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How Bad Is Cardio For The Heart? Leeds University Investigating Cardiovascular Health In Endurance Sports

FACTS: British Heart Foundation (BHF) has partnered up with Leeds University to study how exercise impacts the heart in endurance athletes. 100 mature athletes over the age of 55 will have monitors placed just under the skin for two years to collect heartbeat data. In addition, they will undergo MRI scans to be checked for heart scarring. BHF and Leeds is looking to see if at certain levels of endurance sports, like running and biking, cause irregular heart beats. They hypothesize that irregular heart beats lead to scarring, linking endurance sports to heart disease.

QUOTES: Dr Peter Swoboda, a cardiologist from the School of Medicine,“For an athlete, an abnormal heart rhythm can often result in the end of their career, and we are all familiar of the devastating but rare occurrence of sudden death during sport. With the implantable monitors set to detect billions of heartbeats, we are going to learn so much through this study, including whether heart scarring is linked to irregular heart rhythms. This could help identify who is most at risk, and some of the lessons we learn could be applied to younger athletes, too.”