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WHY IS INCIDENCE OF MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION MORE IN MORNING WALKERS?

OP Kapoor

Ex. Hon. Physician, Jaslok Hospital and Bombay Hospital, Mumbai, Ex. Hon. Prof. of Medicine, Grant Medical College and JJ Hospital, Mumbai 400 008.

The other day I read an article by a layman in the newspaper warning that morning walk is bad and increases the chances of having respiratory allergy. To my knowledge this is not true. But one thing is certain that I see a number of these patients who get myocardial infarction, although they have been morning walkers for the last many years. Why? I have asked that question to myself. It has been known that patients of hypertension who have been taking treatment for years together have "more" incidence of myocardial infarction than the normal population. The explanation is simple because they live long enough and do not die of stroke or CRF (chronic renal failure) which the drugs for hypertension can prevent. Unfortunately, the drugs do not prevent IHD (Ischaemic heart disease).

Similarly, if you see places like Hanging Garden, Priyadarshini Park at Nepean Sea Road or Joggers Park at Bandra or parks at New Bombay, majority of the people who go there for walking have multiple risk factors.

It is worth noting that a number of them who are obese remain obese inspite of the usual walk. It is also worth noting that only "a few hundred" walkers out of the total local population are seen every day in these parks and it is unusual to see any new faces.

Walking certainly decreases cholesterol, reduces blood pressure, blood sugar, and increases collateral circulation of the heart. It increases effort tolerance and musculo skeletal performance of the body. In fact, even the mental health is boosted. Unfortunately, such people who come to do regular exercise, have got multiple risk factors. Very small percentage come to lose weight. Most of them are diabetic, hypertensive, have ischaemic heart, a bad family history, raised lipids and Continue to smoke and drink because they do morning walking.

The above is the observation as to why in my practice I find high incidence of myocardial infarction in morning walkers.


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