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Why young people – even athletes in peak health – get heart attacks

11 March 2020 12:49 PM
Tags:
Cape Town Cycle Tour
Cardiovascular disease
Heart attacks
Stress
High blood pressure
Chester Williams
cardiology
Cardiologist
viral infection
cholesterol
high blood sugar
James Small
Najmee Marlie
Walmers Athletics Club
Liesl Zuhlke
cigarette smoking
party drugs
extreme sports
Are heart attack victims younger than before? Yes, says Red Cross Hospital cardiologist Professor Liesl Zuhlke.

On Sunday, physiotherapist Najmee Marlie (44) – a member of the Walmers Athletics Club – passed away after completing the Cape Town Cycle tour, reportedly after suffering a heart attack.

There’s a growing perception that heart attacks – once characterised as an "old man's disease" – is increasingly occurring in younger people, even healthy athletes.

Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death around the world.

Heart attacks kill around 200 people in South Africa every day.

Lester Kiewit asked Professor Liesl Zuhlke, a cardiologist at Red Cross Hospital, if the perception is true and, if it is, what people can do to stay healthy.

Elite athletes - James Small and Chester Williams come to mind – these are quite rare… We do know that the age [of having a heart attack] is decreasing… Elite athletes often ignore warning signs…

Professor Liesl Zuhlke, cardiologist - Red Cross Hospital

[Relaxing] is as important as exercise… Cigarette smoking is a major culprit… High blood pressure… High cholesterol… High sugar… Use of recreational “party drugs” …

Professor Liesl Zuhlke, cardiologist - Red Cross Hospital

Extreme sports… I suggest [if you partake] going for an annual check. If you’re over 38, it’s not a bad idea to have a good health check…

Professor Liesl Zuhlke, cardiologist - Red Cross Hospital

A viral illness can affect the heart… one of the reasons why people doing sports collapse and die… Wait until you’re fully recovered before you exercise again.

Professor Liesl Zuhlke, cardiologist - Red Cross Hospital

Stress affects cardiovascular health, even more so in women than in men…

Professor Liesl Zuhlke, cardiologist - Red Cross Hospital

Listen to the interview in the audio below.


11 March 2020 12:49 PM
Tags:
Cape Town Cycle Tour
Cardiovascular disease
Heart attacks
Stress
High blood pressure
Chester Williams
cardiology
Cardiologist
viral infection
cholesterol
high blood sugar
James Small
Najmee Marlie
Walmers Athletics Club
Liesl Zuhlke
cigarette smoking
party drugs
extreme sports

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