Are people who play sports and do regular exercises at risk of sudden cardiac death during the activities?

Sudden cardiac arrest/sudden cardiac death or stroke is something Vietnamese people often confuse.

Are people who play sports and do regular exercises at risk of sudden cardiac death during the activities?


Stroke differs from sudden cardiac death in that the mortality rate is only about 15-20%, but it is vital that neurological complications such as hemiplegia cause long-term disability. And sudden cardiac death has a very high mortality rate. Even in countries with leading emergency systems such as the US and Germany, the death rate of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients can be up to 90%.

Exercise and sports help improve health, prevent the risk of cardiovascular disease, and help reduce the rate of progression of cardiovascular complications.

However, one crucial thing that must not be forgotten is knowing YOUR POWER. Excessive exercise of the cardiovascular system can be as harmful as being inactive. Especially if you do not know about your HEALTH STATUS, have never gone for a cardiovascular screening test.

You also need to understand the risk of sudden cardiac arrest when exercising.

1. The annual rate of cardiac arrest during exercise in people 35-65 years old in the US, Germany, and the UK is about 2-4 cases per 100,000 population. This statistic excluded professional sports athletes.

2. Most of the causes are due to pre-existing cardiovascular disease, including coronary artery stenosis (accounting for over 80%) of cases, hypertrophic, dilated cardiomyopathy, severe valvular disease, myocarditis, arrhythmia.

However, these people either don't know they have the disease or know but subjectively ignore it and don't pay enough attention.

3. Statistical research shows that about one-third of cardiac arrests (rescued) recalls that they had typical symptoms of cardiovascular disease within the previous one week. Symptoms include:

  • Pain or pressure in the middle of the chest.
  • An unusual feeling of shortness of breath on exertion that wasn't there before.
  • Fainting spells with palpitations.

In addition, more than half of cardiac arrest cases had cardiovascular disease risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, smoking, dyslipidemia but were not well controlled.

4. It is crucial to note: daily physical activity is associated with the risk of cardiac arrest during sports. People who exercise little or no physical activity (on average less than once a week) who suddenly switched to overexertion had a 56-fold increased rate of cardiac arrest.

Exercise at a level that is not suitable for your cardiovascular health is a factor that promotes increased risk of sudden death.

Your cardiologist will advise you specifically on the level of physical activity that is appropriate and safe for your condition.

5. Extreme exercise is also associated with an increased risk of acute (non-fatal) myocardial infarction. Statistics show that the risk of acute myocardial infarction with overexertion is about 4%. Once again, the rate of myocardial infarction in sedentary people is 50 times higher than in inactive people. Exercise 5-7 days a week.

In summary, people who plan to practice sports should actively screen for a cardiovascular disease first to know their cardiovascular health status, and at the same time, be advised on the appropriate level of exercise for themselves.

If you want peace of mind when exercising, follow the instructions of your cardiologist, friends!

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