Thursday, August 9, 2012

Chronic Excessive Endurance Exercise Can Cause Cardiovascular Damage

Chronic, excessive, sustained endurance exercise may cause adverse structural remodeling of the heart and large arteries, a special review shows in the July/August 2012 issue of Missouri Medicine, the Journal of the Missouri State Medical Association.

The Special Review, authored by James H. O'Keefe, MD, the Missouri Medicine Preventive Health Editorial Board Member and Cardiologist at Saint Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, et al., authoritatively outlines that while a daily routine of physical activity is highly beneficial in the prevention and treatment of many prevalent chronic diseases, especially of the cardiovascular (CV) system, chronic, excessive sustained endurance exercise may cause adverse structural remodeling of the heart and large arteries.

An evolving body of data indicates that chronically training for and participating in extreme endurance competitions such as marathons, ultra-marathons, Iron-man distance triathlons, very long distance bicycle racing, etc., can cause acute volume overload of the atria and ventricle.  In veteran extreme endurance athletes, this recurrent myocardial injury and repair may eventually result in patchy myocardial fibrosis, which is abnormal thickening of the heart valves, potentially creating atrial and ventricular arrhythmias.

Furthermore, chronic, excessive, sustained, high-intensity endurance exercise may be associated with diastolic dysfunction, large-artery wall stiffening and coronary artery calcification. The review discusses the emerging understanding of the cardiac pathophysiology of extreme endurance exercise, and makes suggestions about healthier fitness patterns for promoting optimal CV health and longevity.

Read the full article online at

Missouri Medicine, the peer-reviewed, award-winning medical journal of the Missouri State Medical Association, reaches 6,500 physicians, and medical organizations and libraries statewide and around the nation is indexed by MEDLINE, the National Library of Medicine, and PubMed Central, which is the U.S. National Institutes of Health digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature.  Missouri Medicine can be found on EBSCOhost databases, which provide researchers with the ability to search full-text articles, and are the most-used, premium online information resources for tens of thousands of institutions worldwide, representing millions of end-users. Missouri Medicine also provides featured content for, a top world health care website.

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