Participants played an average of 3.6 days of exercise or sport per week, with an average of 2.6 hours of moderate activity per week and 2.4 hours of vigorous activity.
Professor Geoffrey Tofler, lead author of the paper and a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), the University of Sydney and the Royal North Shore Hospital, said,Although regular exercise improves health, strenuous exercise increases the risk of a rapid heart attack. Being able to recognize the warning signs of an impending cardiac event is important to minimizing those risks during exercise.”
“The risk increased when taking into account participants with pre-existing risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking status, weight problems, and a family history of heart disease.“
Despite the popularity of Masters rugby, the proportion of cardiovascular risk factors and heart symptoms that can cause heart attacks in players has not been fully studied.
“In total, one in five study participants had one or more possible cardiac symptoms during a match the previous year, but only a quarter of them sought medical attention,“I said.
“In a hypothetical scenario of participants experiencing chest pain while playing, about half of them said they would continue playing for 5 to 10 minutes to wait for the symptoms to pass.“
“Nearly half of the participants were unsure whether they recognized symptoms they might experience while playing games, such as chest pain, as a sign of a potentially serious heart risk.”
They also say the statistics are worrying, especially given the increased risk with age. This heart attack risk is even greater in people who rarely or do not exercise.
The need for better cardiovascular education and knowledge has been emphasized as an important solution to prevent or reduce cardiovascular events. Most of those surveyed agree that external defibrillators and CPR training are important and should be fundamental on football fields in all sports.
“Performing CPR and using a defibrillator can be the line between life and death for someone in sudden cardiac arrest, as survival rates drop by seven to ten percent every minute without need to use one of two methods.Professor Tofler said.
“Educational strategies should focus on providing players with clear guidelines to help with rapid symptom recognition and management of cardiac events.“
“These instructions should be made available to players electronically and onsite through posters for easy access. This will be important to take prompt action and increase survival rates.“
The authors also say that while it’s important to note that the benefits of exercise still outweigh the overall cardiovascular risk, the measures may add to the benefits of heart attack risk. after the age of 35.
Among 153 participants aged 35 or older, the following observations about heart attacks were made:
- 49.6% were not confident in their ability to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack (32.7%) expressed confidence in recognizing one of the other symptoms
- One out of five participants reported experiencing one or more possible cardiac symptoms with physical activity in the previous 12 months
- Only a quarter (24.4%) of those experiencing one or more symptoms seek medical help
- In an imaginary situation where a participant had chest pain while playing
- 46.6% say they will leave the field immediately, although 49% will continue playing for 5 to 10 minutes to see if the pain subsides and most of them will continue to play more.
- A third thought they had a heart attack but the hospital denied their thinking
- 45.1% said they think they have a heart attack, they would rather have someone else drive them to the hospital than an ambulance.
- Only 39.9% are aware that warning signs can appear days before a heart attack
- 67.3% know how to perform CPR