Healthy People & Heart Attacks

We close out American Heart Month today with one of those stories that defies what we typically think about heart attacks. We just learned that one of the trainers on the popular television show ‘Biggest Loser,’ Bob Harper, had a heart attack earlier this month. Harper is 51 and seemingly in great shape.

From Health.com:

Biggest Loser host and personal trainer Bob Harper is recovering from a heart attack that left him unconscious for two days, People reported today. The fitness celeb reportedly collapsed two weeks ago while working out at the gym, and was recently released from the hospital after an eight-day stay. 

But Harper, 51, is hardly your typical heart attack victim: He’s relatively young, he’s super-fit, and he’s built his career on getting people healthy. Although the specifics of his experience haven’t been shared, we do know one thing: It’s an important reminder that even people with no obvious risk factors can still have underlying heart disease or problems.

Today.com wrote, “Harper’s mother passed away several years ago from a heart attack….According to the American Heart Association, children of parents with heart disease are more likely to develop it themselves. Men have a greater risk of heart attack than women do, and are more likely to experience attacks earlier in life. These are risk factors that you’re born with and can’t change — no matter how healthy you are.”

Harper posted a photo of himself in the hospital on Instagram and wrote, “Well I guess you all heard what happened. Two weeks ago yesterday I had a heart attack. I am feeling better. Just taking it easy.”

harper-copy

After seemingly fit and healthy actor Alan Thicke died of a heart attack a few months ago, CTV News interviewed a cardiologist who said heart attacks in healthy, active people are “quite common,” and highlighted the importance of understanding potential warning signs.

Speaking to CTV News Channel the day after Thicke’s sudden death from a heart attack while playing hockey, Dr. Chi-Ming Chow said many people experience few or no symptoms before cardiac arrest. Heart attacks can occur without any warning in otherwise healthy people who exercise, said Dr. Chow, a cardiologist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

Newsmax Health spoke to a cardiologist, Dr. Chauncey Crandall, about the signs that could warn seemingly healthy people about a potential heart problem.

Although such heart attacks appear to come on suddenly, there are often small warning signs that may occur up to a month before, Crandall says.

A medical study released this year that analyzed 839 sudden cardiac arrests found that in 430 cases (51 percent), patients exhibited warning signs in the four weeks before the arrest.

The missed symptoms included chest pain, shortness of breath, light-headedness and heart palpitations — classic signs of an impending or actual heart attack.

Despite the fact that some people who appear healthy suffer heart attacks, the American Heart Association says being physically active is important to preventing heart disease and stroke. It is often a good idea to check with your doctor before beginning any new workout program.

American Heart Month may be ending, but taking care of our hearts and our health is a year round job! After all, the healthier we are – the closer we get to our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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