Just read this…
…and thought, “What the heck is wrong with our hearts?!”
The last couple of years has seen a rash of ex and current/young and old pros go down with some kind of heart issue. Even on the TR forum there are plenty of users with heart issues (myself included).
Is this just a form of bias and mis-thinking to believe heart issues are more prevalent in endurance athletes than the general public? Is it the same level of occurrence but surfaces more, and with more severity, simply because we use our hearts more?
In my case, if I wasn’t training/racing, I would have never been alerted to my wonky heart issue (whatever it may be). It might not have surfaced with obviousness for another 20 years, and then I’d be classified as “normal” because of my age.
Has the TR podcast ever touched on heart health issues?
Is this just a form of bias and mis-thinking to believe heart issues are more prevalent in endurance athletes than the general public?
This is it. Remember, when your sedentary, hypertensive, diabetic co-worker drops dead, it doesn’t make news. Cardiovascular disease is still the leading cause of death amongst all adults in the U.S.
There was a cohort study a few years ago that followed up on the mortality of prior TdF riders, and it was significantly lower than the general population. Found it
Atrial fibrillation does seem to be more common in endurance athletes, but it’s association with adverse outcomes (stroke, death) is still unclear.
It’s important to recall that being an athlete doesn’t protect you from lots of diseases. Atherosclerotic heart disease is only one kind. Having a mutation that causes arrhythmias (which is what it sort of sounds like Portal had), anomalous coronary artery, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, etc, can be just as common in athletes as the general population, and carries the same mortality risks.
Almost everyone in the USA has coronary artery disease. Fatty streaks make their first appearance in the arteries of children of pre school age. This is nothing new, it’s been known for 50 years and it’s getting worse very year.
So I made the very reasonable assumption that I have some, too.
There’s only one clinically proven way to actually reverse it.
An ultra low fat, high carb, starch based diet seems to also benefit cycling performance, it sure isn’t holding ME back.