Athletes and fitness experts are people who we look up to as they’ve managed to achieve certain things that we might aspire to someday, whether it’d be getting fit or just leading a healthier life. It’s because of that that it becomes shocking when we find out that they can still go through some of the health problems we might face, even though they’re supposed to be healthier. That issue came into the limelight recently when professional fitness guru and host of the American TV show, The Biggest Loser, Bob Harper suffered a heart attack that left the whole world talking.
Thankfully, Harper didn’t suffer from an intense heart attack and there was a doctor around to help him at the moment it happened. However, he’s had to take more care of monitoring his heart activity. When asked about why the heart attack happened, all Harper said was that it was genetic as his mother died of a heart attack.
Of course, this has made people wonder about whether or not there’s any point in being healthy if you can still suffer from heart disease. If your genes have already doomed you then what’s the point? Well, the thing is, health problems are a bit more complicated than what people assume, and it all starts with what they understand when it comes to heart attacks and heart diseases.
First, we have to realise that this isn’t the first case of a famous fitness figure suffering from a heart attack. Other athletes such as Fabrice Mumba (pictured above), an outstanding soccer player, Jim Fixx, who authored the famous Complete Book of Running and even Micah True who served as an inspiration for the book “Born to Run”, suffered or died from heart attacks even though they seemed to be in peak physical conditions.
Those are only a few of the many cases that have presented themselves and, while shocking, they’re uncommon. A study in 2010 showed that within ten years, only 59 out 109 athletes suffered or died from a heart attack or any type of cardiovascular disease. This rarity has caused for less, or even any, tests to check an athlete’s heart condition before any particular event.
So then what does this mean? Is it true that no matter how hard you try, you still can’t escape dying from diseases? And if so then why do people treat athletes like gods of health? Well, the answer to those questions is pretty simple.
First of all, we go back to the difference between being healthy and being fit. Even if a person seems physically healthy, they can still suffer from other factors: among them being stress, eating issues, depression and even overexertion when it comes to exercising, after all, you can’t just keep pushing yourself without getting proper rest.
There are also a handful of heart-related symbols such as Long QT Syndrome, Brugada Syndrome, Catecholaminergic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia (CPVT), Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC) and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy among others. This can all be obtained regularly and can even be inherited.
But even if we still run the risk of suffering from heart disease no matter how healthy we try to be, it’s still not a reason to just give up. After all, just because it’s in your genes, it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. There are routine check-ups that will allow you to monitor how your heart works, as well as tests that can determine if you run the risk of suffering heart disease and what you can do to prevent it. At the end of the day what matters is what you do to give yourself a better chance. Nonetheless, your fitness level does affect your risk of all various types of diseases that aren’t genetically linked so it is still advised to keep exercising and eating properly while going for regular check ups.
Either way, we’re glad that Bob Harper is recovering and we hope he fully recovers and overcomes what happens too, at least all of this has helped us see that there’s always more room for improvement in our lives and that prevention is better than cure.
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