Is it all because I was an athelete?

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When I was chatting to the fella as he did an echo-cardiogram, I told him I used to cycle race to National Championship levels, ableit maybe decades ago, "ah" he says, "that explains what I am seeing, you have atheletes heart".

Is it possible I pushed my heart to hard and am now paying the price? 

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    It means that you are fit and have a slow heart rate. My heart rate was in the 40's and (even at my age) and nurses would ask 'Did you used to be very fit? My GP runs is quite proud of his low heart rate

    The physical demands placed on the body can trigger an athlete’s heart to grow in size. This condition is called “athlete’s heart” and is non-fatal.  Milind Desai, MD, an expert in athlete’s heart, explains athletes can “develop enlarged hearts with slightly thicker muscle walls and lower heart function due to their high endurance sporting activities.”

    Stopping all high endurance activities for 3-6 months should tell the difference between athlete’s heart and HCM.

    Though athlete’s heart is a non-fatal condition, it is often confused with a potentially dangerous condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM. The two can be difficult to tell apart. 

    In athlete’s heart and HCM, the walls of the heart become slightly thicker and heart function can be borderline low. Both conditions can be identified by advanced cardiac imaging tests. But unlike HCM, athlete’s heart causes no symptoms. 

    According to Dr. Desai, the definitive way to differentiate between the two is to stop all high endurance activities for 3-6 months and then remeasure the heart. 

    “By stopping the high endurance activities has the heart wall thickness come down? Has the heart size shrunk? If the answers are yes, then we know this is indeed athlete’s heart and not hypertrophic cardiomyopathy,” 

    Dr. Desai’s advice to concerned athletes

    An undiagnosed case of HCM has the potential to be fatal. And a case of athlete’s heart misdiagnosed as HCM could end a promising athletic career prematurely. Desai advises anyone with a suspected case of HCM or athlete’s heart to seek out an accurate diagnosis . Once cleared by their doctors, players with athlete’s heart should have no fear of returning to normal sports and activities.

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