Health & Injuries

Walk Away to Race Another Day

by On Nov 28, 2012
Walk Away to Race Another Day

The Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore might be on your personal race calendar. If it is, you are probably in the midst of doing some final preparations by now. But keep in mind that though running is good for your health, there are limits that you should not cross. If you have experienced symptoms of hearts issues as of late, walk away to race another day. Read on as we take you through what you should look out for.

Walk Away to Race Another Day

Common Heart Issues

Congestive Heart Failure: This is where the heart is unable to pump sufficient blood to circulate around the whole body, due to the lack of force from a weak heart. Overwork or heart muscle damage can lead to this condition. Over time, the heart deteriorates and grows weaker. This is often caused by the two conditions below, i.e. Coronary Artery Disease and Hypertension.

Coronary Artery Disease: This involves the hardening of arteries, caused by the build-up of plaque (which includes calcium, fat, cholesterol, cellular waste and fibrin) on the coronary arteries’ wall. With the passageway being narrowed, it inhibits blood flow. Left untreated, a heart attack might result.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): As the name suggests, it is a condition where the heart needs to pump extra hard, causing a rise in the force of the blood travelling through the arteries. Blood pressure usually tends to rise with age.

Common Symptoms of Heart Issues

  • Shortness of breath: A symptom which patients suffering from heart failure or coronary artery disease frequently experience. One would face difficulty in breathing due to the inability of the heart to pump sufficient blood around the body, causing fluid build-up in the lungs.
  • Chest pain (Angina): This comes in the form of pain, pressure, squeezing, numbness or any other discomfort in the chest, neck or upper body area. The lasting of the symptom can range from less than a second to days or weeks, and the frequency varies too. This often occurs due to coronary artery disease.
  • Irregular heartbeats (Palpitations): Patients would experience rapid, irregular or “skips” in the heartbeat (where you would feel your heartbeat pausing followed by a specifically strong beat).
  • Fainting (Syncope): A sudden and temporary loss of consciousness; syncope can be caused by different heart conditions. Some of these include disturbance in the rate or rhythm of the heart, blockage of blood flow from the heart, or blood clot in arteries.
  • Dizziness: Also known as light-headedness, it can be due to low blood supply to the brain. Other possible causes are irregularity of heart function, rhythm or narrowing of valve. This can lead to fainting.

Walk Away to Race Another Day

Be Frank with Yourself

Those who are already on the side with higher risk of heart related diseases are recommended to avoid not only strenuous races like marathons or triathlons but also other vigorous exercise. In a worst-case scenario, the strain may lead to a heart attack or cardiac arrest resulting in death.

Know your body and the signals it’s sending you. Your heart matters because your life matters.

Dr. Dinesh Nair is a Senior Consultant Cardiologist at Mount Elizabeth Hospital and Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital. His subspecialty within Cardiology is in Interventional Cardiology where he actively practises newer, minimally invasive and complex treatment modalities. These include, complex angioplasty using the radial artery (wrist) approach, as opposed to the femoral (thigh) artery, allowing earlier mobility and discharge of the patient, and transcatheter aortic valve replacement, where the aortic valve is replaced without open heart surgery via an approach from the femoral (thigh) artery.

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