Heart conditions strike athletes, too. Despite their lean looks and healthy glow, athletes entering their 50s and 60s are seeing a dramatic rise in abnormal heart rhythms, known as arrhythmias. These older athletes are pushing their bodies harder than ever in the hope that exercise will keep them healthy and strong into their senior years.
But is it too much?
The Haywire Heart shares the latest research on a set of conditions dubbed “athlete’s heart.” Starting with a wide-ranging look at the telltale symptoms, The Haywire Heart explores the prevention and treatment of arrhythmias in endurance athletes and explains how you can recognize and reduce your potential risk.
Gripping case studies of exercise-induced disease illustrate how endurance athletes like you are confronting the problem. A frank discussion of exercise addiction will help you understand if your drive and determination go too far. And practical advice will guide those who suspect they have an arrhythmia on how to talk with a doctor about the condition and its proven treatments.
The Haywire Heart is a groundbreaking and critically important guide to heart care for athletes. The information contained in these pages will help you protect your heart now so that you can enjoy the healthy, active lifestyle that excites you and inspires your friends and family for decades to come.
If you’re an athlete, you already know that regular exercise is the best medicine for your general health. You’ve probably read the research suggesting that just 30 minutes a day is the ideal dose for improving your cardiovascular health. You’ve heard that those 30 minutes can reduce your risk of cancer and extend your life expectancy. And you may have laughed out loud.
Thirty minutes? That’s just a warm-up. What about those who live to push beyond? If a half hour is good, then surely more miles, day after day, year after year, must make you even fitter, even healthier, even happier. Right?
When it comes to exercise, there really can be too much of a good thing, as researchers and physicians now know.
The Haywire Heart is the first book to examine the latest findings and reveal a paradoxical truth: Many endurance athletes are damaging their hearts by repeatedly pushing to extremes. Tragically, training hard for top performance can cause abnormal heart rhythms. These arrhythmias are not just frightening. They can be deadly. And they’re being diagnosed in increasing numbers of athletes, particularly in those who continue to strive for more as they enter middle age.
The Haywire Heart explains in detail how and why endurance exercise could cause a variety of heart arrhythmias. It presents the medical evidence and lays out your chances of developing a heart condition from the sport you love. And it tells you what you can do to prevent more damage and stay active.
In short, you’ll come to understand “athlete’s heart,” a problem that until now has been shrouded in misinformation. And you’ll see that with help from The Haywire Heart, a healthier and happier life awaits.
Chris Case is the managing editor of VeloNews and author of the groundbreaking article “Cycling to Extremes” that brought the problem of the athlete’s heart to national attention. A competitive runner from the age of 12, Case was a silver medalist at the US National Cyclocross Championships. He is a neuroscience graduate of Colgate University and has conducted clinical research at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.
John Mandrola, MD, is a cardiac electrophysiologist as well as a runner and cyclist. His medical practice encompasses catheter ablation, including two decades of experience with AF ablation and cardiac device implantation. Mandrola has coauthored academic journal articles in the fields of electrophysiology, sports cardiology, palliative care, and outcomes research. He maintains a health, fitness, and medicine blog at drjohnm.org.
Lennard Zinn is a lifelong endurance athlete and a former member of the US national cycling team whose personal story of multifocal atrial tachycardia inspired this book. He is the senior technical writer for VeloNews and has reported on major stories for the magazine for more than 30 years. He holds a degree in physics from Colorado College and has held research positions at Los Alamos National Laboratory.