Shane Warne's death sparks health warning for Aussie men: 'No sign or symptoms'

When the world heard about cricket legend Shane Warne's unexpected death, sadness and shock filled the hearts of those who knew and loved him.

But his seemingly sudden death, at the young age of 52, sparked another conversation, and perhaps acted as a warning for other Aussie men.

An autopsy in Thailand confirmed on Monday the sporting legend died from "natural causes" following a suspected heart attack in his luxury Thailand villa where he was staying with friends.

Former Australian cricketer and FOX Sports commentator Shane Warne is seen during day one of the Third Test match in the Ashes series between Australia and England at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 26, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Cricket legend Shane Warne died suddenly at the age of 52 sparking concern for other Aussie men. Source: Getty

This followed a period of extreme dieting, a "fluid only" juice diet which his manager James Erskine branded "ridiculous", and naturally sparked concern about its impact on heart health.

Dangers of extreme diets

The Heart Foundation does not endorse or recommend crash or extreme diets, the foundation's chief medical adviser, cardiologist Professor Garry Jennings, told Yahoo News Australia, especially for those with heart disease.

"The biggest reason not to go on an extreme diet is that they are usually unsustainable in that they eliminate essential food groups, or encourage unhealthy eating habits," he said.

"Very low carbohydrate diets do not provide adequate nutrition, particularly antioxidants, dietary folate, calcium and dietary fibre, and may also raise ‘bad’ cholesterol levels if followed in the long term especially when they are high in saturated fat."

Heart Foundation share ten steps to a healthy heart (left) doctor checking man's heart (right)
It's recommended all men 45 years and older should have regular heart checks. Source: Heart Foundation/Getty

The health risks that may lead to heart disease

According to a Heart Foundation survey, less than half of men are aware of risk factors for heart disease. Only six per cent of men know that high cholesterol is a risk factor, and only four per cent know that high blood pressure can also increase risk.

"This is concerning because there are usually no signs or symptoms for high blood pressure or high cholesterol, yet they increase your risk of heart attack and stroke," Professor Jennings said.

It's recommended all men 45 years and older should have regular heart checks.

"It’s common to hear men say that a heart attack or stroke was the first sign that something was wrong," Professor Jennings said.

"Having a Heart Health Check gives you the best chance of reducing your risk of a heart attack or stroke."

Tributes to Australian cricketer Shane Warne outside the MCG in Melbourne, Monday, March 7, 2022. Australian cricket legend Shane Warne has died of a suspected heart attack, aged 52. Warne was found unresponsive in his villa in Koh Samui, Thailand. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING
Tributes are flowing outside the MCG in Melbourne for Australian cricket legend Shane Warne. Source: AAP Image/Joel Carrett

Know the critical signs of a heart attack

The most common warning signs of a heart attack in men are chest discomfort or pain, which can spread to the arms, neck, jaw or back.

And while around half of men know that chest pain is a common heart attack symptom, the Heart Foundation says far fewer know the other warning signs, which can include jaw, neck or back pain, dizziness or lightheadedness, feeling anxious, nausea or indigestion, sweating or feeling short of breath.

"We also know that less than a third of men call an ambulance when experiencing the warning signs of a heart attack. It’s important for men to know all the possible warning signs and to call triple zero (000) right away," Professor Jennings warned.

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