Medical Minute: Know Your Heart
The recent news of Bronny James, LeBron James' son, going into cardiac arrest during a practice has sparked many conversations around the world on heart health.
“I don't have direct knowledge of Bronny James' situation other than what's been publicly reported, but here at OhioHealth we do evaluate a lot of athletes who have suspected or known heart issues,” said OhioHealth cardiologist Kanny Grewal, MD.
Dr. Grewal explained that during a cardiac arrest, there's a sudden stoppage in the heart's pumping ability which causes a person to lose consciousness and pass out.
When it comes to heart health and heart disease, anyone could be at risk.
“Heart disease is definitely more common as people get older because most heart conditions develop over time due to different common risk factors, we all hear about,” Dr. Grewal said, “So when something like this happens in a younger person whether it's an athlete or young adult, it does generate a lot of attention and surprise.”
A younger person going into cardiac arrest could happen due to different reasons than what could be seen in older adults.
“It could be a congenital problem they could be born with, an electrical problem, or sometimes an unusual structural problem in the heart,” Dr. Grewal said.
Dr. Grewal recommends that young athletes report any unusual health symptoms to their coach, a parent or an adult.
“This would include chest pain, dizziness while they're exercising or competing, difficulty breathing that's out of the ordinary,” Dr. Grewal said, “Any of those symptoms should get attention right away.”
If a younger person or athlete doesn't have these symptoms but does an activity that puts a strain or the heart or if heart disease runs in the family, there are screenings that go beyond a typical physical.
“This could include an ultrasound of the heart to look for structural problems, or what we call an electrocardiogram (EKG) to look for irregular heart rhythms,” Dr. Grewal said.
OhioHealth does provide these resources for anyone or for athletes, who may be experiencing symptoms or who aren't, but want to get checked just in case.
For OhioHealth sports screenings, click here.
For a list of OhioHealth cardiologists, click here.
For more information on heart disease prevention, click here.