Is it possible to still have a heart attack even though you are fit? Well, yes you can and the famous fitness guru and host of “The Biggest Loser,” Bob Harper suffered a heart attack over 2 weeks ago that left him unconscious for two days. It happened while he was working out a NYC gym. Luckily, a doctor happened to be working out near him and performed CPR and AED until the paramedics came. Bob is just one example I have heard of this week alone, as a little closer to home for me, a client’s husband that I train had a mild heart attack and ultimately needed surgery to get a stent placed in one of his valves as it had blockage. In relative terms he is in great shape. He does Muy Thai regularly, lifts weights, and eats healthy. However, one thing that both men have in common is that they have a family history of heart disease and cardiac arrest in their family. Family history is a huge red flag and if you fall into that category your risk is increased and even if you are fit a heart attack can still happen.
So, just because you work out and eat well doesn’t mean you are immune from suffering a heart attack. As many of you know my father died at the age of 67 from a massive heart attack and is a primary reason I am on the mission to help others get fit and transform themselves physically to help prevent such a terrible thing from happening. However, as you can see it can still happen to those of us that work out and try and be fit. With all this being said is there anything you can do to potentially prevent a heart attack from occurring? That is actually the question I had myself and actually asked my good friend and doctor just the other day. He told me of a new procedure, which I am looking into and will report back here once I have it performed. As for other ways here are just a few:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG). An ECG records these electrical signals and can help your doctor detect irregularities in your heart’s rhythm and structure. You may have an ECG while you’re at rest or while exercising (stress electrocardiogram).
- Holter monitoring. A Holter monitor is a portable device you wear to record a continuous ECG, usually for 24 to 72 hours. Holter monitoring is used to detect heart rhythm irregularities that aren’t found during a regular ECG exam.
- Echocardiogram. This noninvasive exam, which includes an ultrasound of your chest, shows detailed images of your heart’s structure and function.
- Cardiac catheterization. In this test, a short tube (sheath) is inserted into a vein or artery in your leg (groin) or arm. A hollow, flexible and longer tube (guide catheter) is then inserted into the sheath. Aided by X-ray images on a monitor, your doctor threads the guide catheter through that artery until it reaches your heart. The pressures in your heart chambers can be measured, and dye can be injected. The dye can be seen on an X-ray, which helps your doctor see the blood flow through your heart, blood vessels and valves to check for abnormalities.
- Cardiac computerized tomography (CT) scan. This test is often used to check for heart problems. In a cardiac CT scan, you lie on a table inside a doughnut-shaped machine. An X-ray tube inside the machine rotates around your body and collects images of your heart and chest.
- Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). For this test, you lie on a table inside a long tube-like machine that produces a magnetic field. The magnetic field produces pictures to help your doctor evaluate your heart. (courtesy of the Mayo Clinic)
Now, I know some of these tests may be more extensive and involves more time and money but I highly encourage you if you have a history of heart disease in your family like me or Bob you should consult your doctor during your physical and see if one or more of these tests should be administered. I mean the saying it is better safe than to be sorry is definitely in play here.