March 22, 2012

The importance of routine general cardiopulmonary exams

Recently, during a European premiere league football game, Bolton’s mid field player Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the field. It was later diagnosed that he had experienced a cardiac arrest event while playing

Following this event, Today, march 22 another football midfield player across the continent in India, experienced the same thing! Unfortunately while Muamba lived to see another day, 27 years old Venkatesh, who played for A-division Bangalore Mars died of cardiac arrest.

You can read more about the incident at

They also have pictures which I would not recommend for the faint at heart.

This is really a sad day for football fans across the world.
For me, it brings back the memories of the death of Cameroonian football player Marc Vivian Foe of the same thing, cardiac arrest while playing. 

As a former competitive soccer player, I have sustained my own share of injuries including a kick in the head which resulted to a concussion and short term memory loss. I am forever grateful for getting out of the competitive world without any major orthopedic surgery.
Cardiac arrest is very much different from a heart attack.

Heart attacks typically occur because the arteries supplying blood to the heart muscles have become restricted or clogged. The reasons for these clogs are mostly associated with aging(wear and tear of the arteries) or having an unhealthy lifestyle( fat deposits/plaques blocking blood flow & etc.).

Meanwhile, a cardiac arrest occurs when the heart muscle, even though its receiving blood, it is unable to pump the blood to the rest of the body.The heart is either beating too fast, too slow or it just stops beating.

Fatal incidents such as the ones above emphasize the need for everyone, healthy or unhealthy to have regular cardiopulmonary physical exams. 

While maintaining a healthy active lifestyle is important, it is also important to have these exams. They help rule out or diagnose the presence of cardiovascular disease. Knowing that you are at risk of CVD or at an early stage of disease gives one the opportunity to take preventive measures such as a lifestyle change or drug therapy.

Remember preventive medicine, which could be as simple as a gym membership and exercise sessions of 30 minutes 3-4 days/week  and hiring a wellness coach is CHEAPER than a heart transplant or other cardiovascular surgeries and drug therapies that will follow if diagnosed with cardiovascular disease.

According to the America College of Sports Medicine, the risk stratification for POSITIVE RISK FACTORS of cardiovascular diseases include;

1. Age     men/45yr       women /55yr

2. Family history   1-degree male relative ,55yr    
                                1-degree female relative ,65yr

3. Smoking cigarettes

4. Having a sedentary lifestyle

5. Obesity       BMI .30kg.m2

6. Hypertension         140/90

7.Dyslipidemia – High levels of low density lipoprotein/LDL cholesterol  130mg.dl

8. Prediabetes such as high levels of impaired fasting glucose or failing the 2hrs oral glucose tolerance test

If If you have no experience or previous history of exercising, it is very important to get clearance from your general physician before under taking in a vigorous physical activity. 

I will also recommend getting a pulse reader/heart rate monitor watch so you can keep track of your heat rate during your exercise sessions  especially the cardio sessions. These watches can be bought at wal mart, target or any athletic gear or sports performance store.

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