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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Can running damage my heart ?

My wife told me, that running can damage my heart. Is this true ? I run double marathons every saturday. My heart rate in the morning is 30-35 bpm.
Sat, 6 Mar 2010
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June last year my five year old daughter went for a checkup because she has a supra umbilical hernia her doctor detected an abnormal sound and suggested we take her to the cardiologist. An echo was done and the results was as follows Normal LV size and function. LV EF = 75% Mild mitral regurgitation with eccentric jet behind the posterior mitral leaflet. Mild thickening of Anterior mitral leaflet tip. Norma. left atrial size. Tri leaflet aortic valve with normal function. Normal aortic root size. Trace triscuspid regurgitation, normal pulmonary valve. Normal right ventricle and right atrium. No intra cardiac shunts seen. Normal pericardial structures. LVIDD = 3.4 LA = 2.8 LIVIDS =1.9 AO =1.8 LVPWD = .5 HR =83 ISVD = .5 RVIDD =.6 So far she does not complain for any discomfort but another echo was supposed to be done recently and has been putting off because there is no echocardiographer available at the pediatric hospital for a while. The cardiologist has listen to her heartbeat and said that she just hear a slight murmur and I will have to revisit in the next six months provided an echocardiograph is done. She said my daughter can continue her normal activities. I am concern because my daughter is very energetic and I worry whether this can put an extra pressure on the heart and cause it to enlarge. What does it mean by mild thickening of anterior mirtal leaflet tip and trace triscuspid regurgitation. I have decided not to do the hernia surgery seeing that this the gap is just about a 1/2 cm and she has this concern.

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shih-mo's  Response
It will not damage your heart but make it stronger. If you take it to the extreme and attempt to run several marathons a week it may be detrimental to your long term heart health. A runners heart is usually slightly enlarged compared to a normal heart. Constantly pushing yourself to an extreme would cause the heart to enlarge even further. The heart walls also thicken. It becomes a larger more efficient pump. That is why your heart beat is only 30 to 35 bpm in the morning. You have a larger and stronger heart than the average person has and thus can pump more blood with each beat. The type of running you do can only benefit your chances of a long and disability free life. Keep it up!! Tell you wife to do a search for "elderly runners heart" (not that you are elderly) to see examples the effects of running has on long term health.
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