Nandamuri Taraka Ratna, the celebrity actor of Telugu cinema and grandson of legendary NT Rama Rao, suffered cardiac arrest while on padyatra and passed away in Bengaluru yesterday on 18th February 2023. He was only 39, just few days shy of his 40th birthday.
In recent times, there have been several cases of untimely demise of celebrities due to heart attack/cardiac arrest. For instance, Puneeth Rajkumar (aged 46) of Kannada cinema, TV actor Sidharth Shukla (aged 40), the star comedian Raju Srivastav (aged 58), TV actor Deepesh Bhan (aged 41) – they were all celebrities, middle aged and gym enthusiasts. Not to comment on these specific cases, but is there any pattern or linkages?
We often hear of performance pressure or stress that celebrities face. There is obvious requirement of maintaining the youthful appearance and muscular, athletic built. No wonder, regular workouts become imperative for them which make them gym enthusiasts especially the food lovers who go to gyms for burning calories as well. Nothing wrong so far, except the awareness of basics of working of biological machine that we all are.
It is always useful to refer to the user manual of any machine that we use, particularly given we ourselves are a complex biological machine. Health and life simply mean if the parts of the machine (which undergo wear and tear with passing time making them less efficient) are working smoothly in tandem with other parts.
This machine called ‘body’ is powered by an engine, a pumping set, that supplies essentials to the cells through network of pipelines throughout the body. This pumping set starts working much before our birth and never stops till we are alive. Needless to say, this too is subject to regular wear and tear like any part of a machine as per nature of nature. With time, particularly after forties, efficiency of this pumping set gradually reduces. The network of pipelines also suffer reduction in efficiency due to unwanted internal deposits and blockades (just like in the kitchen sink pipes or the silt deposits in canals and rivers), particularly the narrow ones supplying the cells of the pumping set itself. Therefore, common sense dictates that as pumping set and the pipelines get older, the less and less load should be given to it for smooth functioning.
However, just opposite usually happens – the pumping set end up being overworked and overloaded as the pump and pipelines become less efficient with age. No wonder, it fails or stops in the midway at times. Obesity following overfeeding (consuming more calories than required) is one of key reasons behind increased load on the pumping engine as more cells need to be fed and supplied with oxygen than the situation of normal weight. Overzealous workouts by gym enthusiasts to burn calories or to tone muscles, similarly, put unnecessary extra load. But the most problematic and dangerous is ignorance about current state of deposits and blockades in narrow pipelines supplying the pump set itself (what we call coronary arteries). It is in this situation when the pump engines usually fail due to overload (and death occurs) because adequate amount of food and oxygen fail to reach the cells of the pump set due to narrowed or blocked pipelines.
Maintaining normal body weight, eating less, controlling weight by reducing food intake (people die of consequences of overeating), saying no to sugar and sweets, reducing intake of rice, potato and wheat (millets are much better as food grain), finishing last meal before sun set, occasional fasting, etc are some ways to maintain good health. If middle-aged, it’s important to know about the status of blockades in coronary arteries before considering high intensity exercises and serious workouts. Physical activity is good but it’s important know limits of your machine.
Moderation is the mantra. No need of overzealous physical activity. Being healthy means normal ranges of body weight, blood sugar, BP, lipid profile etc. (not six packs and super toned muscles).