HEART ATTACK AND SUDDEN DEATH FROM STRENUOUS EXERCISE
A small percentage of heart attacks occur after heavy physical work.High-Risk Individuals. In general, the following people should avoid intense exercise or start it only with careful monitoring:People who have certain medical conditions: These conditions include uncontrolled diabetes, uncontrolled seizures, uncontrolled high blood pressure, a heart attack within the previous 6 months, heart failure, unstable angina, significant aortic valve disease, or aortic aneurysm.People with moderate-to-severe hypertension: Experts generally recommend that moderate or severe high blood pressure (systolic blood pressure over 160 mm Hg or diastolic (bottom number) pressure over 100 mm Hg) should be brought to lower levels before a person starts a vigorous exercise program.Sedentary people should be cautious. One major study found that sedentary people who throw themselves into a grueling workout significantly increase their risk of heart attack.Episodes of exercise-related sudden death in young people are rare but of great concern. Some are preceded by fainting, which is due to a sudden and severe drop in blood pressure. It should be noted that fainting is relatively common in athletes, and is dangerous only in people with existing heart conditions. Young people with genetic or congenital (present at birth) heart disorders should avoid intensive competitive sports.Anabolic steroids or products containing ephedra have been associated with cases of stroke, heart attack, and even death.The risk for heart attack from exercise should be kept in perspective, however. Some form of exercise, carefully personalized, has benefits for most of the individuals mentioned above. In many cases, particularly when the only risk factors are a sedentary lifestyle and older age, exercise can often be increased over time until it is intense.Hazardous Activities for High-Risk Individuals. The following activities may pose particular dangers for high-risk individuals:Intense workouts (snow shoveling, slow jogging, speed walking, tennis, heavy lifting, heavy gardening) may be particularly hazardous for people with risk factors for heart disease, especially older people. They tend to stress the heart, raise blood pressure for a brief period, and may cause spasms in the arteries leading to the heart. (See image: Coronary Artery Spasm)Some studies suggest that competitive sports, which couple intense activity with aggressive emotions, are more likely to trigger a heart attack than other forms of exercise.Listening for Warning Signs. It should be noted that according to one study, at least 40% of young men who die suddenly during a workout have previously experienced, and ignored, warning signs of heart disease. In addition to avoiding risky activities, the best preventive tactic is simply to listen to the body and seek medical help at the first sign of symptoms during or following exercise. These symptoms include the following:Irregular heartbeatShortness of breathChest pain

Source: Exercise – In-Depth Report – NY Times Health