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The heart needs TLC

April 22nd, 2015

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The heart needs TLC

Now let me talk about playing sports and the pros and cons it has for the heart.

If you have never exercised or hate to exercise or hate feeling sweaty and feel determined to stay that way for life, please do not waste your time on this story! Just skip it! Wait, maybe skipping is too energy-consuming, too?

I want all my patients to have a strong and healthy body and most importantly a strong heart. I would invest a lot of time to convince, explain, force, push (this one would be rather difficult for obese patients) or perhaps threaten my patients to exercise. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Most of my patients say “I don’t have time!” (What, they’re only given 24 minutes a day instead of 24 hours?).

“I burn calories while working! I have to walk a lot already!” (That kind of walking almost doesn’t count. You have to walk for 20-30 minutes without pausing for it to be classed as an exercise).

“I’m drowning in my work already!” (I’ve seen people who work 10-12 hours a day and still have time to exercise regularly).

“By the time I get home it’s already late.” (How about morning exercise?).

And the list goes on and on and on!

I just don’t get it. Some patients of mine, whether they are noodle vendors, barbers, company employees, magicians, politicians, business owners or even ministers, seem to be really busy with their lives. I think they shouldn’t “have time” and they also “burn calories while working” and “drown in work” like the rest of us. Still, they manage to squeeze in time for exercise. Or maybe they have more than 24 hours a day? Or they are exempted from being stuck in traffic?

I don’t wish to talk too much about how to exercise in order to strengthen your heart. Just walk 30 minutes straight, three to four times a week, that’s all it takes. It does not have to be fast walk, you can walk as slow as you like, but just keep walking! Sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it? Just look at it this way. No matter how tired you are from work and all, you still manage to take a shower, brush your teeth and get dressed, and you probably spend more than 30 minutes doing those things. These are what you call habits. If you see exercise as a habit, then somehow you can fit it in your schedule just fine. Come on, some of you spend more time in the toilet!

Recently there was news about a soccer player and other athletes dying on the field. The reason must have been, without a doubt, a heart attack.

So some of my patients use that as an excuse not to exercise. For those of you who hate exercising, if you think I am not going to talk you into changing your mind, keep reading. And please wipe that happy expression off your face and your protruding belly as well.

Regular exercise benefits your heart a great deal. It prevents heart attack and significantly reduces the blood pressure, blood glucose level and cholesterol level. Moreover, it keeps your weight in check (unless you overeat after exercising) which in a way keeps you safe from heart diseases.

However, I have to admit there is no evidence that very heavy exercise like what professional athletes do can help prevent heart diseases. Quite contrastingly, it has been reported that heavy exercise, if done incorrectly, can cause acute myocardial infarction which can be fatal. A study done overseas shows that 10-17% of acute myocardial infarction cases happen while exercising or shortly after. It was not mentioned how hard these patients were exercising.

This study is in accordance with what cardiologists know by heart: One in 5,000 of the people who are tested on the treadmill has a chance of the heart stopping although there is no history of heart disease. (I’d like to clarify that these patients did not die during the test because they were tested in a hospital and help was ready).

On the other hand, there are numerous reports that regular exercise done correctly can effectively prevent heart attack. More importantly, those who exercise on a regular basis tend to live a longer and healthier life. Even heart disease patients can prolong and improve their lives by exercising the right way.

As for sudden deaths among athletes, in the US where there are more professional athletes than in Thailand, there are 10-20 such cases a year. It is also reported that one in 200,000 military officials dies during tough training.

That number is close to that of young marathon runners who die from exercising too hard.

These young people who die from exercise usually have prior history of heart irregularities.

In most cases, it’s because of the abnormally thick heart muscle. There are also a few cases of artery irregularities. This is different from athletes aged 35 and above who usually die from artery irregularities or coronary artery atherosclerosis.

The reason I’m telling you all this is not because I want to threaten you and stop you from exercising. I am just trying to point out that it is important to exercise regularly and correctly in order to strengthen the heart.

Today, there are many specialised physicians who can help you improve and strengthen your heart, whether you have heart disease or not. These doctors will spend time checking your personal background and health conditions before planning your exercise schedule and food recommendations to help your heart improve in a safe way.

This is done by exercising not (too) heavily.

And dieting without starving (too much).

And the most important thing is to enjoy it and stick to it!!

So if you love your heart and you know it, exercise!

Prof Nithi Mahanonda is consultant cardiologist and interventionist, Perfect Heart Institute.

บทความที่เกี่ยวข้อง

บอลลูนหัวใจ และการรักษาด้วยการสวน
กรน
The old and the new
Older and wiser
What is heart disease?
Food is medicine (Part I)


ข้อคิดเห็นทั้งหมดนี้เป็นความคิดเห็นส่วนบุคคลของผู้อ่าน ไม่เกี่ยวข้องกับเจ้าของเว็บไซต์แต่อย่างใด โปรดแสดงความเห็นด้วยความสุภาพ ถ้าเป็นครั้งแรกที่คุณโพสต์แสดงความเห็น อาจจะมีการคัดกรองเนื้อหาได้ การแสดงความคิดเห็นควรอยู่ในประเด็น ห้ามโจมตีใส่ร้ายบุคคลอื่น หรือทำลิงค์ไปยังเว็บไซต์ที่มีเนื้อหาไม่เกี่ยวข้องกัน ผู้ดูแลเว็บไซต์สามารถแก้ไขหรือลบความคิดเห็นได้ทุกกรณี

   

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