How to Cope with a Heart Attack Triggered by Gym Workouts?

Heart attacks can happen all of a sudden, but many of them take place during or after heavy physical load, i.e. during exercise. It’s typical not only of older people — the young generation becomes the victims of heart attacks more and more often.

Symptoms of a heart attack

Signs of a heart attack can vary. They may occur suddenly and be pronounced or may progress slowly, starting with mild pain. Symptoms may vary in men and women. Women are less likely to have classic chest pain than men, more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, pain in the back and jaw.

Heart Attack

Common signs and symptoms of a heart attack include:

  1. Chest pain. Chest pain or discomfort (sore throat) is the main symptom of a heart attack and can be felt as a feeling of pressure, compression, fullness or pain in the center of the chest. Patients with coronary artery disease, with stable angina, often experience chest pain that lasts a few minutes and then goes away. With a heart attack, the pains usually last for more than a few minutes, they may disappear, but then return.
  2. Discomfort in the upper body. People who have a heart attack may feel discomfort in their hands, neck, back, jaw or stomach.
  3. Difficulty breathing may be accompanied by chest pain or be without pain.
  4. Nausea and vomiting.
  5. Cold sweat.
  6. Dizziness or fainting.

Less often, it might be pain caused by some certain motions or touches. Stanley D. Emmerson, the leading pharmacy technician at, says that their resource offers informational support for prevention and management:

“We are always there for you to publish materials that deepen your knowledge about heart health, and to asnwer questions related to prevention and management.”

Heart attack first aid rules

Here are the essential guidelines for helping a person with a heart attack:

  • For patients with angina: take one dose of nitroglycerin (a tablet under the tongue or in aerosol form) when symptoms appear. Then another dose every 5 minutes, up to three doses, or until pain decreases.
  • Call 911 or dial a local emergency number. This should be done first if three doses of nitroglycerin do not help relieve chest pain. Only 20% of heart attacks occur in patients with previously diagnosed angina. Therefore, anyone who develops symptoms of a heart attack should contact the emergency services.
  • The patient should chew aspirin (250–500 mg), which should be reported to the emergency services, as an additional dose of aspirin, in this case, should not be taken.
  • A patient with chest pain should be immediately taken to the nearest emergency room, preferably by ambulance. Getting to a hospital alone is NOT an appropriate option.

If a person loses consciousness or isn’t able to help oneself, and the heart attack is strong, someone should make closed-chest cardiac massage. A person is laid on a flat hard surface: the rhythmic squeezing of the patient’s chest is done — 100 pressure motions on the chest per minute to the depth of 5 centimeters.

Breaks during the heart massage should be minimal 5–10 seconds. When signs of life appear, the massage should be ceased. The patient is provided with warmth and peace. While there are no signs of life, massage should be continued until the ambulance arrives.

According to statistics, a closed heart massage conducted in the first 60–120 seconds after a sudden cardiac attack, allows returning up to 50% of patients to life.

When to stop training? Watch these signs

If you notice the following symptoms, cease your workout immediately and have a rest:

  • Pressing-up pain in the very center of the chest, gradually increasing in strength and spreading across the chest to the left arm and shoulder, lower jaw (very dangerous!).
  • Stitching, sudden pain with a feeling of difficulty in breathing (less dangerous).
  • Severe lack of air (inability to both inhale and exhale).
  • Severe weakness, headaches, and nausea (signs of increased pressure) and a faint state.

If you feel like this, then you need medical care. If you continue exercising, the consequences can be sad.

When sports might have a negative impact on heart health?

While moderate physical activity is essential, you should never overdo with sports. Do NOT do the following:

Endless hours of workouts mixed with anabolic steroids

Frequent pulse, short respite for rest and recovery exhaust the heart of a person within a couple of years. This time is enough for the heart muscle to lose its former strength. Many former bodybuilders report heart malfunctions. At best case, they have rhythm disturbances, and at worst — sudden death.

Running at a distance of 5 km with a temperature and sore throat

Infection in combination with a load that is too high for such a condition not only disrupts the smooth functioning of the heart and blood vessels but also affects the immune system. The heart muscle literally absorbs even a harmless infection. That’s how a person may develop myocarditis — inflammatory processes that lead to heart rhythm disturbances, increasing shortness of breath and swelling of the legs.

Return to active training immediately after myocardial infarction

If you have been actively involved in sports for many years (for example, running for long distances), and then suffered a myocardial infarction, remember that the continuation of training at the same pace immediately after leaving the hospital can provoke another heart attack.

No exercising at all?

In fact, exercise reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and recurrent heart attacks. On the contrary, a sedentary lifestyle is one of the risk factors. The most useful loads for cores are swimming, walking on a treadmill, an ellipse trainer. To improve blood flow and strengthen the heart muscle, you need not intense, but rhythmic exercises. And make sure that the pulse during exercise does not rise above 130 beats per minute.

Food – the key to heart attack prevention

Aside from physical activity, you should also mind your diet. Here are the products for heart health:

  • Garlic — it becomes useful for the heart after attacks. The secret is that the traumatic effect on garlic cells triggers the formation of allicin in them. This substance has a powerful stimulating effect on blood vessels and thins the blood.
  • Young potatoes — it has a lot of potassium, so it has a stimulating effect on the heart and improves the conductivity of the heart muscle.
  • Avocado — helps to reduce cholesterol in the blood, a source of beta-carotene and lycopene, which have a positive effect on the heart.
  • Spinach — contains lutein, folic acid, potassium. Reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases by about 25%.
  • Dark chocolate — improves overall heart health, lowers bad cholesterol and blood pressure, and increases blood flow to the brain. The more cocoa is contained in chocolate, the better.

Any physical exercise will do more food than harm when performed moderately and in accordance with the doctor’s guidelines. Knowing the rules of first aid is essential, but make sure that you and your family members don’t overdo with sports.

We suggest that you read the following articles on heart attack prevention, make sure you share this information with your near and dear: