Can dancing cause heart attack or cardiac arrest?


A video of a man said to be in his 40s, is trending online. The man in the viral video is seen enthusiastically dancing at a wedding event. The happiness and celebration don’t continue for long as the man collapses while dancing. Later, it was reported that the man died of cardiac arrest. A similar incident was reported in September in which a 20-year-old suffered cardiac arrest while he was in the middle of a dance performance on the occasion of Ganeshotsav. Such reports have made many wonder if dancing can cause cardiac arrest!

People often say dance your heart out, but it might not be such a good idea for everyone.

To explore the connection between dancing and cardiac arrest, Health Shots spoke with Dr Nishith Chandra, Principal Director, Interventional Cardiology, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Okhla Road, New Delhi.

dancing benefits
There is no direct link between dancing and cardiac arrest. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Link between dancing and cardiac arrest

Dr Chandra said that there is no direct link between dancing and cardiac arrest, but noted that sudden unaccustomed exercise can put a person at a risk of cardiac arrest.

He pointed out that if a person who has not been staying physically active, and suddenly, he or she starts dancing or hits the treadmill or participates in sports, then that person can be at a risk of cardiac arrest.

He added that it’s not the dancing itself, but the sudden unaccustomed physical movement that “can lead to cardiac arrest.”

Combination of dance and drinks can trigger cardiac arrest

When you are at a wedding event or enjoying with your friends, you tend to drink a little. “A lot of people have alcoholic drinks and some even try out party drugs at such events. They can also put people at a risk of cardiac arrest at that time. That’s how you can link these episodes with dancing,” said the expert.

According to him, dancing atmosphere is of that nature where there is a very high adrenaline rush and excitement, all factors that can contribute to cardiac arrest.

alcohol and sex drive
Alcohol and dancing might not be a great combination. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Can people with family history of heart disease dance?

Generally, we know if our dad or someone on the mother’s side has a heart condition. According to Dr Chandra, there are certain genetic abnormalities that can predispose a person for cardiac arrest.

1. Long QT syndrome

It is an inherited heart problem that affects how your heart beats, and it is one of the causes of sudden cardiac death in young, otherwise healthy, people, according to National Health Service (NHS).

2. Brugada syndrome

It is a rare but a serious condition that can cause the heart to beat dangerously fast, as per NHS. It is usually caused by a faulty gene that’s inherited from a parent.

3. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

It is most often caused by abnormal genes in the heart muscle, and as Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy progresses, it can cause health problems. It may lead to heart failure, and can also lead to sudden cardiac arrest, according to American Heart Association.

Diabetes might not always go well with dancing

If you have diabetes, it’s not just your diet or list of medicines that you need to watch. The cardiologist shared that diabetes is one of the major risk factors of heart problems, in addition to smoking. It puts the patient at a risk of heart attack and heart attack leads to cardiac arrest. So, diabetes and vigorous dancing might not do much good to your health.

heart attack and dancing
Dancing and diabetes are a good combination for your heart. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Champions of sedentary lifestyle need to be cautious about dancing

Regularly working out? Then your heart can take the sudden surge of exercise or dance. But someone who is leading a sedentary life and suddenly starts dancing or exercising then it that may lead to cardiac arrest, warned the doctor.

So bye bye dancing?

You don’t have to stay away from dancing. “You should regularly exercise and go for regular check-ups if there is a risk factor in the family,” avers Dr Chandra, who suggested that there should be a law where gym trainers should be CPR certified and should keep automated external defibrillator (AED) in all the gyms. This way he feels that people can hit the gyms or dance their heart out without worrying about cardiac arrest.



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