Cardiovascular risk among ultra-endurance runners.Citation: Journal of Sports Medicine & Physical Fitness. 61(12):1700-1705, 2021 Dec.PMID: 33586930Institution: MedStar Health Research Institute | MedStar Sports MedicineDepartment: Sports Medicine Research CenterForm of publication: Journal ArticleMedline article type(s): Journal ArticleSubject headings: *Cardiovascular Diseases | *Running | Adult | Cardiovascular Diseases/ep [Epidemiology] | Female | Heart Disease Risk Factors | Humans | Male | Middle Aged | Nutritional Status | Physical Endurance | Risk FactorsYear: 2021ISSN:
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BACKGROUND: Our objective was to determine the prevalence and clinical correlates of conventional cardiovascular risk factors among ultra-endurance marathon runners.
CONCLUSIONS: Conventional cardiovascular risk factors are common among ultra-endurance runners. Early life participation in competitive sports, rather than adult exercise habits, is associated with freedom from the development of cardiovascular risk factors during middle age. Determining mechanistic explanations for the legacy effect of early life exercise as a means to reduce cardiovascular risk among aging athletes represents an important area of future work.
METHODS: An electronic internet survey to characterize modifiable cardiovascular risk factors including diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, tobacco exposure and obesity (BMI >30) among competitive ultra-endurance runners.
RESULTS: Among 290 respondents (mean +/- SD, 42 +/- 11 years, 31.4% female), 106 (36.6%) had at least one established cardiovascular risk factor. Female sex, younger age and participation in competitive high school or collegiate sports were associated with freedom from cardiovascular risk factors. There were no significant associations between risk factor status and either hours per week of running training (risk factor negative = 10 +/-7 vs. risk factor positive = 11 +/- 8 hours, p=0.42) or years of ultra-endurance competition (6 +/- 8 vs. 7 +/- 9 years, p=0.38). Runners with at least one cardiovascular risk factor were more likely to have had personal or peer concerns about excessive alcohol use.