fortis Hospital, Mumbai. “It is the biggest mistake to start running on the treadmill without brisk walking. The body doesn’t remain accustomed to the sudden physical stress which triggers a heart attack. Individuals with multiple risk factors like diabetes, high blood pressure and smoking, should consult with doctors before running on the treadmill,” she warned. She has listed the following advisory:

Don’t hit the gym before consulting a medical expert

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During a stress test, a health care provider will monitor the heartbeat of a person while they walk on a treadmill or pedal a stationary bike. This will immediately tell you how your heart functions and whether there is a chance of it developing any cardiovascular issues. Further, the stress test is critical because it can prevent sudden fatalities arising from over-exercising, usually caused by abnormal heart beats.

Always eat and drink water before your routines

Dehydration is the worst enemy during strenuous workouts. So drinking sufficient water during an exercise regime will help you maintain optimal performance, especially if you are working outdoors. No food means low blood sugar levels, leaving you feeling light-headed, nauseous or shaky. To prevent this, it is best to have a small meal (45 minute to an hour) before going to the gym. Refrain from having meals and going to the gym immediately.

Make sure you have slept well before exercising, take breaks

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Sleep is essential for your body to perform at optimum levels. If you have suffered minor injuries or aches during your exercise regime, a good night’s sleep will help you recover faster. Also, if you are suffering from insufficient sleep, 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise can enhance your sleep quality. Take adequate breaks between 30 minutes of exercise.

Follow the trainer’s informed opinion

If you are a beginner in a gym or just beginning a new exercise regime, it is always best to do it under the instruction of a specialised expert. In such a scenario, investing in a personal trainer to understand the routine and practise the correct form and technique is always recommended.

A deadlift can severely strain the vertebrae and lower back disc, mainly if you use the wrong form. It is equally important to keep your spine erect and not lean to the side, especially while doing a bicep curl. Also, there is a high possibility of dissection of the aorta (an emergency condition that occurs when a tear forms in a blood vessel in the heart) when a person lifts heavy weight without prior knowledge. Further, incorrect form and posture can also lead to hernia development. As high-intensity exercise increases the pressure within the abdominal cavity, it can cause a tear, which can be avoided through proper instruction from a specialised expert.

Breathe right while doing weights

It is a bad idea to hold your breath while performing any exercise. This might require some practice, but it is essential to inhale and exhale as deeply as possible when exercising. Don’t inhale by “gasping” air with a quick, forceful breath, as that will not enable sufficient oxygen to power the muscles in your body. Keep your breathing consistent throughout your regime.

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Besides the above points, remember never to overstrain your body and always pay close attention to any issues that might arise. If you feel uncomfortable, it is always best to reach out to a medical professional at the earliest opportunity, as a timely diagnosis can genuinely save your life. Also, don’t use unregulated gym products as they can affect your overall health and well-being.

(With inputs from health correspondents)

First published on: 11-11-2022 at 19:44 IST
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