A new scientific review offers both reassurance and some caution. It found that while most athletes’ hearts can withstand most exercise, there are exceptions.
Exercise, of course, is in general extremely beneficial for heart health. Dozens of epidemiological studies have found that people who exercise in any amount are much less likely to develop or die from heart disease than people who are sedentary .
But these studies contain a disquieting subtext. Their plotted data typically shows some type of bell curve to the heart benefits from exercise, meaning that the more people work out, the less they are at risk of cardiac problems -up to a point, and then the benefits plateau or decline.
Strenuous Work Outs Can Make Inherited Cardiac Abnormalities Worse, Say Researchers
Dr Paul Thompson, chief of cardiology at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut and his colleagues along with scientists at the Radboud University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, decided to delve more comprehensively into the available data on the topic. The findings of the new study , being published next month should reassure most of us. There is no evidence that there is a level of exercise that is dangerous or too much for a normal, healthy person.
At the same time, those of us who work out should understand that frequent exercise training causes “profound changes in cardiac physiology and structure“.
In the short term, these changes can mimic heart damage with cardiac cells often becoming “leaky“ after strenuous workouts, releasing proteins into the bloodstream that, in other circumstances, could indicate a heart attack. These proteins usually disappear within a few days, and the heart seems to recover fully, Dr Thompson said.
But there are outliers. Seemingly healthy people for whom strenuous exercise holds unexpected dangers.
Older marathon runners can be as susceptible as their sedentary counterparts to atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaques in the arteries, the studies show. Exercising may increase the risk that the plaques will rupture, precipitating a heart attack. According to the new review, people with inherited heart abnormalities, such as cardiomyopathy may exacerbate their conditions with strenuous exercise.
Source: Times of India 31st Dec’2015