Runners might collapse suddenly because the build-up of lactic acid in the blood during the run triggers abnormal heart rhythms. In addition, they also suffer from exhaustion, emotional stress, dehydration and heatstroke.
Syed Iftikhar shah, an aspirant during the ANF running test, reportedly breathed his last during the physical running test for the post of Assistant Sub-Inspector in Anti-Narcotics Force in Lahore centre yesterday.
The photo of the deceased is being widely shared over social media with attached messages of grief and sorrow. It is rather unclear if the diseased was provided with on-spot medical attention or not.
This is the second time in one year when death has been reported while a candidate attempting to clear the running test. The first-ever case was reported a few months ago months at Mirpur Khas (Sindh) where a boy named Ahmed died during a running test.
There is usually a few kilometres race and candidates are instructed that who so ever reaches at a target within the stipulated time period would be qualified for selection.
Sudden cardiac death during a strenuous physical activity is often due to an unexpected loss of heart function. There have been several cases of sudden death among people who take part in a sporting event or doing a strenuous physical activity.
Defined as sudden cardiac death, it is due to a sudden loss of heart function. When the heart is unable to pump blood to the rest of the body, it leads to cardiac arrest, which usually occurs within one hour of onset of symptoms.
A cardiologist opines that a sudden cardiac death among people younger than 30 following physical exertion are related to congenital heart conditions: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), anomalous coronary artery origin and course, and cardiac channelopathies. These conditions are more or less asymptomatic so they are often undiagnosed and undetected.
These congenital heart conditions make someone liable to cardiac arrest due to physical and emotional stress when they exercise or compete in sports events. Sunway Medical Centre consultant cardiologist Dr Lim Bee Chian says that marathon runners often collapse near the finishing line because the build-up of lactic acid in the blood during the run triggers abnormal heart rhythms. In addition, they also suffer from exhaustion, emotional stress, dehydration and heatstroke.
Possible warning signs
According to the opinion of medical experts, the warning signs for such an abnormal heart condition may include sudden chest discomfort, pain in the jaw, shoulders, stomach or any part of the body, shortness of breath, dizziness, heart palpitations, and sweating profusely. Another sign is when the heart rate takes a long time to return to normal after physical activity.
One should never ignore these red signs. When you feel slight pain or discomfort or are sweating without reason, it might be a sign of cardiac arrest. Seek medical attention immediately. In time treatment can save your life and minimises damage to the heart.
If someone collapses near a medical facility, the chances of survival are 50 to 60 per cent. However, if they collapse in the park or gym and do not get immediate medical attention, the survival rate is less than 20 per cent. Even then, they may suffer from brain damage.
Runners must e guided that nothing is precious beyond their life so they should listen to the body to avoid any serious complications thereafter.
The aspirants or professional runners must not keep up running when they think they can not do any more and they are fatigued and exhausted.
Authorities that conduct such strenuous physical activities must arrange due medical care for the runners in case of any untoward incident or sudden shortness of breath. Timely medical care improves the chances of survival.
Such competitions must be started with short-duration and easy running tests so as to make it convenient for the aspirants to take more running tough challenges with ease.
Above all, some relief package must be given to the family of diseased as a token of appreciation that he or she sacrificed his life for a good cause. At least he aspired to contribute positively to the betterment of society on the whole.