A HEART TOO FAR
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The highest-mileage runners in the study were logging just minutes of running per week—and even at that relatively modest level, the range of uncertainty in the data left open the possibility that they might have a higher risk of death from heart disease than nonrunners.
Williams, Ph. The epidemiological debate pitted Lee, a genial ex-bodybuilder from South Korea who is now an assistant professor at Iowa State University, against Williams. In contrast to four years earlier, Lee emphasized the benefits of just a little vigorous exercise—five to 10 minutes a day, which is less, even, than the standard recommendation of at least 75 minutes per week—for living longer.
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His paper had divided the Cooper Clinic subjects into five groups based on weekly running mileage; at this symposium he presented a deeper look at the quintile doing the most running, splitting them into three subgroups. There was a hint that cardiac risk might be edging up for the top subgroup, but there was still no statistically significant increase in risk.
Williams, on the other hand, argued that more really is better, at least in some cases. In nearly every case, not only does running help, but more is better. For example, men running at least 40 miles a week were 26 percent less likely to develop coronary heart disease than those meeting health guidelines by running just 13 miles a week.
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For these runners, the best data we have comes from looking directly at what changes, and what potential warning signs show up in their hearts after decades of training. The most well-documented risk is atrial fibrillation, the most common type of the irregular or abnormal heart rhythms known as arrhythmias. Atrial fibrillation has been linked in several studies to cumulative years of exercise—most likely, Thompson said, because of an enlarged left atrium, where blood is stored after it returns from the lungs.
A more serious concern is the possibility that high doses of exercise can cause atherosclerosis, as calcium-rich plaques accumulate in the arteries leading to your heart. This is the condition that was diagnosed in Boston Marathon winner Amby Burfoot.
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The resulting narrowed and stiffened arteries can gradually reduce the supply of blood to the heart—or a plaque can suddenly rupture and cause a more serious blockage, triggering a heart attack. For example, British researchers presented data at a conference last year showing that long-term runners and cyclists—the subjects had been training for an average of 7. But more than 70 percent of plaques in male athletes were dense, stable plaques, compared with just 30 percent in nonathletes. Perhaps the most controversial topic is fibrosis, patches of scar tissue that may accumulate in the heart after prolonged wear and tear and could contribute to other conditions, such as atrial fibrillation.
In , British researchers examined the hearts of a remarkable group of 12 veteran athletes who had been training hard for an average of 43 years and had completed an average of marathons, 65 ultramarathons, and four Ironman triathlons each. After each of the ACSM talks, the speakers were surrounded by crowds of eager questioners, many with the lean and hungry look that betrayed their personal interest in the topic.
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Are there risk differences between men and women? A slim woman with dark hair approached Thompson and began peppering him with technical questions about his research. Do you take patients? The hearts of longtime runners are indeed different, it seems, but the consequences are unclear. The best way to get an answer would be a clinical trial in which people were randomly assigned to run various weekly distances for decades.
What if it turned out that running at least 40 miles a week would extend life by two years for 99 percent of people, but shorten it by 10 years for the other 1 percent? Would you carry on? Influencing change Turning back the tide on heart and circulatory diseases Air pollution APPG on Heart and Circulatory Diseases CPR training in schools Helping research thrive How we support the charity sector Strengthening health systems Tobacco control Working in partnership with other organisations Our campaign successes.
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Safe exercise: Know the warning signs of pushing too hard
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All about Cardiac Rehab. Meet the cardiac rehab team. Back to work after a heart attack. Hence, it is very important for such patients to take steps for the prevention of heart and blood vessel problems. When we start making changes towards improving our heart health, we are also helping our kidneys to stay healthy. The following steps are helpful in keeping the kidneys as well as the heart healthy:.
Get started protecting the heart today!
Set down personal goals and begin making changes one at a time. A healthcare provider can help prioritize the areas of change. If there is already some degree of kidney dysfunction, adopting some of the above recommendations might help. The following steps are helpful in keeping the kidneys as well as the heart healthy: Get tested.
As it turns out, heart disease is a risk factor for kidney disease and kidney disease is a known risk factor for heart disease. Eat a balanced, kidney and heart healthy, diet. Reduce sodium in the diet. Reduce foods that are high in saturated fats and cholesterol like eggs, whole milk, cheese and fried foods.
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Eat more foods that are rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids like cold water fish, flaxseed oil, canola oil and walnuts. Increase physical activity.