August 15, 2014 – Marathon Woes
Anchor lead: Turns out marathon runners face a bigger risk than heart attacks, Elizabeth Tracey reports
We’ve all heard the stories of marathon runners, ostensibly at the peak of physical fitness, suffering heart attacks and dying while in a race. Now a new study dispels that concern, but brings up another one. Michael Blaha, a preventive cardiology expert at Johns Hopkins, explains.
Blaha: The idea of marathon running is really quite controversial, because there are several studies that suggest that long distance running on a repeated basis may actually injure the blood vessels of the heart more than it might help. But this study was reassuring to those marathon runners because it shows that the actual instances of heart-related complications like a heart attack are very rare. And in fact more people get into trouble because of heat stroke, just running out in the hot, than they do from suffering let’s say a heart attack. :23
Heat stroke was much more common than any heart-related issues in this study. Blaha reminds everyone, not just marathon runners, that prolonged exercise, especially when air temperature and/or humidity is high, requires staying hydrated and first exercising common sense. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.