When word got out about “Biggest Loser” trainer Bob Harper’s heart attack, people were shocked.
“He’s in such good shape!”
“How can someone so healthy have a heart attack?”
Harper’s heart attack is a strong reminder that even typically healthy people are at risk for a heart attack.
Harper Suffered A Heart Attack While At The Gym
The 51-year-old athlete suffered a heart attack while exercising at a New York City gym.
He reportedly collapsed during a workout. Luckily, a doctor also working out at the gym gave Harper CPR and used AED paddles to keep him alive.
Harper remained unconscious for two days after the attack. Doctors kept him at the hospital for eight days. Since being released, Harper wears monitors to help keep track of how his heart is doing.
But, how does someone known for a healthy lifestyle have a major heart attack?
In Harper’s case, as for many others, it’s a family thing.
Heart Attacks Can Be Hereditary
Most people think heart attacks happen due to a poor diet or lack of exercise.
While this is true, doctors want us to know that our family’s health history is a factor, too.
“Certain genetic and vascular conditions can predispose individuals to heart attacks at young ages,” explained Malissa J. Wood, M.D., co-director of the Corrigan Women’s Heart Health Program at Massachusetts General Hospital to SHAPE magazine.
In fact, Harper told TMZ that his mother actually died of a heart attack. So, it is likely that his condition is hereditary.
So, how can we take care of ourselves to try to avoid a heart attack?
Clean Eating + Exercise = Happy Heart
Yes, we’ve all heard it before: Eat healthy and move.
While these things won’t guarantee heart attack prevention, they certainly help.
During an interview with SHAPE Magazine, Deirdre J. Mattina, M.D., director of the Women’s Heart Center at Henry Ford Hospital echoed this common advice.
“Coronary artery disease (the buildup of cholesterol in the heart’s arteries) is mostly preventable by avoiding ‘toxic’ substances in your diet, like sugar, processed foods, and high amounts of animal protein.”
She added that dropping “toxic” habits, such as inactivity and smoking, are also the best ways to avoid heart disease.