Health expert says vigorous workouts pose heart risks without proper Health Assessment

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Globally, cardiovascular diseases have been responsible for the deaths of over 20 million individuals each year, which marks a concerning 20% increase compared to the past decade. However, a staggering 80% of heart diseases result from individuals neglecting preventive actions or pushing things to the extreme, whether it's intense physical training or the excessive intake of high-protein diets, cautioned medical experts of Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Centre. 

The experts who participated in a media interaction, organised in connection with World Heart Day, which falls on September 29 every year, urged that everyone, including healthy, younger individuals, should get regular health checkups to know their health risks related to factors such as blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. This knowledge is essential for them to make informed decisions about their lifestyle, diet, and exercise routines. 

Talking about the emerging risk factors, Dr. N. Ganesan, Senior Consultant & Head, Department of Cardiology, said that stress and various mental health challenges, coupled with a deficiency in social wellbeing, characterised by loneliness and unhappy relationships with family, friends and neighbours, are taking a heavy toll on the heart health in the modern times. “In the past, the primary emphasis was on ensuring sufficient physical activity, quitting smoking, and managing cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. However, what is equally important now is to explore methods for living a stress-free life; get sufficient sleep, and minimise exposure to air and noise pollution,” he said.

In his comments, Dr. S. Selvamani, Senior Consultant, Department of Cardiology, explained that emerging invasive imaging technologies like Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) play a crucial role in generating high-resolution intracoronary images, aiding in the precise identification of the underlying cause of coronary artery clots, whether it's due to rupture or erosion. This advancement helps prevent unnecessary stent placements. He noted that the effectiveness of newer cholesterol-lowering medications is proving significant. Such developments have the potential to substantially enhance the success rate of medical interventions.

In his comments, Dr. R. Sivakumar, Senior Consultant, Department of Cardiology, said, “Meenakshi Mission is renowned in India for our pioneering work in coronary angioplasty procedures. More recently, we have developed expertise also in structural interventions, including TAVR, a procedure designed to replace a narrowed aortic valve that doesn't open fully, and MitraClip, a non-invasive catheter-based approach to address complications involving the mitral valve, one of the four valves in the human heart. These procedures prove particularly valuable for elderly individuals with high surgical risks.

In their address, Dr. M. Sampathkumar, and Dr. P. Jeyapandian, senior consultants, Department of Cardiology, underscored the importance of regular medical checkups and gaining insight into individual health risks. “It’s concerning that only 30% of hypertensive patients receive a diagnosis, and among them, only 30% take appropriate measures, including medications and exercise, to manage the condition, which is crucial for heart health.” They cautioned against engaging in vigorous physical activities, whether it's gym workouts or participating in marathons, without knowing personal health risks. “Use of anabolic steroids, which are primarily employed to stimulate muscle growth, and excessive consumption of high-protein diets too can prove to be counterproductive”. 

Dr. R. M. Krishnan, Senior Consultant & Head, Department of Cardiothoracic Vascular Surgery, and Dr. S. Kumar, Senior Consultant & Head, Department of Cardiac Anaesthesiology, highlighted the successful implementation of comprehensive health checkups at Meenakshi Mission Hospital, which are valuable as they provide guidance on necessary precautions and lifestyle adjustments. Talking about the significance of incorporating protein-rich foods into one's diet, they observed, “There has been a shift in dietary recommendations. Previously, a heart-healthy diet was supposed to consist of 60% carbohydrates, 25% protein, and 15% fat. However, the current recommendations suggest a composition of 35% carbohydrates, 50% protein, and 15% fat for optimal heart health.”

Dr. Kannan, Medical Administrator, and Dr. M. Rajan, Senior Cardiac Surgeon were also present at the media interaction. In commemoration of World Heart Day, the entire hospital premise has been illuminated with a vibrant glow of red, the colour associated with heart health awareness. Meenakshi Mission hospital has also been offering a range of specialised screening and diagnostic tests, as well as consulting services throughout the month. A dedicated team of medical experts from the hospital is visiting colleges across the city, and addressing students to raise awareness among them about the importance of maintaining heart health.


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