Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Hidden Signs, Crouching Heart Attack

Who said you have to wait till you are sick to learn TaiChi?
Why do you have to be old to learn TaiChi?

Case 1 – A very busy, young and successful journalist, he travelled often around the world. He worked hard and late. Slightly overweight, doctor advised him to lose weight. He went to the gym daily and soon lost some weight and looked as fit as an athlete. A few months later, while walking to his car after dinner, he collapsed. His young family, colleagues and friends could not understand why, he was only 35.

Case 2 – He’s full of life. A businessman, his wife’s in her early 30s, they have 2 very young children. Hobbies - playing badminton with his friends after work or on the weekend. He had worked very hard. His business was doing well. That Saturday, the family had invited relatives and friends to a house warming party at their new bungalow. The day was still young, he went to play few hours of badminton with some friends. It was early evening, he arrived home and as he alighted from his car. he could see many people were already in the house. Before he could reach the main door, he collapsed. The house warming party had turned into a funeral instead. He was only 35.

Case 3 – His wife and his very young kids were living in Malaysia. A very busy project manager, he was based in a middle eastern country most of the time. Entertainment was part and parcel of the job. He’s a heavy smoker, alcohol was cheaper than water and a daily drink. To keep up with his mistress from China who’s in her 20s, blue tablets became another add-ons in his life. In this desert where it was hot most time of the year, playing badminton indoor with his buddies regularly seemed to be a good choice. That evening, he’d played badminton as usual, after dinner, he went to sleep. He never woke up. He was only in his early 40s. He complained of some discomfort around his chest and stomach area to his buddies one month before and was advised to see a doctor. Nobody knew whether he’d visited any doctor.

Case 4 – A close buddy of the busy project manager (Case 3), they had the same lifestyle. Cigarette, alcohol, karaoke, the blue tablets were the norm. Mistresses were their dark secrets. Regular badminton provided a sense of health safety net. One and a half year after the demise of his buddy, he collapsed while taking a shower in the bathroom. He was only 45.

All of them had had heart attack. They were real people, these are true stories.

Heart health
Some people over 35 may already have the early stages of cardiovascular disease without even realizing it. When it comes to symptoms, most people think of chest pain in the left shoulder or arm. Unfortunately, 25 percent of all heart attacks happen “silently,” without clear or obvious signs. Common symptoms may be so mild or vague as to seem unrelated to the heart.

Some adults, especially those approaching middle age, are basically sitting ducks when it comes to heart disease and attacks. With the proper knowledge of warning signs and potential symptoms, regular check up and lifestyle change, it can be prevented, reversed, or even cured.

For Case 3 & 4, I’d not comment further on the additional lifestyle which obviously had contributed to the health problem, but I could not help but to point out that 3 of them had played badminton regularly or prior to the heart attack. For the young journalist, he signed up for gym & weight training prior to his passing.

Badminton or gym is good, but considered as vigorous sports/exercise. Perhaps vigorous exercise is not meant for everyone. How much is too much? When we do not know the existing condition of our health, or we do not know our fitness level, or when we are not in the best of our health, or when we are not getting any younger, perhaps we should seek alternative sports, which is less strenuous, and non-vigorous.

It is not a shame to be seen walking instead of jogging. It’s not a shame to be doing TaiChi instead of KungFu. 99% of people would usually say, “TaiChi? Not for me, it’s for old people!”…”Wait till I’m 65 years old, I’ll do TaiChi!".....Well, 1% of the younger people who did not think so are the early birds, and early bird catches worms.

A TaiChi Master said,
"I'll not teach you TaiChi if you've become too old to start as you cannot remember anything..."

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