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TOP STORIESKannada actor Puneeth Rajkumar dies at 46, suffered from a serious cardiac...

Kannada actor Puneeth Rajkumar dies at 46, suffered from a serious cardiac arrest while working out

Kannada superstar, Puneeth Rajkumar, known for his work in films like ‘Power’ and ‘Yuvarathnaa’ has passed away after suffering from a serious cardiac arrest. He was 46.

His passing away comes as a shock to many of his fans and the latest celebrity death to have been heard of. Just months after Bigg Boss 13 alum and Bollywood actor Sidharth Shukla passed away unexpectedly, Rajkumar’s sudden death has once again highlighted the perils many in their 30s and 40s are facing today, which is the increasing risk of heart ailments and cardiac arrests.

According to latest reports, the 46-year-old Kannada actor was rushed to Vikram hospital in Bangalore this morning (October 29), wherein he was being critically observed in the ICU by a team of doctors. It has been mentioned that he complained of chest pain earlier, and at the time of hospitalization, he was non-responsive. The doctors treating him confirmed that he had a case of very serious cardiac arrest, until the news of his shocking and devastating death came forward.

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While unconfirmed yet, it is also being reported that the Sandalwood star suffered from a massive cardiac ailment while he was exercising in the gym. Known to be overtly fit and healthy, Rajkumar used to workout often, and was appraised for his looks.

Also read: Signs, symptoms, causes of cardiac arrest, everything you should know


Why is cardiac arrest so common amongst the younger generation?

There’s been a shocking rise in the number of cardiac arrests being observed amongst those in their early ages, or even their 20s. While heart ailments and cardiac arrests were generally taken to be an ‘old people’s condition’, that’s no longer the case, and now a warning sign doctors urge people to be critically aware of.

A cardiac arrest is an electrical malfunction that disrupts your heart’s rhythm so that it stops pumping blood around your body, according to doctors, with millions suffering from one every year.

Again, while a cardiac arrest can happen anytime, anywhere, and carries a considerably high mortality rate, it’s often said that one of the most likely causes of severe heart problems as such is the lack of visible symptoms, or poor attention to one’s health. While factors like sedentary lifestyle, poor eating habits, high cholesterol and B.P. levels do raise the risk, it is said that the earliest signs of a cardiac arrest begin to show up at least two weeks before the actual event and thus, over time, tend to build up and cause worse problems, or lead to a silent death.

Also read: Why has heart attack become so prevalent in younger people?

Doctors suggest that apart from a big shift in lifestyles we lead today, younger people, particularly those in their 30s and 40s could be at a higher incidental risk of ‘ignoring’ the symptoms, and have a genetic and pre-established disposition to heart problems as well. While not preventable, since a lot of the ‘signs and symptoms’ of heart disease come up in the weeks preceding, and mimic common symptoms of digestive problems, fatigue, or muscle strain, it can be very difficult to rule out a cardiac arrest, and get help in time. Late diagnosis and help is often one of the prime causes of increasing cardiac deaths globally. Cardiac arrests are also a likely risk factor for men aged 44 and above.

Because of the pandemic, doctors have also stressed that the concern for matters related to heart health have been pushed off, and it’s now more likely than before for people to suffer from silent heart attacks and cardiac arrests. The pandemic induced sedentary lifestyle, dietary choices, virus-inflicted damage on the heart are also factors to blame.

Is there a connection between extreme workouts and cardiac ailment risk?

Now, while we are yet to receive an official word on what exactly fueled Rajkumar’s untimely demise, it has been reported that the actor was spending time in the gym working out, which is when he suffered from a big cardiac arrest. A similar connection to extreme workout conditions was also drawn at the time of actor Sidharth Shukla’s death, when it was stated that he had previously worked out for 2-2.5 hours before passing away in his sleep.

Particularly, ‘stressful’ and increased exercise hours are said to be a common factor for celebrities who tend to develop such conditions. It’s also considered to be a reason why seemingly fit people tend to pass away after a cardiac arrest, even with the best diet and exercise.

With research preliminary right now, extreme exercise could be a risk factor which can damage or disrupt the heart’s functioning. However, it’s difficult to ascertain to what degree. Some research has found evidence that high intensity exercise can acutely increase the risk for sudden cardiac arrest or sudden cardiac death in individuals with underlying cardiac disease. When the heart endures extreme physical stress over and over, the temporary damage may lead to remodeling of the heart or physical changes such as thicker heart walls and scarring of the heart. Exercising without proper caution, or guidance can also lead to many straining or overexerting their limits, and cause damage to their health. However, do remember that zero to little exercise can be just as dangerous for the heart.

Nonetheless, while the risk factors are many, it’s very important that men and women approaching their mid 30s or in their 40s go for preemptive screenings and evaluate their risk factors (including genetic ones) to know the status of their health.

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