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10, including kids, die of heart failure at Garba dance performances in Gujarat

Doctors reasoned how the incidence of heart attacks is spiking over time and advise the simple way to play safely is to take a break and rehydrate yourself.

But how come ten people, including children, die of cardiac arrest at Garba in 24 hours, and that at different places of Gujarat? Garba had been going on for six days, and every year it is celebrated.

SEE: The basics of Garba dance - video
Also SEE: Lessons in Dandiya dance - video

GANDHINAGAR, Oct 23: Ten people, several of them teenagers, died after suffering sudden cardiac arrest while performing Garba dance in various places in Gujarat during the ongoing nine-day Navratri festival.

The latest of the cases is of 17-year-old Veer Shah who was performing the dance at the celebrations in Kapadvanj Kheda district on Friday. He suddenly complained of dizziness and became unresponsive. He was bleeding from the nose. Given first aid, he was taken to hospital. When his parents reached the hospital they were told he had passed away because of a heart attack.

Following Veer's death many organisations called off their events.

A 13-year-old boy Vaibhav Soni passed away due to heart attack in Dabhoi in Vadodara. He was riding his bicycle back from a Garba event when he fell down. He was treated for injuries at a hospital and sent home. At home he apparently slept but did not get up for a long time. Parents took him to the hospital where he was declared brought dead. He too died of a heart failure.

The eight other cases also, strangely, occurred in the previous 24 hours. They included 28-year-old Ravi Panchal from Ahmedabad, who collapsed while performing the Garba and died, and a 55-year-old Shankar Rana, who also collapsed while bopping in Vadodara. Navsari and Rajkot also reported deaths.

The 108 emergency ambulance services in Gujarat received 521 calls for heart-related issues and 609 other calls for breathlessness over the first six days of Navratri, till Friday, according to reports. All the episodes occurred between 6 pm and 2 am. Garbha dance is performed in the night.

The Government has asked hospitals and community health centres (CHCs) to be on high alert. The Navratri celebrations end on Monday evening.

It is reported that many organisers of the events are hiring doctors and ambulances to be on the standby at the venues.

The causes: According to cardiologists, sedentary life styles, mainly consuming processed food, contributing to arterial congestion and high blood pressure are leading causes of increasing instances of heart failures in the younger people. The workload on the heart will increase as there is increased demand for oxygen in intense physical exercise. If there are underlying problems the strained heart will fail. Mostly the cause of collapse in such situations is coronary insufficiency. Severe dehydration is yet another cause where the blood thickens and availability to vital organs becomes scarce, especially the exercising muscles take away much of the available supply.

Obesity, BP, diabetes are contributing factors for heart attacks, doctors say.

Precaution: The simple way to play safely is to take a break and rehydrate yourself, they say. However, you should not have any underlying health issues, especially cardiac. It is quite normal these days to have automated external defibrillators, which can really save lives, and one trained in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) at public places.

Symptoms: Dizziness, irregular heartbeat, breathing difficulty or weakness should not be ignored, especially during a physical activity.

Garba and Dandiya dances: Garba, native to Gujarat, is a strenuous, prolonged dance performed in groups usually in concentric shapes symbolising life cycle, although it has no strict format like in Dandiya and is performed like bopping to pop but is very hard.

While Garba is performed with hands and involves various foot and body movements, and rarely using sticks also, dandiyas or sticks are always used in Dandiya dance played in groups of men, women and children following strict rules of steps and movements. Dandiya is also called Dandiya Raas in Gujarat, where it is a folk dance. When played during Navratri, both are honouring Goddess Durga, the destroyer of Evil, also called Mahishasura Mardini or Kathyayani. Dandiya also replicates the Holi played by Lord Krishna in Vrindavan.

The Navratri celebrations started on October 15 all over the country come to an end on October 23.


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Doctors reasoned how the incidence of heart attacks is spiking over time and advise the simple way to play safely is to take a break and rehydrate yourself.

But how come ten people, including children, die of cardiac arrest at Garba in 24 hours, and that at different places of Gujarat? Garba had been going on for six days, and every year it is celebrated.

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