Athlete’s Heart

Like any muscle, your heart gets stronger with exercise.

Athlete’s heart, or athletic heart syndrome, is a heart condition that can occur with intensive daily exercise or training. It demonstrates the unique ability of the heart to adapt, becoming larger with slightly thicker muscle walls to meet the physical demands athletes place on their bodies. Though athlete’s heart is harmless, it can produce irregular pulse at rest, extremely low resting heart rates and electrocardiogram abnormalities.

An enlarged heart in athletes is usually just the result of an active lifestyle; however, it could also be a serious medical condition.

Athlete’s heart causes no symptoms and requires no treatment. However, if an athlete has chest pain, an irregular heart rate or has passed out, it is important to see a physician to rule out any other serious heart issues, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Otherwise, the condition is generally detected during routine testing for unrelated symptoms. Some physicians may recommend a period of deconditioning to allow for additional testing to ensure the condition is not a more serious cardiac issue.

Symptoms may include:
• No symptoms
• Chest pain
• Irregular heartbeat
• Fainting

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