Heart attack signs for runners: Don’t ignore them

Running is often seen as an easy way to stay fit. While it is great for health, there are times when signs of heart attack can't be spotted easily by runners.
trampoline vs running
Know warning signs of a heart attack if you're a runner. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 10 Feb 2023, 16:15 pm IST
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Running is often associated with a healthy and active lifestyle. After all, it is a great way to get your blood pumping. All you have to do is put on your sneakers and start running. Even if you are a gym regular, trainers and fitness coaches tend to slip in running into your fitness regime. People have every reason to believe in the benefits of running. But you’ve got to run with caution. Knowing how to recognise signs of heart attack is a part of that awareness.

HealthShots consulted Dr Tapan Ghose, Director Cardiology, Fortis Flt. Lt. Rajan Dhall Hospital, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, to know how runners can spot the signs of heart attack.

signs of heart attack
Here are some signs of heart attack that runners should not ignore. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Signs of heart attack

Any chest pain, undue shortness of breath and profuse sweating which is disproportionate to regular exercise, can be symptoms of the first heart attack, warns Dr Ghose. Other symptoms include:

• Palpitation
• Giddiness
• Light headed feeling
• Discomfort in muscles felt at the centre part of the chest, it can be left or right arm pain along with sweating.

Runners vs women who lead a sedentary lifestyle

It is believed that women who lead a sedentary lifestyle are able to notice the signs of heart attack better as compared to women who go for running. Let’s find out if it’s a fact or not. Some common symptoms of heart attack in women are

• Fatigue
• Shortness of breath
• Jaw, neck or upper back pain
• Pressure in lower chest

These are easily misunderstood as after-effects of exercises. When the same symptoms are felt by a women with sedentary lifestyle, they are likely pay more attention. A fit woman with regular exercise regime will think that the pain is because she may have lifted weight in the wrong way or she was hard on her body.

signs of heart attack
Sweating and shortness of breath are some of the symptoms of heart attack. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Exercise itself causes palpitation, sweating and shortness of breath initially in most people, including trained women. However, when these symptoms are more or disproportionate or occur at a lower level of exercise, they should alarm you. So, pay attention to these symptoms, says Dr Ghose.

Tips to prevent heart attack

Heart attack may surprise you like an unwanted guest, but there are tips to prevent it. Here’s what you can do:

• Know your risk factors
• Manage health environments such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol
• Maintain healthy weight
• Make heart-healthy food choices
• If you smoke, quit


Keep an idea of your risk of weight-related issues.

Check BMI

Risk factors of heart attack are

• Age greater than 35 years, but no one is really immune
• Consumption of any form of tobacco
• High cholesterol LDL greater than 100
• High blood pressure greater than 140/90
• Obesity (Body Mass Index greater than 23 in Indians)
• Sedentary lifestyle
• Lack of exercise
• Depression
• Lack of sleep (tricks to help you sleep better)
• Minimal fruits and vegetable in diet.

So, even if you head out for a run every morning, think about your heart health too. You just need to watch out for the red flags to avoid a heart attack.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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