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Life Experience

Disturbed heart rhythm – risk of sudden cardiac death

If you are in tip-top physical condition and exercising a lot you may be in greater danger than you realise. I thought I was super-fit but one day, at the age of 76, I unexpectedly felt faint and had a fast heart beat. I was later told that this “episode” could have proved fatal. It may have been caused by too much exercise. There is such a thing as “over-doing it”. There is a lot of evidence for this but it is not widely publicised.

This is a quote from an article in the Daily Telegraph. In spite of some risk I am sure it remains true that plenty of regular exercise is good for you.

From The Daily Telegraph, “ Abnormal heart rhythms. A long but gentle session on the treadmill can’t hurt, right? Wrong. Those who regularly engage in endurance sports are at risk of causing permanent structural changes to heart muscles which scientists describe as ‘cardiotoxic’.Such changes are believed to predispose athletes to arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythms), making them more prone to sudden cardiac death.

For years, a handful of clean-living sports nuts have sat smug in the knowledge that tobacco, caffeine and recreational drugs are the main causes of an irregular heart beat. But studies released by the European Heart Journal in 2013 suggest that – especially for those with a family history of irregular heartbeats – overdoing the fat-burning workout can also contribute to poor cardio health.The study, which measured the heart rhythms of over 52,000 cross-country skiiers during a ten year period, found that the risk of arrhythmia is increased with every race completed, and was up to 30pc higher for those who competed year-on-year for a period of five years. Exercise intensity also affected results: those who finished fastest were at higher risk for arrhythmia.”

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David Roberts

Writer, publisher, music promoter

Born in 1942, I now have time to enjoy life more widely and reflect on my experience, interests, and contemporary events.

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