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Marathon Runners Can Die From Heart Attacks

Runners, Marathon, New York, New York State, USA
Adam Woolfitt
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Marathon runners are not immune to fatal heart attacks, new research shows. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the chances that marathon runners can die from heart attacks has been rising steadily over the past decade.

Scientists examined the heart attack incidents and outcomes that were associated with marathons and half-marathons in the US. Their investigation required analysis of 10,900,000 men and women who competed in marathons between 1 January 2000 and 31 May 2010. What they found should serve as an eye opener to marathoners everywhere.


Marathoners Have A Slight But Growing Risk Of Having A Fatal Heart Attack

Researchers learned that out of nearly 11 million marathoners, 59 suffered cardiac arrest - 42 of which were fatal. Full marathons proved to be more dangerous than half marathons, accounting for more heart attacks directly related to running. Men were also more prone to heart attacks than women.

Scientific investigators said that cardiovascular disease contributed to the majority of the heart attacks.

Although the likelihood of long distance runners suffering a heart attack continues to remain slight relative to the general population, the risk is still there and growing.

It's interesting to note that most of the heart attack victims were on average 42 year old men. Although, this is a relatively young group, if these people spent the majority of their lives sitting on the sofa, they would not be as healthy as seasoned athletes i.e. people who had been exercising for many years. 

Some folks reading this article might be shocked to learn that exercise can cause heart attacks, but it makes sense if you think about it. 

The heart is a muscle, it's job is to pump oxygen and nutrients to the billions and billions of cells that make up the human body.

Exercise increases the body's demands for food and oxygen. If the heart is sickly - from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, clogged arteries or other problems associated with heart disease - it will make the heart's job much harder to do.

Even a slight risk of death is greater than no risk.

This is one of the reasons why people are often warned to see a health care professional before participating in any strenous exercise event.

 The scientists working on the current study concluded that: "Cardiac arrest, most commonly attributable to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or atherosclerotic coronary disease, occurs primarily among male marathon participants; the incident rate in this group increased during the past decade."

With more and more people getting involved in marathons in recent years, this is definitely something to think about.


Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.

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Article Source

Kim, J.H., Malhotra, R., Chiampas, G., d'Hemecourt, P., Troyanos, C., and Cianca, J. et al. Cardiac Arrest during Long-Distance Running Races. N Engl J Med 2012; 366: 130 -140.


"Marathon Runners Can Die From Heart Attacks" copyright © 2012 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved. 

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