Do you have any idea of who would have more clogging of the arteries in their heart? According to the issue of Missouri Medicine of March/April 2014, this condition is more common in men (slightly older and much leaner) who have ran at least one marathon annually for 25 years, thus adding weight to the issue of ‘excessive endurance exercise hypothesis’ and according to which, too much exercise (marathon training, exercise, etc) leads to negative effects in the heart.
As authored by father/son cardiologists duo Robert and Jonathan Schwartz, cardiologist James O’Keefe, the article “Increased Coronary Artery Plaque Volume Among Male Marathon Runners” as a part of their research investigated 50 men (average age 59) and had ran at least one marathon a year for 25 years versus a sedentary group of control group (average age 55) with a number of conditions – lower weight, BMI, hypertension, lipids, diabetes and resting heart rates. From them, it was found out that there was no diabetes of the 50 marathoners but had higher HDL cholesterol levels as compared to the sedentary men who had 17 percent diabetes.
But male marathon runners had increased total plaque volume, calcified plaque volume and non-calcified plaque volume (a kind of softer cholesterol deposit which causes a heart attack or stroke by becoming dislodged from the artery wall).
High future mortality rates have a chance of even prevailing among people with no symptoms of heart disease because of ‘Agatson scores’ which is linked to high calcium scores. In order to find that, coronary calcium scans are used by the investigators in order to measure the degree of atherosclerotic plaque in subjects.
Though the new ‘artery plaque’ study didn’t look for mortality rates or longevity, yet it still measured the health of the heart, that is, the calcium score; but in the words of the principal author of Runner’s World Newswire, Robert Schwartz, this is clearly not an outcome study, because coronary calcium is the best predictor of cardiac events only for the general population and not for the marathoners. To get their true predictor, more studies and researches needs to be followed.
Smoking is also known to affect the heart resulting in many heart disorders and because of that, a study had been carried out on the marathoners in the Schwartz et al study, which could confound the results of the study.
As with all observational studies, there remain many questions. But even then, these studies can’t give all the answers since they can’t unravel cause and effect and also, it’s kind of impossible to carry out any kind of experiment on marathoners, let alone on their health of the heart.
Even though, it’s a given that not many of them have the time, desire or talent to chase the Olympics and which is why running and occasional marathons are the best option for them. However, yes, at the same time, runners do tend to die while jogging or even, running. It is best to invest in a more complete, safe and efficient form of proper exercise instead like the one suggested by successful owner and director of Intense Health Clinic, Marcelo Mesquita;
“Proper exercise should enhance your function ability in performing simple to hard tasks, stimulating an up-regulation cascade process thru out all the sub systems of your organism given significant meaning for generating a genetic expression of optimum health and longevity. It must be intense but also efficient and safe form of exercise; that’s what I call: smart exercise!”