Within one week, two well-known Australians were killed in possible heart attacks. Both were 52.
The world was stunned. It was a chance that former player Shane Warne and Labor senator Kimberley Kitching both suffered heart attacks around the same time?
And then there’s an ex-AFL player Dean Wallis, also aged 52, who has recently experienced similar medical issues to Warne or Kimberley.
As Wallis is recovering You may be wondering: What is the likelihood of heart problems likely to occur in your 50s? Are you able to die so abruptly and suddenly of heart disease?
Watch: 7 health myths debunked. Continue reading below.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics(ABS) confirms it is heart disease that’s the top cause of death in Australia. What’s the real deal? It’s a disease that can be prevented.
In this week’s episode on Mamamia’s The Quicky podcast, host Claire Murphy spoke to an expert cardiologist to discover who is at the highest risk of suffering a heart attack, and the best ways to ensure our safety and that of our loved ones as we grow older.
Below, we review the most important research findings.
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This is everything you should be aware of about your heart health, including how to tell whether you’re experiencing a problem and the lifestyle choices that you’re making that make your heart vulnerable.
What triggers a heart attack?
This may occur over time, and an accumulation of fatty accumulations (including cholesterol) creates substances known as plaques. The plaques can adhere to the artery wall and reduce blood flow. Meaning? The flow of blood to the heart may be stopped completely.
When you suffer from a heart attack the plaque could break and release this substance into the bloodstream. Then, at the point of the rupture, the blood clot develops and can hinder oxygen flow and blood flow into the heart.
Another possible cause could be a spasm in the coronary artery, which reduces blood flow. Certain substances like smoking or drug usage can trigger these types of spasms.
Another less-known trigger? COVID-19.
The latest research found that 72 percent of people infected by COVID-19 had a higher chance of experiencing heart failure and 63 had a higher risk of having a heart attack in following the year in which they were diagnosed.
What can COVID do to our hearts?
Concerning the figures regarding risk factors, people who are older than 45 and women who are 55 or over tend to suffer heart attacks as compared to younger women and men.
At the age of 52, Shane Warne fell directly into the same age bracket – recently passing away due to a suspected heart attack while vacationing in Thailand.
It is worth noting that Warne was infected with COVID two times. He contracted the disease while traveling in England at the close of the year as well as in the days prior to his death.
Of course, this begs the question of whether his illness has increased the likelihood of suffering a heart attack. Is the cause most likely to lie in his previous history of smoking cigarettes, an inadequate diet, or perhaps the weight loss strategy which he formulated?
For Warne, there was evidence that the doctor was on a “fluid-only diet for 14 days prior to his travel which could be a sign of the serious risk of excessive diets in relation to heart health.
Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching was killed just two days following Warne when she was driving in Melbourne. Kitching was barely below the normal age for a woman to be suffering from this – she was 52 years old.
In the aftermath of feeling sick and driving her car into the road, her husband rushed medical personnel to help. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to be revived.
Like Warne, Kitching also experienced massive weight loss in recent years. Additionally, she was extremely stressed when she died. death, and was seeking re-election for the next election.
An upcoming Harvard University study discovered that stress could play as crucial a part in heart attack as smoking cigarettes and blood pressure problems.
On Mamamia’s The Quicky podcast, Claire Murphy spoke to cardiologist Dr. Arnagretta Hunter.
She explained, “COVID-19 is a systemic infection, so it doesn’t just give us a cough and a runny nose and affect our lungs – it can affect all different parts of our body, and that includes the heart.”
“There’s some really interesting research about how the virus might affect the heart function. [That includes] people going on to experience problems with how their heart contracts or something called heart failure after they’ve had coronavirus.”
“It can cause inflammation that affects the heart muscle. It can [cause] heart rhythm abnormalities or where your pulse might become irregular.”
“All these things are quite common, sometimes while in the recovery period, after a coronavirus infection. What many of us now know, after watching friends and family with COVID – particularly in the last couple of months – is that it knocks you out for a while.”
“If you’ve had it really badly, that can also be quite profound. You can be in hospital for a few weeks, and recovering for many months afterward.”
According to Dr. Hunter Dr. Hunter, these kinds of things that are significant can affect our health, and it could take a long time to heal.
What are the impact of medication and its effects on our hearts?
It was believed it was possible that Kitching had been treated to treat a thyroid issue that was causing heart issues. Kitching was taking medication since her condition was first discovered in the year 2000.
“Absolutely medication can affect our heart,” Dr. Hunter. “While I don’t know the specifics of these particular medications, having an over-active or underactive thyroid can affect the heart and any thyroid medication treatment can affect the heart.”
“So, I think it’s really important when you think of our health and wellbeing that you view the body as one big thing. One part of our body [such as] the thyroid, the lung, or the brain may have an impact on other parts of the body.”
“Significant weight loss can also change how our body works, but I’m not sure it will increase your risk of a heart attack.”
Men are more prone to heart attack?
“I think there are a number of different reasons. We don’t completely understand it in the literature, but there are definitely gender biases,” Dr. Hunter said.
In the case of plaque build-up inside blood vessels, Dr. Hunter stated that by the age of 50, approximately 50% of men will experience at the very least the beginning of this procedure (called atherosclerosis).
“Women tend to develop heart disease at a later point. That fifty-fifty point – where half a group of women will experience changes in their coronary arteries, is actually in their 60s.”
“So, we do tend to get that survival advantage. And I’m sure hormones [are] another element to that.”
Do genetics play a part in this?
“Family history is always an interesting element, where cardiologists see patients where the only risk they’ve got is a family history,” Dr. Hunter said. Dr. Hunter.
In reality, there is a myriad of diseases that be passed down from family to family, and all of them can contribute to heart issues such as extremely high blood pressure and lifestyle choices.
For instance, Dr. Hunter stated that when your family smokes cigarettes, then there’s a higher likelihood that you’ll take up smoking. If the diet of your family isn’t optimal it’s more likely that you’ll follow the same diet patterns that you grew up with. Type 2 diabetes can also run within the family, as do routines of exercising.
If you have an ancestral history of heart disease take your heart for a check-up.
Doctors are reporting an increase in middle-aged males making appointments with their doctors to discuss their health issues with regard to their hearts. It’s been dubbed the “Warnie effect” this Heart Foundation also observed a dramatic rise in the number of people visiting its website.
Simple tests such as checking your blood pressure and your blood sugar measured to determine if you have diabetes, and cholesterol tests can be completed quickly and quickly through your GP and provide you with an idea of the chances of suffering from heart disease.
What can we do to ensure our hearts are healthy?
In addition to regular testing, There’s good news there are simple changes you can implement in your daily routine to decrease the chance of developing heart problems.
In the field of cardiovascular health and health issues, there’s a ton of complex, ineffective, and difficult-to-follow advice available, thus, experts generally advise keeping it easy.
Dr. Hunter explained that when it comes to lifestyle smoking cigarettes is your primary enemy. “It’s one of the biggest triggers for heart disease,” she stated. “These days, no one should be smoking.”
Experts have also suggested that there’s a chance, especially for those with an underlying heart issue – that eliminating certain food groups or nutrients increases the likelihood to have a heart attack.
“Particular forms of dieting have been associated with a high risk of a heart attack. I remember a couple of years ago the Atkins diet was quite fashionable,” said Dr. Hunter.
“There was a tiny report that showed that during ketosis people can get more dehydrated, and we do see some increases [in heart disease]. So, there have been some associations with this previously.”
Dr. Hunter insists on the importance of an energizing and balanced diet. For many people, increasing their intake of fruits vegetables, whole grains, and other vegetables in addition to decreasing salt intake can yield substantial advantages.
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