10 Reasons Heart Attacks Occur on Treadmills: Doctors Explain

The rising incidence of heart attacks among young individuals, particularly while engaged in treadmill workouts, has garnered increased attention from medical experts. This alarming trend underscores the critical connection between heart health and exercise intensity. Recently, a young man tragically lost his life due to a sudden heart attack while at the gym, drawing public awareness to this issue.

Medical professionals emphasize that while exercise is generally beneficial for heart health, rigorous and abrupt workouts can pose significant risks. Engaging in strenuous activity without a proper warm-up or ignoring symptoms like chest pain, dizziness, or breathlessness can increase the likelihood of a heart attack. Moreover, underlying heart conditions, including coronary artery disease, play a significant role when individuals unexpectedly suffer heart attacks during treadmill sessions.

Dr. Dixit Garg, a Consultant Cardiologist at Manipal Hospital, Gurugram, underscores the importance of a comprehensive medical evaluation before embarking on a treadmill exercise regimen. He advises individuals, especially those with pre-existing heart conditions, to gradually increase exercise intensity, stay well-hydrated, and closely monitor vital signs during treadmill workouts to mitigate the risk of heart attacks.

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Dr. Vishal Rastogi, Director of Interventional Cardiology at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, New Delhi, highlights several factors contributing to treadmill-related heart attacks:

Underlying heart conditions: The presence of coronary artery disease can reduce blood flow to the heart, increasing the risk of a heart attack during exercise.

Overexertion: Pushing oneself too hard during workouts, especially for those unaccustomed to regular exercise, can stress the heart and lead to acute heart attacks.

Failure to warm up: Inadequate warm-up before intense exercise can strain the heart, causing a rapid increase in heart rate and blood pressure.

Stress and anxiety: Emotional stress and anxiety can elevate stress hormones, putting extra strain on the heart.

Age and genetics: Older individuals and those with a genetic predisposition to heart problems face a higher risk.

Dr. Ashish Mishra, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at Wockhardt Hospitals, Mira Road, adds additional factors:

Dehydration: Insufficient hydration can lead to thicker blood, making it harder for the heart to pump effectively.

Improper technique: Incorrect treadmill usage, including posture and excessive speed, can strain the heart and lead to injuries.

Ignoring symptoms: Failing to heed warning signs such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness while on the treadmill can be perilous.

Age and gender: Older individuals and men are at a greater risk of treadmill-related heart attacks, necessitating caution and consultation with healthcare professionals.

Lack of supervision: Exercising alone on a treadmill without immediate assistance nearby in case of emergencies can be hazardous.

To mitigate the risk of heart attacks during treadmill workouts, individuals should consult healthcare professionals, start slowly, increase intensity gradually, maintain proper hydration, and be attentive to their body’s signals. Incorporating an emergency stop button and adhering to safe treadmill practices further reduce associated risks. Ultimately, awareness, preparation, and responsible exercise habits are paramount for safeguarding cardiovascular health during treadmill sessions, according to Dr. Mishra.


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