COVID Effects On The Athlete’s Heart

Since early in the pandemic, COVID-19 has been associated with heart problems, including reduced ability to pump blood and abnormal heart rhythms. But it’s been an open question whether these problems are caused by the virus infecting the heart, or an inflammatory response to viral infection elsewhere in the body. Such details have implications for understanding how best to treat coronavirus infections that affect the heart.

In a recent scientific publication, a collaboration between medical and athletic training staffs from 6 major U.S. professional sports leagues showed that the rate of return to sports participation after COVID-19 infection is very high.

The rate of return to sports for collegiate and high school athletes is also believed to be high, with very low risk for heart damage. However, the issue has not been well studied in the younger age groups, and caution is still needed.

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How’s Your Heart Health?

I’d like to highlight this week the second of the five numbers that I believe every adult should know about their own health status. This is your cardiovascular risk calculator. This number helps to provide a 10-year risk estimate for developing a significant cardiovascular problem such as a heart attack or stroke.

I believe the number is extremely useful because it provides data that can then be used to guide actionable steps that you could take in conjunction with consultation from your personal physician. Heart disease is the leading cause of death amongst U.S. adults, and you can take positive steps to reduce your risk.

However, there are some people who may find that they are at higher risk than what they had previously thought, and this knowledge could be upsetting to them. If you’re the type of person who can get anxiety over learning medical test results, I would still recommend that you know this number but do so only by first consulting your personal physician for guidance.

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