Extreme sports could cause heart damage

Jeremy Laurance
Wednesday 07 December 2011 01:00 GMT
Comments

The growing popularity of extreme sports such as marathon running and Ironman triathlons may be putting competitors at risk of permanent damage to their hearts, researchers have warned.

A study by researchers from the University of Melbourne, Australia, of 40 elite athletes training for an endurance event found their hearts changed shape during the race, increasing in size but decreasing in pumping power. There were signs of excessive stretching of heart muscle cells.

The hearts recovered in most of the athletes after one week, but in five, who had been training and competing longer than the others, there were signs of scarring suggesting the damage was permanent.

Experts stressed that the risk was small and vastly outweighed by the benefits of exercise.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in