Regular check-ups are the best prevention against heart attacks, said Mount Elizabeth Hospitals' cardiologist Dinesh Nair, as he addressed his audience yesterday at the final clinic for the Straits Times Run before next Sunday's race day.
During the hour-long session at the Suntec City Rewards Lounge, Dr Nair also discussed the four main reasons why runners collapse after a race: dehydration, low sodium, suddenly stopping the run, and heart-related issues.
The 48-year-old said: "Everything starts and ends with the heart. Many people have come and told me that they have done an ECG (electrocardiogram), so their heart is normal.
"No, that means their ECG is normal but that only means they have less risk as compared to an abnormal ECG.
"What you need to do is see the right healthcare individual and get a proper assessment of your risk done."
The talk, titled "A Runner's Life: How to Catch a Heart Attack Before it Catches You", was attended by more than 30 people.
Real estate agent Simon Ho, who runs 5-10km twice a week and 15km on the weekend, said that the talk served as a reminder for him to constantly keep his heart in check.
The 58-year-old, who has high blood pressure and high cholesterol, said: "I really learned how to take care of my heart and the various risk signs that I should be wary of.
"I understood that you should know your body and listen to it. Especially since I'm ageing, I need to take good care of my body. It's good to know more so that I can take care of my body well."
Dr Nair's advice was informative and useful, agreed enrolled nurse Julie Ann Bannawi.
The 26-year-old runs thrice a week and like Ho, will take part in the ST Run.
She said: "From today I will make sure to cool down after a run and not suddenly stop.
"I now also have a basis on how to calculate my heart rate. I need to calculate my heart rate and from now on I will monitor it whenever I run."